General Manager Paul Holmgren wasted little time trying to get the listless Flyers out of a zombie-like funk Friday, by sending forward Steve Downie and defenseman Steve Eminger to the Tampa Bay Lightning for defenseman Matt Carle.
Carle, listed at 6-foot-0, 205 lbs., is a 24-year old offensive-style defender with skill but has shown little consistency. After his rookie season in 2006-07, where he scored 42 points in 77 games, including eight power play goals, Carle has somewhat disappeared. The Alaskan-born blue liner only scored 15 points in 2007-08 in 62 games with the San Jose Sharks and tallied only two points in 15 games this season with the Lightning.
Carle, along with a first round pick in 2009, was traded in the offseason to the Lightning, for Dan Boyle and Brad Lukowich. Carle was second on the Lightning with 27 blocked shots and four hits and is considered an upgrade over Eminger.
Eminger was acquired at the 2008 NHL entry draft for the Flyers first-round pick, which turned out to be John Carlson. The Flyers had high hopes for Eminger, who was coming from a bad situation in Washington and would be granted a chance to prove himself with a fresh start. However, Eminger was only so-so in his 12 games in Philadelphia with two points.
Downie is wild card in the entire transaction. Seemingly built for Philadelphia, Downie quickly became a fan-favorite after decapitating Ottawa’s Dean McAmmond in a meaningless preseason game. Downie’s maniacal behavior proved too much for even the sickos in Philly. The coaching staff and front office felt out of love with the youngster, when he would repeat the same mistakes of letting his emotions get the better of him, take bad penalties and turn the puck over. Downie, who surprisingly does have skill, was not getting better in the organization’s eyes, regardless of his given ice time.
The Flyers will be the big winner in the trade if all players pan out. Carle, by far, has the most upside, but is only useful if only he can re-kindle it from his rookie season.
Carle and Eminger will be active as the Flyers take on the Lightning Saturday at 7 P.M., at the Wachovia Center. Downie will report to Norfolk of the AHL.