Blues Eyeing Matt Carle?
It’s no secret the Blues will go hard after a defenseman once unrestricted free agency begins on Sunday. How successful they are could determine how hard they continue to explore the trade market as well. There are a few high profile D-men out there and outside of Ryan Suter you can anticipate the Blues taking a run at one of them.
The first call they make may be to Matt Carle who I’m told the Blues have significant interest in. He fits everything they need in terms of being a left shot, puck moving D-man with experience. Carle is probably slightly underrated in terms of his ability to make a first pass and snap it out of his own end. He can move his feet as well which is good considering Ken Hitchcock like his defense to be active and get up the ice.
Carle doesn’t put up eye-popping offensive numbers but he can get you 30-40 points annually. With Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk in place the Blues don’t need high-end offence from whoever they add. They do need a stabilizing presence who can free up Alex Pietrangleo and allow him to impact the game in all areas.
Carle is a durable player who hasn’t missed a game the last two years and only two games over the last three. He played 23:00 minutes a game and led all Philly d-men with 164 blocked shots last season. He’s also been on the plus side each of the last four seasons.
How much money he’ll command will be interesting to see. Calgary didn’t do the Blues any favors with their recent signing of former Blue Dennis Wideman who got five year at over $5 million per from the Flames. Wideman carries an edge offensively but he isn’t the same player as Carle in his own end. Both are durable players with Carle being slightly younger at 27 years of age. Will Carle, who made $3.8 mill last season, be in position to grab $5 mill a year? He would become the Blues highest paid player if he gets it from St. Louis (AAV).
I'm told Carle is interested in returning to Colorado where he attended college. He won the Hobey Baker at the University of Denver before signing with the San Jose Sharks.
There are others including Jason garrison, Filip Kuba, Bryce Salvador, and even Carlo Colaiacovo who they could turn back to. Carle would certainly provide the Blues what they need.
They are exploring the trade market as well with the Flames Jay Bouwmeester, Coyotes Keith Yandle, and the Penguins Paul Martin some of the biggest names out there. You can be sure there are others as well.
Sources say the Coyotes want at least a top offensive player from the current roster in exchange for Yandle. All of these teams want something in return they feel makes their team better. None of them are pure salary dumps.
The Blues will at some point turn their attention to a third line center.
Forward Jamie Langenbrunner has to make a decision on whether to sign with St. Louis or take his game to the free agent market and field offers from other teams. I personally feel he’ll sign one more year with the Blues who have made it clear they would like him back.
There’s been lots of talk of talk regarding T.J. Oshie and when he’ll sign. I don’t see this as an issue but it would be accurate to say both sides still have a ways to go before a deal is completed.
Pang and Federko return to Broadcast…
Both Bernie Federko and Darren Pang have come to terms with Fox Sports Midwest and will return to broadcast Blues games on television along with play by play announcer John Kelly. Great to have both these guys back.
Bruce Affleck has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer of the St. Louis Blues. He certainly falls in line with the local theme brought in by Chairman Tom Stillman and his Ownership group. Few people have ever been more associated with this hockey club than Affleck. He’s about as connected as they come locally and is handed the responsibility of assembling the right people to get the franchise back on its feet financially.
Affleck has been with the organization in some form or another for parts of 37 years. He was in the room when civic progress owned the club and brings 25 years of business experience with the club. If there ever was a guy who knows where the skeletons are buried it would be Affleck. Not only is he experienced but he’s well respected both in the hockey and business community. He comes with strong character and is seen that way throughout St. Louis.
Most importantly he knows the Blues brand. He told me on my radio show Friday that he wants to bring the fun back to where employees are excited to come to work every day. He also said he’s been ready to take this position for 15 years.
One thing Affleck will do is rely heavily on the group of investors Stillman has assembled to help reach even further into the business community.
His role of Vice-President of Broadcasting will likely be filled internally. He’s also been in charge of the Blues alumni, one of the largest and most charitable of its kind in the NHL.
More to come,
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