Matt Carle agrees with Lightning

Updated: July 4, 2012, 10:08 PM ET
By Pierre LeBrun | ESPN.com

The top defenseman left on the free-agent market is Tampa Bay-bound.

Matt Carle agreed to terms on a six-year contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night, the club announced.

The agreement comes hours after former Predators star Ryan Suter went to Minnesota.

Carle's deal is worth an average of $5.5 million per year, a source told ESPN.com.

Carle, 27, tied for 20th in NHL scoring among defensemen with 38 points (4 goals, 34 assists) this past season in Philadelphia.

It's a second tour of duty for Carle with Tampa Bay. He played 12 games for the Lightning in 2008-09 before getting dealt to Philadelphia in a trade that also featured Steve Downie.