There's an old trick politicians use in which they release information to the media on Friday night to sneak it past the news cycle.
That's the underlying vibe for the Tampa Bay Lightning, as they sent defenseman Matt Carle to the Philadelphia Flyers for forward Steve Downie and defenseman Steve Eminger on Friday night.
Carle, you'll recall, was the centerpiece of the Dan Boyle trade to the San Jose Sharks this summer. The Lightning were very high on him for his age and his potential as a power-play ace.
That potential hadn't manifested itself through 12 games, as Carle had two points overall and zero points with the man advantage. His power-play time was decreasing, and his total ice time dipped below 20 minutes five games ago and has stayed there.
According to Damian Cristodero of Lightning Strikes, the Bolts are claiming this was a financial decision, as his cap hit ($3.438 million over four years) is much higher than that of Eminger ($1.2 million, one year). But Cristodero also asks the big question to GM Brian Lawton about the Boyle trade: Can it now be seen as a total failure?
From Lightning Strikes:
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Asked if the trade of Dan Boyle, which in great part was done to shed his six-year, $40-million contract, now should be viewed as a failure, Lawton said, "I think it's a continuation of the process in evaluating what we have and being comfortable we have the right chemistry and the right balance and enough youth in the organization. It's one younger player for two younger players. ... When we went through it, we felt it was something that made sense."
Uh-huh. The Flyers are happy to bring aboard an offensive-minded defenseman who can skate well, adding him to a blueline that's still thinned by injuries. But closing the book on Downie is a rather interesting move.
Here's a super-pest who drew praise from and comparisons to Bobby Clarke; then came the suspension and the bonehead plays in the Stanley Cup playoffs. He was up and down to the AHL this season, his attitude always in question but his offense improving with the Phantoms.
Downie is expected to be assigned to AHL Norfolk. But he's a player who, if he ever puts it together and stays even a little bit sane, could be a valuable role player in the NHL. Yet according to All Things Philly Sports, his time with the Bullies was up:
Losing Downie won't hurt the Flyers much in the long run. Downie is a complete headcase at this point and has been jerked between the Phantoms and the Flyers so much I doubt he knows what's going on. Ever since his meltdown in the playoffs last season, Downie has been a liability and can't be trusted to make the smart play on the ice. He was never going to amount to much in Philadelphia so maybe a chance of scenery will do him good in Tampa.