Tampa Bay signed one of the biggest contracts in franchise history on Wednesday, retaining captain Steve Stamkos with an eight-year, $68 million extension.
Now, for the aftermath.
Carle, 31, was Tampa Bay’s highest-paid defenseman this season, despite only playing in 64 games (and just 14 playoff contests). Signed back in 2012 to a big six-year, $33 million deal — in hindsight, one of GM Steve Yzerman’s poorest contracts — Carle had a good first two years with the Lightning, but fell down the depth chart over the last two and was a liability defensively.
In the postseason, he was essentially replaced by rookie blueliner Slater Koekkoek.
Here’s what Tampa’s financial relief will look like with the Carle buyout, per General Fanager:
Carle looked to be a cap casualty for quite some time. Yzerman’s job is nowhere near done, despite locking up a key piece in Stamkos — RFAs Nikita Kucherov, Alex Killorn and Vladislav Namestnikov all need new contracts, and star defenseman Victor Hedman will be a UFA after next season.
Yzerman also needs to figure out what to do with goalie Ben Bishop, who’s been at the center of trade rumors for months. Bishop is also a UFA after next season, and set to make $5.95M this year.