Did Canes Get Good Value On Tomas Kaberle Signing?

OTTAWA ON - FEBRUARY 18: Tomas Kaberle #12 of the Boston Bruins controls the puck at the blueline during a game against the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place on February 18 2011 in Ottawa Canada. (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)

By now it has sunk in a bit.  The Carolina Hurricanes traded Joe Corvo to the Boston Bruins for a draft pick and also signed free agent defenseman, Tomas Kaberle, to a three-year contract.

These two transactions were a complete surprise to most everyone, probably because of the quick timing of them.   Just a few days ago, (Friday), Jim Rutherford said that the defense was most likely "all set".

But during Rutherford's interview on XM Home Ice late Tuesday afternoon, he confirmed that Corvo's agent requested a trade, just this past weekend.  It was a "soft request" as the GM put it, "based upon an analysis of where his career is and where he is headed".  

Still, the timing of the request was odd in that it was put forth almost immediately after his best friend, Erik Cole, signed as a free agent in Montreal.  Was it just a coincidence that Corvo also happened to come to a recent revelation about his career?

It might have worked out a bit better for Carolina if Corvo would have let the Canes know about his request before the opening of free agency, so the team might have gotten more than just a fourth rounder for him. 

Rutherford confirmed in the paper this morning that while he was thinking about Kaberle, he couldn't do anything without moving a defenseman.  Apparently, Corvo's request made it possible to get the player they wanted.

Regardless of the reasons behind the move, Carolina ended up with an upgrade on defense and on the powerplay.  They didn't get much for Corvo, but did they get a good deal on Kaberle?

Over the past couple of years, Kaberle has been one of the most sought after and talked about defensemen in the league.   During this most recent trade deadline period, the Boston Bruins gave up a first round pick, a second round pick, and prospect Joe Colborne to obtain the blueliner. 

While many were expecting him to be an immediate superstar in Beantown, he just quietly tried to fit in and he performed solidly, although not spectacularly.  From the outside looking in, he seemed to do exactly what a new player should do in that situation, don't try to do too much, but do the best you can.

Some players fit into new situations more slowly than others, (see Joe Corvo in Washington), and being comfortable in Boston might have been tougher for Kaberle than most players because in his 13 year career, the defenseman had never played for another NHL team besides the Maple Leafs.

With this deal, he should be going back into a comfort zone as he rejoins former teammates, Tim Brent, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Jay Harrison, and Jiri Tlusty, as well as a former head coach in Paul Maurice.

By the way, just how "poorly" did he perform while in Boston?

He finished with 1G 8A and 9 points in 24 regular season games.  

During the playoffs, he led all Bruin blueliners with 5 points (all assists) while on the powerplay.  The next closest defensemen were Dennis Seidenberg, Zdeno Chara, and Andrew Ference with 2 points each.   

Overall, Kaberle tied Seidenberg for Boston's lead in playoff scoring from the blueline with 11 points, (all assists) and he did it in 11:36 less playing time per game than Seidenberg.

That seems to be the story with this defenseman, he very quietly racks up points. 

On defense, he is calm and sees the ice well, he usually is very good at making the first pass, and he is good at getting the puck out of his zone. 

While Corvo had some great moments while in Carolina, he could also be a moody player and when his mood was down, he would lose confidence.  He was also prone to panicking in his own end at times, which would lead to turnovers. 

Still, he was an excellent value and was one of the team's more consistent performers on the powerplay.  Boston got a very good player for just the cost of a fourth rounder.

How good or bad of a value is the Kaberle singing?  Of course, we won't know for sure until the three years is up, but for now, we can compare the contract with other blueliners who have recently signed.

Let's take a look at the following numbers:

Tomas Kaberle Year GP G A P PIM PPG PPA
age 33
3 year contract
2010-11 82 4 43 47 18 0 25
$12.75 million 2009-10 82 7 42 49 24 3 22
2008-09 57 4 27 31 8 3 16
2007-08 82 8 45 53 22 6 24
2006-07 74 11 47 58 20 2 28
Totals 377 34 204 238 92 14 115
Jan Hejda Year GP G A P PIM PPG PPA
age 33
4 year contract
2010-11 77 5 15 20 28 0 0
$13 million 2009-10 62 3 10 13 36 1 0
2008-09 82 3 18 21 38 0 0
2007-08 81 0 13 13 61 0 0
2006-07 39 1 8 9 20 0 0
Totals 341 12 64 76 183 1 0
Ed Jovanovski Year GP G A P PIM PPG PPA
age 35
4 year contract
2010-11 50 5 9 14 39 1 1
$16.5 million 2009-10 66 10 24 34 55 5 9
2008-09 82 9 27 36 106 6 12
2007-08 80 12 39 51 73 8 19
2006-07 54 11 18 29 63 6 8
Totals 332 47 117 164 336 26 49
James Wisniewski Year GP G A P PIM PPG PPA
age 27
6 year contract
2010-11 75 10 41 51 38 7 22
$33 million 2009-10 69 3 27 30 56 2 7
2008-09 48 3 21 24 30 1 10
2007-08 68 7 19 26 103 1 4
2006-07 50 2 8 10 39 0 1
Totals 310 25 116 141 266 11 44
Christian Ehrhoff Year GP G A P PIM PPG PPA
age 29
10 year contract
2010-11 79 14 36 50 52 6 22
$40 million 2009-10 80 14 30 44 42 6 17
2008-09 77 8 34 42 63 5 20
2007-08 77 1 21 22 72 1 4
2006-07 82 10 23 33 63 6 12
Totals 395 47 144 191 292 24 75
Joe Corvo Year GP G A P PIM PPG PPA
age 34
1 year left on contract
2010-11 82 11 29 40 18 5 18
$2.5 million 2009-10 52 6 12 18 12 5 4
2008-09 81 14 24 38 18 8 14
2007-08 74 13 25 38 26 6 22
2006-07 76 8 29 37 42 3 12
Totals 365 52 119 171 116 27 70



(For curiosity sake I added in Corvo's numbers as well, which again are very good considering his price tag)

You'll see that over the past five years, Kaberle has more powerplay assists and points than any of the top signings.  He also has more total points than any of those listed. 

The defenseman has finished in the league's top 10 regarding powerplay scoring in three of the last four years.

So, what do you think of the deal?  Did Rutherford do all right, under the circumstances?

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