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Matt Carle Free Agency: How Ryan Suter Is Impacting The Flyers Offseason Plans

For some time now, it’s been clear that the Nashville Predators pending-unrestricted free agent Ryan Suter is one of, if not the biggest fish on the free agent market, which is set to open Sunday at noon.

With several teams eyeing up an addition on defense, Suter’s services are heavily in-demand setting up a situation where the 27-year old defenseman stands to receive a sizeable increase in pay this summer.

The Predators have already made it clear that they want Suter back in the fold and Suter has expressed interest in returning to Nashville.

However, he wants to see what’s out there first and already made a declaration to enter July 1 as a free man.

Considering the amount of suitors who are expected to pursue this summer’s defensive grand-prize, it’s believed that his decision will not be made on July 1 and could come several days after the market opens.

For the Philadelphia Flyers, this could have ramifications on their off-season.

While early reports stated that the team had reached a verbal agreement with their own unrestricted free agent in Matt Carle, new developments have emerged since the Calgary Flames acquired the rights of Dennis Wideman from the Washington Capitals via trade and gave him a massive five-year, $26.25 million contract on Thursday.

Basically, the Wideman deal has created a vacuum where Carle stands to make a lot of money if he enters the open market.

Although he is a polarizing player in Philadelphia, Carle is considered the next best option behind Suter by every other team in the league.

This means that one of those teams may be willing to overpay in order to make a defensive addition, especially if Suter takes several days to make a decision on where he wants to play.

Via The Sporting News:

Suter, 27, could easily wind up with an average annual value around $7 million, which is a function of both his talent and the vaste wasteland of UFA defensemen behind him.

The fact that the market is indeed that thin makes Suter's preference to wait all the more interesting; it could leave teams with an itchy trigger finger and drive up the price of players like Flyers defenseman Matt Carle, who is also expected to become a free agent.

Carle has already stated that he likes Philadelphia and would like to stay in the city.

After bouncing around the league in his first few years, staying in one place for an extended period of time is something that he has expressed as a desire of his.

While Carle doesn’t seem to be a man who is focused solely on money, it’s not impossible to imagine a situation where a team throws a number at him near the $7 million range that may be too attractive to pass up.

At the same time, he may be looking to enter the market just to help drive up the offer from the Flyers.

Whatever the case may be, Carle is in a position of power.

He may not be considered the No. 1 option on the market, but he is still in the top-tier and stands to benefit from the deals that have already been made as well as the amount of attention focused on Suter and the potential extended period of debate prior to his decision.

While Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren has publically expressed a belief that the team can retain Carle for below market value, that term no longer means what it used to with the landscape that has developed from the current signings.

More or less, market value has changed and if the Flyers hope to keep Carle it seems as though their offer is going to have to change with it.


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