Report: Flyers would choose Matt Carle over Jaromir Jagr if needed

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At the time, it seemed like the Philadelphia Flyers overpaid Jaromir Jagr when they handed him a $3.3 million contract, but the brilliance of that deal was that it was for just one year. Of course, that’s also the problem now that it worked out: they have to re-sign the 40-year-old winger. Sam Carchidi floats an interesting nugget from “a source”: he’s not even their top off-season priority.

Instead, the team reportedly believes that inking defenseman Matt Carle is a bigger deal.

On its face, that might seem weird. After all, Jagr has been a smash-hit alongside Scott Hartnell and Claude Giroux while Carle has his occasional defensive lapses. Yet there are a number of reasons why this stance makes a lot of sense.

  • Carle is 27 while Jagr is 40-years-old.
  • As great as Jagr has been, it’s logical to assume that other (possibly cheaper and younger) forwards could succeed on that line, too.
  • With Chris Pronger likely out of the picture, Carle joins Kimmo Timonen and Braydon Coburn as one of Philly’s most valuable defenseman. D is more of a need than offense for Philly.
  • Jagr’s increasing age is also bringing about more incidents of injury. That’s unlikely to change as he gets even older (he’ll turn 41 next season).
  • Also, from a “fan service” standpoint, Jagr’s not a long-time fixture. It’s not like they’d be the Anaheim Ducks letting Teemu Selanne walk.

That being said, the Flyers already invest a surprising amount of money in their up-and-down D corps. Here’s a look at the contracts they have under contract after this season (Pavel Kubina’s $3.85 million hit mercifully expires this summer).

Carle: ?
Timonen: $6.33M (expires after 2012-13)
Pronger (might not count because of LTIR): $4.92M (expires in 2016-17)
Coburn: $4.5M (expires after 2015-16)
Andrej Meszaros: $4M (expires after 2013-14)
Nicklas Grossmann: $3.5 (expires after 2015-16)
Andreas Lilja: $737K (expires after 2012-13)

As you can see, the Flyers invest a lot in … everything, it seems. The thing is, Giroux’s amazing bargain ($3.75M per year through 2013-14) allows them to overpay in other areas.

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GM Paul Holmgren might be able to squeeze both under the cap, but if it comes down to one or the other, word is he’ll go with Carle. After looking at all those factors, do you think that would be the right choice?