I think it's pretty safe to say that some concluded a lack of mobile/puckmovers on the blueline is one of the reasons we had some trouble with offense. D-men that can jump into rushes/plays, make a great first pass, be a threat to pinch but have the speed to get back to prevent fast breaks, etc are underrated imo by some teams/players. Now I'm not gonna say examples like Dennis Wideman, great offensive d-man but defensive liability/gambler a lot(whatever you wanna call what he does) or other examples like Jack Johnson and James Wisniewski are a must for every team because they cause more trouble than their sizable cap hit. I'm talking about up and down, players that can put up points while playing D responsibly. Carle is the huge target in this category on the free agent market, capable of playing against top 4 competition, coming on top against corsi, and producing a ton of Even Strength Points. Some people think because he isn't "very dominant" or "very physical" on D that he isn't important in Philly, but others on BSB think he is one of the reasons for some of their forwards having great offensive years because how he can generate offense at ES with his skillset. I agree with the latter, and think losing him, a tied for 9th in the NHL in ES offensive production for d-men, and a quality top 4 d-man will hurt their offense and defense. But they really don't have that choice, because with a healthy Pronger and no Jagr, they are a couple million over the salary cap as they sit for next year already.
Just around the league:
-Zach Bogosian is a beast because of this, his 82gm equivalent ES production would put him in the top 8 in ES offensive production while he is playing top pair competition and unfavorable o-zone starts. Bogosian is by all means growing into a beast of a 2-way d-man if this isn't his peak(and likely isn't). Too bad he's stuck behind Big Buff(and Enstrom).
-And this similar argument as above(just about) goes the same for Alex Pietrangelo on the Blues, beast.
-PK Subban is a legit 2-way top pair d-man because of this now(mobility/puckmoving/production).
This is also the reason why mobile/puckmoving d-men are important everywhere, even on the bottom pair. I'd even suggest it's very important to have at least 1 mobile puckmoving d-man on each pair for offensive production and clearing the zone reasons. Hillen, even if he was as awful defensively as Eaton or Jurcina or Staios this year, would still have been a better d-man then any of them because he would have been producing a lot more offensively and getting the puck out of our zone better. "Or" even if Donovan or DeHaan(maybe Ness) would have been equally awful defensively as eaton or jurcina or staios this year, would still have been better d-men because of their offensive skillset (although DeHaan's decline in O production makes me question this a little).
It's the reason why Suter is so important to a team, a legit top pairing shutdown d-man who has loads of high-end puckmoving talent and is mobile. And there aren't many legit 2-way top pair d-men in the NHL. He is worth top dollar and gonna get it, and he isn't a "fake" like Wideman/Ehrhoff/Wisniewski/Johnson are/were. He's the real deal. Carle is too, but to a lesser extent because he isn't as dominant defensively. This is also why Chara is king from his all around package. He is likely the best d-man in the NHL: Karlsson may win the Vezina with his huge offensive numbers, and arguably so, but he isn't close to the all around machine Chara is: PP machine, PK monster, ES shutdown beast with great ES production against tough top pair compeition and rough zone starts. Karlsson is still young though, but Chara is still "arguably" the best d-man in the NHL, sidenote this was an example, I too think Weber(goalscoring machine)/ can all be argued as the best d-man in the NHL too.
And this isn't to take anything away from PP specialist d-men, although most PP specialist d-men are usually great offensive producers at ES and usually mobile/puckmovers(although Streit looks to have lost a step). Neither does this take away from shutdown d-men, who imo, great shutdown d-men are as important as great offensive d-men, and sometimes more important. Gleason, Hedman, McDonagh(has a decent o-package too), Bouwmeester, Robidas, Tyutin, Vlasic, Sekera, Hamonic, etc were similarly important to the top offensive d-men in the NHL "this year" because how well they could eat minutes playing a tough shutdown role fairly successfully/decently.
The main point of this post, was to say that just by replacing Eaton/Staios/Jurcina(and 29gms of Mottau) with Donovan/Reese + 1 should make us a better offensive team with the "same exact forwards". Their mobility and puckmoving skills makes us better offensively and "seems to me" to be an underrated quality by fans across the nhl). Not to mention, their defensive abilities seem to obviously be better too. And the other main point of this thread, is that acquiring Carle would be a huge improvement to our defensive core offensively and defensively. Carle is worth $5mil/yr longterm, arguably even more. So as long as "Garth" doesn't screw up our defense by letting Reese walk or not having at least 2 "added" puckmovers from last year's starting roster to this year(EX: Donovan/Reese or Carle/Reese, etc). I'm not saying this is gonna make us a playoff team just by inputting Donovan/Reese, but this should at least make us a better, more mobile, and more competitive team. I still think we need another 15goalscoring 3rd liner, especially if 2 of Nino/Reasoner/Pandolfo are gonna be on our 4th line/be 4th line liabilities again next year(barring a huge increase in 2-way game by Nino). It's just so funny to think that if Eaton/Jurcina/Staios/Rolston/Pandolfo/Reasoner were even mediocre and not bad, we could have actually had a real chance at sneaking into the playoffs(albeit with Nabokov playing red hot at times this year and JT's line being an elite offensive one + our great top 3 defenseman). Obviously, it's all dependent on Garth's offseason moves if we sneak into the playoffs next year, but surprisingly we aren't as far away from the playoffs as we look in the standings and surprisingly the playoffs aren't to hard to accomplish with the right signings/retainings, and that begins with resigining PAP. But cup contention is a whole nother story.