TORONTO - NOVEMBER 13: Tomas Kaberle #15 of the Toronto Maple Leafs gestures to his partner during game action against the Vancouver Canucks at the Air Canada Centre November 13 2010 in Toronto Ontario Canada. (Photo by Abelimages / Getty Images)
The Carolina Hurricanes took a bit of a gamble when they went out and signed free agent defenseman Tomas Kaberle to a three year contract for $12.75 million. Just a short time ago, Kaberle was looked upon as being one of the top puck moving blueliners in the league, but after a brief stint in Boston, (in which he helped the Bruins win the Stanley Cup), his value apparently went down.
Was he over-rated to begin with or did he just have a rough time fitting in with his new team in Beantown?
I thought I would ask for some insight from one of the people who would know him best, a Maple Leafs fan. After all, the four time All Star spent the better part of 13 seasons in Toronto.
After the jump, JP Nikota, from the Pension Plan Puppets will give us a scouting report.
Tomas Kaberle? He is what he is. I really hate to use such a stupid phrase, but at his age, it’s the truth. He’ll be 33 in the coming season, and like most players of that age, his game isn’t growing or evolving for the better anymore, so you just have to accept the good with the bad.
I’ve always enjoyed watching him play because many of the things that are said about him by mainstream media members are true: he makes great outlet passes, is a smooth skater (he’s quick, but not exceptionally so), and he generally distributes the puck in the calm, effective way that veterans at the NHL level should. Moreover, off the ice, he was never, to the knowledge of some of the most hockey-obsessed fans around, ever involved in anything that would tarnish his reputation as a professional athlete in any way. Throughout his time in Toronto, his loyalty was never questioned. For what it’s worth, teammates always spoke very highly of him both as a person and an example for younger defenders.
He does, of course, have shortcomings. He’s not particularly big, and he certainly doesn’t play a punishing, physical game. Although he’s not terrible in his own end, he’s certainly not great, either. He’s never had a cannon of a shot, but he shoots accurately enough to have won the All-Star game’s shooting competition twice (OK, so that’s not worth much, but it’s something). Much of his value lies in his ability to put up points, which he should still be able to do serviceably well for the next three years.
That said, there are some unfair characterizations floating around there about Kaberle’s style of play that should be dispelled. The next time you read some A-hole on the internet’s complaining about how Kaberle doesn’t shoot enough, send them here. Another misconception is that Kaberle is some kind of power play specialist, but let me tell you, not so much.
The contract he’s signed in Carolina is very reasonable, considering what many other UFA’s have received in the past couple off-seasons, and although I feel confident that years two and three of this deal will see some decline, he is unlikely to ever look like a bad signing.
JP mentions that Kaberle "puts up points", and that is exactly what he's done throughout his career. Since the lockout, the defenseman has played in 459 out of a possible 492 games and has scored 359 points in those contests for a per game percentage of .6644.
For comparison sake, Joe Corvo played in 446 games during the same time frame and put up a total of 221 points for a per game average of .4955. Joni Pitkanen played in 412 games, scored 229 points, and posted a .5558 per game average.
Carolina fans probably don't care if the points come on the powerplay or at even strength, but if the defenseman can continue to score like he has throughout his career, it bodes well for the Hurricanes.
|2010-11 - Tomas Kaberle||82||4||43||47||4||18||0||0||1||130||3.1|
|2009-10 - Tomas Kaberle||82||7||42||49||-16||24||3||0||1||158||4.4|
|2008-09 - Tomas Kaberle||57||4||27||31||-8||8||3||0||1||93||4.3|
|2007-08 - Tomas Kaberle||82||8||45||53||-8||22||6||0||1||155||5.2|
|2006-07 - Tomas Kaberle||74||11||47||58||3||20||2||0||1||128||8.6|
|2005-06 - Tomas Kaberle||82||9||58||67||-1||46||6
Coming up soon, a closer look at our other newcomers.
(A big thank you to JP and our friends at PPP for the help.)