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09-01-2012, 09:40 AM
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Tomas Kaberle: The Most Underrated Habs Player on the Boards

Tomas Kaberle was acquired by the Habs early in the 2011-2012 season in exchange for Jaroslav Spacek. He was brought in when we were barely out of a playoff spot, in order to improve the power play. He did improve the power play, but it was too little too late.

There have since been a range of views with respect to Kaberle on the Habs boards, but for the most part it seems negative. Posters frequently write "Bourque Gomez Kaberle" or equivalent, which implies that Kaberle is on the level of Gomez. It may just be that the haters are louder, but either way a negative view of Kaberle comes off from the boards. I think Kaberle is more productive than made out to be. I will take down the criticisms of Tomas Kaberle one by one.

1) The GMs of three teams, Toronto, Boston, and Carolina, didn't want Kaberle:
I've seen this posted many times. It is a dim argument.

Toronto held on to Kaberle for many years. They traded him when they were offered a 2nd rounder, a 1st rounder, and Joe Colborne. I like Kaberle too and I would trade him for that package. Brian Burke has shown that he resigns impending UFA if he doesn't get a good enough offer, see Mikhail Grabovski.

Kaberle had 11 points in the 2011 postseason for Boston, trying for their lead among defenseman. He contributed to their cup win. Chiarelli said that he wanted to keep him but couldn't afford him. It's not all that different from how Chicago lost a lot of good players after they won their cup. Both teams declined and made it all the way to the 1st round after their cup win.

Carolina didn't want Kaberle.

2) Kaberle is untradeable
I am not sure where this comes from. In general puck-moving defensemen are highly rated on the trade market.

Near the 2012 trade deadline, Marek Zidlicky was traded for a 2nd rounder, 3rd rounder, and some pieces, Kurtis Foster, Nick Palmieri, and Stephane Veilleux.
Kyle Quincey was traded for a 1st round pick.
Pavel Kubina was traded for a 2nd and 4th round pick.

Near the 2011 trade deadline, Chris Campoli was acquired for a 2nd rounder, Dennis Wideman was acquired for a 3rd round pick and Jake Hauswirth, Bryan McCabe was acquired for a 3rd round pick and Tim Kennedy, Alex Goligoski was acquired for James Neal and Matt Miskanen (lol), Ian White was acquired for a 2nd round pick, Kaberle was traded in a great deal for Toronto, and Francois Beauchemin was dealt for Joffrey Lupul and Jake Gardiner.

I'll stop there.

Some of the names listed were impending UFA and some had years left on their contracts. Some were better than Kaberle, and some were inferior. You can interpolate to figure out Kaberle's value.

3) Kaberle has a bad contract
This is the strangest one. Kaberle had a 3-year contract. It's now a 2-year contract. He is paid 4.25 million per year. He has moderate salary and moderate term.

Throughout the NHL, a lot of dmen making similar money to Kaberle are either comparable or inferior:

Would you rather have Fedor Tyutin who has a 4.5 million cap hit through 2018?

4) Kaberle sucks
Kaberle had 22 points in 43 games for the Habs. That's a 51 point pace over 82 games which would be 5th in the NHL right up there with 7 million dollar man Brian Campbell ... that's quite good when playing on the 3rd worst team in the league.

He did show up out of shape last year but that is a common occurrence among stanley cup winners. He has acknowledged the issue and is now training hard with his countryman Tomas Plekanec. He also attended Biosteel camp though I'm not sure that counts for anything other than fan service.


My conclusion with respect to Kaberle is that the hate-on for Kaberle may be related to that for Pierre Gauthier, or the irrational hatred for the Leafs, a team that hasn't been a legitimate rival to the Habs in decades. I do suspect that there would be a lot of hate for any Leafs player added to the Habs, Phil Kessel included. People would find something to complain about.

He is training hard this summer and he is one of the few players I'm enthusiastic about for next year, as his problems were quite specific: post-cup hangover. The fact we have Subban, Kaberle, and Markov next year means that we can lose any one of the three and not have our offense go to zero. If we only had two of those guys, we would be one injury away from having the worst or second worst offense in the league.

If Nathan Beaulieu rocks Hamilton all season, we may decide to cash in by trading in one of them at the deadline.

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