Fantasy Impact: The Montreal Canadiens have traded for defenseman Tomas Kaberle from Carolina. They gave up Jaroslav Spacek in return.
On signing Kaberle to $12.75 million, three-year contract, [Carolina GM Jim] Rutherford said, "I should have known better."
The Canadiens get: a struggling offensive defenseman who hasn’t been the same since leaving Toronto last season. Kaberle also carries a cap hit north of $4 million for each of the next three seasons. At least he won’t be the worst contract on the team. When he is playing well, Kaberle is a cerebral defenseman who excels at moving the puck at even strength and on the power play. When he is not playing well, he’s a soft defensive liability who contributes little else.
Kaberle is a noted Montreal killer in his career. In 67 games against the Canadiens, he has 15 goals, 35 assists, and a plus-18 rating. It should also be noted that he has four points in his last two games.
The Hurricanes get: an injury-prone two-way defenseman who has a great point shot and can play a physical style of hockey when need be. Jim Rutherford did a great job getting rid of this awful contract (one he signed, mind you), especially considering the club has so many talented young offensive defensemen who will be ready for bigger roles in the next few years.
Fantasy Players Impacted: It is hard to express how awful Kaberle has been for Carolina this season. The Canadiens are taking a major gamble here, but one they probably felt they had to take with the uncertainty around Andrei Markov and his health.
Kaberle will immediately be given a shot to run the struggling power play. On paper, he’d be a great fit with the right-shooting PK Subban. He’ll also bump Yannick Weber and Raphael Diaz down the depth chart (and once Chris Campoli is healthy, those two will likely be on the outside looking in).
Kaberle will likely slide in with Josh Gorges on the second pairing, behind Subban and Hal Gill. Diaz, Emelin, Weber, and Campoli will battle for the final two spots. Who knows what will happen with Markov right now.
In Carolina, this move opens up some power play time for other defensemen. Kaberle was averaging 3:58 of power play ice time per game, trailing only Joni Pitkanen on the team. Jamie McBain (3:21 per game) and Justin Faulk (2:44 per game) will both see big increases. McBain is only 23, and Faulk is only 19. These are the two young offensive defensemen that Carolina is going to build around for the future.
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