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Tomas Kaberle: The Most Underrated Habs Player on the Boards

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Old
09-01-2012, 10:40 AM
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DAChampion
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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:
http://capgeek.com/comparables.php?s...012&player=182

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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09-01-2012, 10:59 AM
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Watsatheo
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He's our 2nd highest paid D and signed for 2 more seasons, we can only hope he's underrated.

Also 22 points in 43 games = 0.51 pts/game not 51 points/82 games

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09-01-2012, 11:00 AM
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Well laid out and in large part true. He still wont be a plus player next year if there is a year. But he is relatively valuable especially if say, Detroit, finds out that its powerplay sucks with White and Kronwall patrolling it.

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09-01-2012, 11:04 AM
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DAChampion
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Watsatheo View Post
He's our 2nd highest paid D and signed for 2 more seasons, we can only hope he's underrated.

Also 22 points in 43 games = 0.51 pts/game not 51 points/82 games
Yeah, I screwed that up, lol.

It's a 42 point pace. Not as good as I made it out to be, but still quite good

I'm not sure if Markov will reduce or increase his production next year. It depends on whether or not he plays with Markov on the 1st unit, or behind Markov on the 2nd unit.

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09-01-2012, 11:07 AM
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Having Dmen like Markov,Kaberle and Subban in the PP is a privilege that not many teams have. Kaberle is gonna be a key player in the PP and with the 2 other players we'll surely have one of the top PP units this year.

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09-01-2012, 11:20 AM
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I totally agree with you DA.

Kaberle is often referred as the 7th or 8th defenseman on these forums. It just goes to show you how little some of these posters actually know, they are too obsessed with a "youth" movement in guys like Diaz, Emelin and Weber. I can concede that Emelin deserves to play on the roster just as much as Kaberle, but in my eyes Diaz is the 7th man this year and rightfully so.

He is probably equal or maybe *slightly* better than Kaberle defensively was this year, but Kaberle was also severely out of shape and in season's past it would have been no comparison Kaberle was better hands down. Kaberle has proven he can still put up 40+ points in the NHL. Having 3 quality puck movers like Markov, Kaberle and Subban only bodes well for our defense.

The redundant options are guys like Diaz and Weber. People seem to love these guys, and even though I think they are decent (Diaz) or have potential (Weber) they still don't contribute the way Kaberle does not and the fact we have Beaulieu, Ellis and Thrower in the wings coming up just makes them that much more redundant.

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09-01-2012, 11:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DAChampion View Post
Yeah, I screwed that up, lol.

It's a 42 point pace. Not as good as I made it out to be, but still quite good

I'm not sure if Markov will reduce or increase his production next year. It depends on whether or not he plays with Markov on the 1st unit, or behind Markov on the 2nd unit.
I don't see them playing together since they are both passers with good wristers but who hardly elect to use them (esp. Kaberle), with very little in the threat of a one-timer. I could see Markov getting paired with Emelin and Kaberle getting paired with Subban again. Or the all-too obvious Markov-Subban.

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09-01-2012, 11:27 AM
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I totally agree with you DA.

Kaberle is often referred as the 7th or 8th defenseman on these forums. It just goes to show you how little some of these posters actually know, they are too obsessed with a "youth" movement in guys like Diaz, Emelin and Weber. I can concede that Emelin deserves to play on the roster just as much as Kaberle, but in my eyes Diaz is the 7th man this year and rightfully so.

He is probably equal or maybe *slightly* better than Kaberle defensively was this year, but Kaberle was also severely out of shape and in season's past it would have been no comparison Kaberle was better hands down. Kaberle has proven he can still put up 40+ points in the NHL. Having 3 quality puck movers like Markov, Kaberle and Subban only bodes well for our defense.

The redundant options are guys like Diaz and Weber. People seem to love these guys, and even though I think they are decent (Diaz) or have potential (Weber) they still don't contribute the way Kaberle does not and the fact we have Beaulieu, Ellis and Thrower in the wings coming up just makes them that much more redundant.
Diaz and Weber may become players who justify trading players, but right now they are not.

Greg Pateryn, Morgan Ellis, Nathan Beaulieu, and Jarred Tinordi are joining the Bulldogs this year. In all likelihood, at least one of hem will be good enough to only need one year in the NHL, since that's 4 rolls of the dice.

This season is Diaz and Weber's last chance to become legitimate NHLers. Diaz and Weber are the 7th and 8th dmen now. If the team has a miracle no-injury season this year, or if there's a lockout, or also likely if they fail to step up when substituting for whoever of Markov/Gorges/Subban/Kaberle/Emelin/Bouillon gets injured, then they're both going back to Switzerland.

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09-01-2012, 11:31 AM
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Yes he is. His defensive woes last year were magnified due to our young defense, but he wasn't as bad as people made him seem to be. Certainly not M-A Bergeron bad. It was still an off-year, so I expect better numbers next season.

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09-01-2012, 11:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DAChampion View Post
Diaz and Weber may become players who justify trading players, but right now they are not.

Greg Pateryn, Morgan Ellis, Nathan Beaulieu, and Jarred Tinordi are joining the Bulldogs this year. In all likelihood, at least one of hem will be good enough to only need one year in the NHL, since that's 4 rolls of the dice.

This season is Diaz and Weber's last chance to become legitimate NHLers. Diaz and Weber are the 7th and 8th dmen now. If the team has a miracle no-injury season this year, or if there's a lockout, or also likely if they fail to step up when substituting for whoever of Markov/Gorges/Subban/Kaberle/Emelin/Bouillon gets injured, then they're both going back to Switzerland.
Exactly my point.

Those guys do not justify benching Kaberle or Bouillon as I've seen so many people suggest. They are as you said, the 7th and 8th D-men on the depth chart barring an injury. I truly believe Diaz has the ability to be a serviceable NHL defenseman, but he really has to step up when he gets the opportunity and prove it.

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09-01-2012, 12:03 PM
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I like Kaberle. He's not amazing defensively, but he never has been .He does his job.

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09-01-2012, 12:20 PM
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Sorry but I disagree. I don't think he's underrated. I think his body of work over the past two years speaks for itself. He's a player I wanted the Habs to trade for when he was with the leafs. He was a very good player and a great offensive defenseman. That we then, this is now. Nothing over the past 2 years says Kaberle is the player he was. I HOPE he can turn it around but that doesn't make him underrated it makes him an underachiever or washed up. Either way no one is saying he doesn't have talent, hes just not using it.

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09-01-2012, 12:33 PM
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Completely agree. He was an offensive defenseman stuck on one of the worst offensive teams in the league, playing in a defensive/dump and chase system.... And he still put up points! This guy is still one of the leagues top passer and PPqbs. I hope he has a big year, actually I kind of expect a big year from him.

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09-01-2012, 12:39 PM
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He's a waste of a signing made by a desperate GM at the time.

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09-01-2012, 12:45 PM
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I hated the Kaberle trade assuming they didn't think Markov was never coming back, but Kaberle has become underrated here. He has obvious flaws but 40 point defenders don't grow on trees, and despite this board's fantasy of having nothing but 6'5" grinders who might have no hands but can fight, a guy like Kaberle is still a useful role player even though I don't think having both him and Markov on the team is necessary since both are shells of what they once were.

But I guess it fits the narrative that Gauthier is the great satan who is responsible for everything bad in the world and not a mediocre GM with no communication skills who made some terrible panic moves in the last year.

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09-01-2012, 12:47 PM
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Technically he didnt really improve the PP. The percentage may have improved however relative to the rest of the teams, Montreals rank actually fell after the Kaberle's trade.

Montreal was i believe 25th in the league and fell to 28th. It doesnt matter if the percentage increased if the rest of the league has improved more.

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09-01-2012, 12:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shutehinside View Post
Sorry but I disagree. I don't think he's underrated. I think his body of work over the past two years speaks for itself. He's a player I wanted the Habs to trade for when he was with the leafs. He was a very good player and a great offensive defenseman. That we then, this is now. Nothing over the past 2 years says Kaberle is the player he was. I HOPE he can turn it around but that doesn't make him underrated it makes him an underachiever or washed up. Either way no one is saying he doesn't have talent, hes just not using it.
He still put up a 42 point pace on a terrible team. It seems to be in line with what he's been doing for years. His defensive game was not very good, completely agree with that. His conditioning was called out by many in the hockey community, and if he can reign in that problem as it appears he may be doing than he should be better next season.

No one is saying he is our #3 defenseman. It's people who are saying he has no business in the NHL and that guys like Diaz and Weber should be in the line up ahead of him that spark "he's underrated" discussions. They make just as many if not more mistakes than Kaberle but they get forgiven or overlooked because they are "learning". I don't see them putting up 40-50pts in the NHL anytime soon, do you?

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09-01-2012, 12:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirk Muller View Post
Technically he didnt really improve the PP. The percentage may have improved however relative to the rest of the teams, Montreals rank actually fell after the Kaberle's trade.

Montreal was i believe 25th in the league and fell to 28th. It doesnt matter if the percentage increased if the rest of the league has improved more.
To be fair the team got significantly worse after the trade for other reasons, and soon after Martin was replaced by probably the worst coach in CH history.

Kaberle can be blamed for not improving the power play though.

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09-01-2012, 12:55 PM
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I'm by no means a fan of his, but at the same time, we have no one else ready (I'd argue that Diaz and Weber are not NHLer and Emelin still needs some work).

I think most people complain about his salary. I just think that, well, it's not my money, so i don't care. But the main point is, even if he didn't have that salary, what would the Habs do with this money? Suter and Weber obviously wouldn't have come here, Parise either... no point in having cap space for the sake of it. 4.5m for a 40 points/year dman is not THAT expensive, IMO.

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09-01-2012, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by shutehinside View Post
Sorry but I disagree. I don't think he's underrated. I think his body of work over the past two years speaks for itself. He's a player I wanted the Habs to trade for when he was with the leafs. He was a very good player and a great offensive defenseman. That we then, this is now. Nothing over the past 2 years says Kaberle is the player he was. I HOPE he can turn it around but that doesn't make him underrated it makes him an underachiever or washed up. Either way no one is saying he doesn't have talent, hes just not using it.
Over the last two years?? Last year he struggled, especially early on, and by his own admission wasn't prepared for the season in part due to the shorter-than-usual off season (Leafs players are always used to a longer offseason,especially compared to the 10-11 Bruins. Fair enough.

The year before? Tell me what was so terrible about Kaberle two ears ago, as I can only go by his statistical performance. In the regular season he played 58 games for the Leafs and 24 games for the Bruins. In that season he posted 4g-43a for 47 points, 38 of those with the Leafs, and posted a +4 rating for the season. Even in his time with the sad-sack Leafs, he was only a -2.

Bottom line is that I feel you and other posters seem to judge Kaberle on ONE season. Very shortsighted in my opinion. Why he gets compared to Gomez is beyond me.

Great job by the OP.

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09-01-2012, 01:01 PM
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To be fair the team got significantly worse after the trade for other reasons, and soon after Martin was replaced by probably the worst coach in CH history.

Kaberle can be blamed for not improving the power play though.
Thats the point tho still. His only redeeming quality is his supposed PP prowess yet did nothing to improve it. Every team can at least come up with a good five man PP unit. Its about execution. It was bad prior to Kaberle and bad after. In terms of the point of the trade, it was a colossal failure.

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09-01-2012, 01:18 PM
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Thats the point tho still. His only redeeming quality is his supposed PP prowess yet did nothing to improve it. Every team can at least come up with a good five man PP unit. Its about execution. It was bad prior to Kaberle and bad after. In terms of the point of the trade, it was a colossal failure.
If I'm not mistaken the PP pre-Kaberle was around 12-13% and post-Kaberle it was around 17.5%. It's not world-beater, but it's an improvement.

If Markov can return to a decent level, having Kaberle on the 2nd pair will give us something we've never had. We've never had a defenseman of Kaberle's caliber to play the 2nd unit, argument could be made of course if your first unit is that good your second unit won't see as much time.. Agreed. But you also factor in hot/cold streaks and injuries, having Kaberle as insurance is actually a pretty good "policy" to have.

It doesn't hurt us this year. We aren't winning the cup anyways. If anything Kaberle is a perfect stop gap until we are ready to see one or more of Beaulieu/Tinordi/Ellis/etc.

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09-01-2012, 01:25 PM
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Markov and Subban on the PP is good and we slso have the luxury of having Kaberle on the PP for missed passes, wild shots and errors or blunders and never hitting anybody bigger than Jordan Eberle.

We are indeed blessed...

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09-01-2012, 01:28 PM
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Thats the point tho still. His only redeeming quality is his supposed PP prowess yet did nothing to improve it. Every team can at least come up with a good five man PP unit. Its about execution. It was bad prior to Kaberle and bad after. In terms of the point of the trade, it was a colossal failure.
Bergevin would give away Kaberle for free if he could but there aren't any takers. Gauthier made an idiotic, desperate trade as Spacek was coming off the books and that money could have been used to help sign a top six forward or a big, physical d-man.

Kaberle may very well be the worst defender in the NHL when in front of his own net. He refuses to play the body and coughs up the puck to avoid getting hit. This isn't anything new for him but it as the point where it has become ridiculous.

Kaberle is and always has been overrated by fans who look at stats but don't understand the game. Getting a pp assist every other game doesn't make up for the amount of scoring chances that he creates and allows on his own net. There was a time when he could effectively skate the puck out of the d-zone. His complete lack of dedication to personal conditioning has resulted in a significant decrease in mobility and has transformed him into an unacceptable defensive liability. He simply doesn't seem to have any passion to play the game at a high level and is quite content with his career numbers and achievements.

Hopefully he can get back into shape and rebuild his value but I am not going to hold my breath.

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09-01-2012, 01:29 PM
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I could see Kaberle being really useful if he comes in in shape. He was actually a guy I enjoyed watching once we were out - defensively he was weak but he made smart passes and was offensively clearly pretty talented. We need more from him this season but I wouldn't put him in the same boat as Gomez or even Bourque who contributed almost nothing.

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