Matt Carle Signs 6-Year, $33 Million Contract With Tampa Bay Lightning

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 31: Matt Carle #25 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates on the ice against the Ottawa Senators at Wells Fargo Center on March 31, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed former Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Matt Carle to a six-year, $33 million contract.

Free agent defenseman Matt Carle, formerly of the Philadelphia Flyers, has signed a six-year, $33 million contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

After Ryan Suter inked a deal with the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday morning, the most sought-after free agent defenseman remaining was Carle, a former Hobey Baker award winner with the University of Denver.

In his six full seasons in the NHL, Carle has established himself as one of the league's better young defensemen and shown a real knack for setting up his teammates, notching 170 assists in 471 NHL games. The 27-year-old Carle's strong, steady progression left him well-positioned to ink a healthy long-term contract that would take him through the prime of his career, and the asking price just got too high for the Flyers to retain his services.

With Chris Pronger's status for next season still uncertain, losing Carle to the Lightning leaves the Flyers with a gaping hole on the blue line. Philadelphia may not have wanted to pay what the Lightning did to keep Carle, but his presence will certainly be missed.

For more on the Lightning, head over to Raw Charge. For more on NHL free agency and all the league's happenings, check out SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub.

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