Tampa Bay Lightning: Top 5 Worst Contracts In Team History

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Oct 19, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Matt Carle (25) against the Boston Bruins during the third period at Tampa Bay Times Forum. Boston Bruins defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Though Matt Carle is currently a key piece on the Tampa Bay Lightning, his contract still ranks among the worst in team history.

Defenseman Matt Carle is a player that many current Tampa Bay Lightning fans know very well. The 31-year-old Anchorage, Alaska native has been patrolling the blue line for the past three seasons, but you can say that Carle has not received much thanks from the Lightning faithful over the years due to the criticism about his play. Well, to those fans who do not wish to see number 25 on the ice anytime soon, you really don’t have any other choice.

Personally, I feel that most of the criticism aimed toward Carle is unwarranted as explained here, but that does not change the way I feel about his current contract. Currently, Carle is in the fourth year of a six-year, $33 million dollar contract signed when he was a free agent before the start of the 2012-13 season. His base salary is $5 million dollars per year, but his salary cap hit is actually $5.5 million dollars per year.

That number is the HIGHEST current cap hit of all Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman. Let me say that again; the HIGHEST cap hit among Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman. Not so good for a defenseman playing third pair minutes. In comparison, Jason Garrison currently has a cap hit of $4.6 million dollar and Anton Stralman has a cap hit of $4.5 million dollars. Ouch.

Now, as I said before, I do believe Matt Carle is a solid defender. However, the fact that he is getting paid that much money and is the highest paid defenseman on the team while playing third line minutes is the reason why his name is on this list.

All I can tell Lightning fans is, you’re stuck with the guy for the long haul because nobody is going to take on that much salary for a 30-year-old defenseman playing third pair minutes, but you still need to appreciate what he does for the team. So, for the next three seasons, Matt Carle will be playing defense for the Tampa Bay Lightning and there is nothing you can really do about it.

Next: Number 4: Vaclav Prospal