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Matt Carle signs six-year deal with Lightning

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby, left, tries to get the puck around Philadelphia Flyers' Matt Carle in the first period of an NHL hockey game, Sunday, March 18, 2012, in Philadelphia.

Associated Press

Free agent defenceman Matt Carle signed a six-year contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday.

Carle is coming off a season where he had four goals and 34 assists while averaging 23:01 minutes per game with the Philadelphia Flyers. He led Philly in blocked shots with 164.

It's a return to Tampa Bay for Carle, who was traded to the Lightning by San Jose exactly four years ago to the day.

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The six-foot, 205-pound Alaska native only played 12 games with the Bolts before being traded to Philadelphia early in the 2008-09 season.

Carle has 32 goals, 202 points and a plus-55 rating in 471 career NHL games.

He has played in 84 career playoff games, recording five goals and 35 points.

The 27-year-old was drafted 47th overall by San Jose in the 2003 draft.

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