Carle bolts to Tampa Bay.

The Tampa Bay Lightning have announced the signing of former Flyers defenseman Matt Carle to a six-year contract worth $5.5 million per season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Color me surprised over this one. Not because Carle got the deal he did – Dennis Wideman’s five-year, $5.25 million per season contract ensured he’d get a comparable deal – but because it’s from the Lightning, who appeared wary of making too big a splash in this summer’s free agent market. Granted, GM Steve Yzerman was believed interested in Carle, but the assumption was he wouldn’t fork over that kind of deal, plus it was assumed the Bolts wouldn’t be able to out-bid the big market free-spenders who lost out in the Ryan Suter sweepstakes turning their attention toward Carle. Is he worth it? Carle has posted very good offensive numbers (three straight seasons of 35-plus points), but has earned criticism for his defensive play. Still, joining a club with scoring forwards like Stamkos, St.Louis and Lecavalier, Carle could be a good fit.