Originally posted on NHL Hot Stove  |  Last updated 12/9/11

SUNRISE, FL - JANUARY 23: Tomas Kaberle #15 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates with the puck against the Florida Panthers on January 23, 2010 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. The Panthers defeated the Maple Leafs 2-0. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

By Patrick Powell

On Friday morning, Pierre Gauthier took the bait that the Carolina Hurricanes had been reportedly dangling for weeks: defenseman Tomas Kaberle.

As a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Kaberle distinguished himself as one of the premier, offensive defenseman in the League. Considering the Leafs’ failed to make the playoffs since the lockout, Kaberle was the subject of trade rumors for years. The Boston Bruins paid a bounty for his services and the Czech defender hoisted the Cup for the first time in his career last June. However, most people will tell you they won in spite of him, not because of him.

Kaberle left the Leafs in second place on the club’s all time scoring list among defensemen (Borje Salming is the current leader). His primary assets are his vision and passing on the power play, as evidenced by his career stats.

Nevertheless, the deficiencies in Kaberle’s game have been his decision-making in his own end and his proclivity to making turnovers. In an interview with TSN following his retirement, former Flyers’ captain Keith Primeau discussed how one of the Flyers’ primary strategies in the 2004 Eastern Conference Semis against Kaberle’s leafs was to put the put into Kaberle’s corner and make his chase the puck. The Flyers’ strategy worked well, and other teams have challenged Kaberle early and often as well. Since the 2007-2008 season, Kaberle has had but one plus season — plus-4 last season, minus-2 with Leafs and plus-6 with Bruins. Kaberle did post a plus-8 in the Bruins’ Cup run last spring, but he averaged less than 16 minutes per game in 14 of the 25 games played.

Despite not signing a contract on July 1st his reputation and family ties to the organization was enough for GM Jim Rutherford to offer the 33-year-old a three-year deal worth $4.25 million per season. Given his defensive issues and offensive inconsistency, most NHL insiders wondered who would take a shot at him, most felt no team would take on his contract. Gauthier rolled the dice by dealing oft-injured veteran Jaroslav Spacek for the Kaberle knowing he only produced nine assists in 29 games with a poor minus-12.

Kaberle becomes the primary quarterback on the Canadiens’ power play with Andrei Markov expected to miss closer to nine weeks following this week’s surgery. The Canadiens’ power play has suffered with the absence of Markov, operating at only 11.4 percent which ranks 28th in the NHL. Without Markov the team desperately needed a left-handed shot to take his place at the point.

These Habs have struggled but are hoping they can get by with a little more offense. Adding Kaberle makes the team a bit more skilled but it could also add another liability to the lineup. Canadiens’ fans on Twitter already started the #FireGauthier hashtag which clearly summarizes their feelings on the deal.

Kaberle will need time to adjust to a new system. He may not have that time due to the impatience of the team’s faithful and panicked management.


MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Teddy Bridgewater believes he will ‘definitely’ play in 2017

Mark Cuban tried to pitch NBA on getting rid of draft

Tom Brady praises Matt Ryan ahead of Super Bowl LI rematch

Jameis Winston does not rule out sitting in Week 7

Steelers’ Mike Mitchell fined, not suspended, for dirty hit

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Packers’ Brett Hundley: ‘I want to be a Hall of Famer’

Report: Elliott not interested in settlement, wants to clear name

Nets’ Jeremy Lin out for season with ruptured patella tendon

‘The Simpsons’ to air ‘comedic’ documentary for ‘Homer at the Bat’

Parsons fires back at ‘tasteless’ Grizzlies fans over booing

Giants owner: McAdoo was not pressured to give up play-calling

Jacoby Brissett: The forgotten up-and-comer

NFL Week 7 Predictions

The 'Can I have a quick sword with you?' quiz

College football 2017 Week 8 predictions

NFL Referee Hotline Bling: Austin Seferian-Jenkins drops a call

Blackhawks get extra depth on defense with newbies Rutta and Forsling

The 'Old faces in new places' quiz

Nikola Jokic: A throwback superstar for the modern era

25 questions heading into the 2017-18 NBA season

The 'Sure do hope you have a backup plan in place' quiz

Tale of the Tape: National League Championship Series

Sports & Politics Intersect: White House looms large over sports world for another week

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Jacoby Brissett: The forgotten up-and-comer

NFL Week 7 Predictions

College football 2017 Week 8 predictions

The 'Can I have a quick sword with you?' quiz

NFL Referee Hotline Bling: Austin Seferian-Jenkins drops a call

Blackhawks get extra depth on defense with Rutta and Forsling

The 'Old faces in new places' quiz

25 questions heading into the 2017-18 NBA season

The 'Sure do hope you have a backup plan in place' quiz

Tale of the Tape: National League Championship Series

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker