Cornwall - Dec. 9, 2011 - Montreal Canadiens general manager, Pierre Gauthier, announced today the acquisition of defenseman Tomas Kaberle from the Carolina Hurricanes, in return for defenseman Jaroslav Spacek. Sports writers and radio announcers in Montreal are upset and they are calling for heads to roll on this deal. Personally, I think these pundits are over-reacting and this is a good deal for the Canadiens.
Financially, the cap hit for the 2011-12 season is not significant, with a difference of only $273,000.00. NHLNumbers.com reports that the cap hit this year for Kaberle is $2.780M versus $2.507M for Spacek. Kaberle is signed through until 2013-14 and Spacek’s deal expires 2012-13.
With Andrei Markov out with yet another knee surgery and the Canadiens powerplay sitting at 28th in the league, a puck moving defenceman should be a welcomed addition to les Blue-Blanc-Rouge. Throughout his career, Kaberle has average 0.58 points per game (PPG), where Spacek is only 0.40 PPG.
With the emergence and improved play of Alexei Emelin and Rafael Diaz, Spacek became expendable. While I agree that Martin also needs to go, I don't think Pierre Gauthier made a mistake on this trade. The cap hit is not significant and the upside is huge.
The Boston Bruins gave up a first round pick and prospect Joe Colbourne to acquire Kaberle for their Stanley Cup run. Due to Kaberle’s slow start, the asking price was a lot lower for the Canadiens. It is amazing what a difference ten months can make in an asking price.
With the Toronto Maple Leafs, Kaberle wore number 15. In Boston he wore 12, as number 15 was retired in honour of Milt Schmidt. In Carolina, Kaberle wore number 51. It will be interesting to see if David Desharnais or Petteri Nokelainin will change their number for Kabby.
All in all, I think this is a good deal for the Habs. Good job, Pierre Gauthier – on another note do you need Marc Crawford’s phone number?