With Matt Carle signing in Tampa Bay, Flyers fans have lost one of their most divisive players. Regardless of what you think about the prudence of Tampa Bay signing Carle to a six-year, $33 million deal, we should at least all be using the same set of facts to evaluate the contract.
Whether that is looking at Carle ranking in the top-20 in point production among NHL defensemen, ranking in the top-30 in time on ice, or his turnovers being less costly than other, more highly regarded defenders, it is important to get the facts straight.
Let's see if this is true. Thanks to HockeyAnalysis.com, we can check the numbers.
All statistics are at 5-on-5.
Key: TOI - time on ice; GF - Flyers goals scored; GF/20 - Flyers goals per 20 minutes; GA - Goals against the Flyers; GA/20 - Goals against per 20 minutes; GF% - Flyers' percentage of all goals scored
Entering this season, Chris Pronger was a Philadelphia Flyers for two years. During that time, Matt Carle played 1,688 minutes at 5-on-5 with Pronger and 1,163 minutes without Pronger.
When Pronger and Carle were together, the pair were a +26, with the Flyers registering 59.6% of all goals scored. When Carle was on the ice without Pronger, he was a +20, and the Flyers registered 59.3% of all goals scored.
Similar sample sizes with nearly identical results. The difference? There were more goals scored at both ends when Carle was on the ice without Pronger, but the Flyers went from outscoring their opposition by 0.92 goals per 60 minutes to outscoring them by 1.03 goals per 60 minutes.
What about in 2010-11, the year where Pronger missed half the season with various injuries?
The duo spent 628 minutes together and were a +12, getting 61.1% of all goals scored. When Carle played without Pronger at his side, he was a +19, getting 62.3% of all goals scored in 795 minutes.
Nearly identical sample sizes with nearly identical results, even skewing in favor of Carle without Pronger. Again, more goals were being scored at both ends when Carle was without Pronger, but the Flyers went from outscoring opponents by 1.14 goals per 60 minutes to outscoring them by 1.43 goals per 60 minutes.
It may have seem like Matt Carle needed Chris Pronger next to him, but in terms of goals scored, it did not make a difference to Matt Carle's statistics. The Flyers actually widened the gap between them and their opponents when Carle played without Pronger.
So the next time someone attempts to perpetuate the myth that Carle cannot play without Pronger, remind them that the Flyers' fared just as well, if not better, with Carle on the ice without Pronger.