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Kaberle Clears Waivers, Now What?

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Some of you might be wondering about this waiver business. What does it all mean? What happens next? It can get a bit complicated because some of the rules are predicated upon a variety of issues, including how many games a player has played in the league. In Frank Kaberle's situation though, it's pretty simple.

It's no secret that the Hurricanes have been trying to trade Kaberle since the summer. Apparently, Jim Rutherford felt that the defenseman had some trade value, otherwise why would he sign a total of eight defensemen to NHL contracts during the offseason? But the general manager not only over-estimated Josef Melichar's abilities when he signed him to a million dollar contract, it seems that he also mis-calulated how easily he would be able to trade Kaberle.

When Carolina placed "FK" on waivers yesterday, they were hoping that another team would claim him so that they could free up money from their budget. They were also stating to the entire hockey world that they were unable to trade him for anything positive. In essence, they were offering to give him away.

After 24 hours, no other team wanted him. So, what happens next?

The Hurricanes have a few options. They can put the defenseman back in the lineup like nothing happened. They can send him to Albany, (like they did with Melichar). They can put him back on waivers, (a re-entry process), where another team could pick him up at half his salary. They could just scratch him every game. cut him and send him home. (technically, they can not cut him)

No matter what happens, Kaberle will continue to be paid his 2.2 million through next year because he has a guaranteed one-way contract. If another team claimed him under the re-entry process, the Hurricanes would be liable for half of the blueliner's salary through the balance of this season, as well as all of next year. It's doubtful the Hurricanes would go this route.

It's also very doubtful that the Canes would send him to Albany. (JR said that he would not send him there, for now anyway). While "FK" has been fighting injuries and has been inconsistent, he has not been a huge liability on the ice. (Also if they send him to Albany, he would have to go through the re-entry process if they need him again).

The Hurricanes have mentioned to the press on more than one occasion that they are over the budget that they set for themselves this year. Since "FK" has finally gotten healthy, they were probably just hoping beyond hope that another team might take some excess salary off of their books. It didn't happen.

In the meantime, plan on Kaberle being back on the trading block, if not back in the lineup. When Nic Wallin is able to play again, the Czech Republic native might also be one expensive healthy scratch.

Will the defenseman use this humbling experience as a building block to help push himself to another performance level like Sergei Samsonov did last year and Kristian Huselius did when Calgary claimed him from Florida in 2006?

Fans can only hope.