August Preview: Tomas Kaberle

Tomas Kaberle
Age: 34 Position: D
Born: March 2nd, 1978
Rakovnik, Czech Republic

Tomas Kaberle is known as an offensive defenseman who often goes up in the play, sometimes for the backdoor pass. He is a pretty good skater and typically has a strong first pass. He is used as a set up man on the power play but should use his shot more often as it would be less predictable. He can also be the player you look to for carrying the puck up the ice. Kaberle is not a physical player.

Kaberle began his professional career with Kladno in the 1994-1995 season. He only took part in 4 games where he tallied 1 assist and a -6 rating. The following year, Tomas appeared in 23 games. He again put up 1 assist but had 2PIM. He did not register a point or penalty during the 2-playoff games he was in. Regardless, Kaberle did enough to be noticed by a NHL team. In the 8th round of the 1996 NHL Entry Draft, the Toronto Maple Leafs selected Kaberle at 204th overall. He would then play two more seasons with Kladno with a stop in North America with the St. John’s Maple Leafs for 2 games. That was the only time Tomas was seen in the AHL.

In his first NHL season with Toronto, Kaberle appeared in 57 regular season games and 14 playoff games. During the season, he put up 22 points (4 goals, 18 assists), 12PIM and a +3 rating. As for the hockey that is a luxury to 16 teams during the spring, Kaberle had 3 assists and 2PIM in a total of 14 games.

The next two years in the NHL saw Kaberle play in a total of 164 games and if you can do math correctly, that means he did not miss a single tilt. He continued to make strides in the point column by recording 40 and then 45 with a combined PIM of 48. He also participated in the post-season for 23 games where he registered 2 goals, 7 assists and did not take a single penalty over the course of the two-playoff runs.

After the 2000-2001 season finished up, Kaberle became a restricted free agent. The next year began for the Leafs and Tomas was not signed. He ended up playing for Kladno for 9 games while negotiations continued to take place. A deal was eventually reached that would keep him a Leaf through 2005-2006 and he appeared in 69 regular season games with 20 playoff matches right after.

Once that contract was up with a stop in Kladno again on the way due to the lockout, Tomas re-signed to a 5-year deal worth $21.25 million with a no-trade clause for the first three years. This deal put him in Toronto until the end of the 2010-2011 season. This specific year is one that Kaberle will remember for the rest of his life. After participating in 58 games for the Leafs where he had 38 points (3 goals, 35 assists) and 16PIM with a -2 rating, he was traded. On February 18th, 2011, Kaberle was sent to the Boston Bruins in exchange for Joe Colborne, a 1st round pick in 2011 and a conditional 2nd round pick in 2012 that was based on if the Bruins reached the Stanley Cup Finals in 2011 or if they re-signed him. Kaberle finished out the regular season with 1 goal, 8 assists, 2PIM and a +6 rating in 24 games. The playoffs began with a tough series against the Montreal Canadiens, which many believe was their hardest match-up during their run. The Boston Bruins topped their year off with hoisting the cup. Kaberle racked up 11 assists and 4PIM in 25 games to help Boston bring in their 6th cup.

The Boston Bruins decided to part ways with Tomas Kaberle in the 2011 offseason. On July 5th, the Carolina Hurricanes decided to jump on the opportunity of having another Kaberle dawn their jersey. They signed him to a 3-year contract that was worth $12.75 million. However, Kaberle only lasted 29 games with the Canes. He had 9 assists, 2PIM and a -12 rating while he was there. Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford said he should have known better and that giving Kaberle that contract was a mistake. Canadiens GM at the time, Pierre Gauthier, fell into the trap of his own stupidity to take on that contract and give up Jaroslav Spacek in return on December 9th. Spacek was set to be UFA at the end of the season. Not only did the Habs take on a larger cap hit but also some term.

With the Canadiens, Kaberle put up 22 points (3 goals, 19 assists), a -6 rating and 10PIM in 43 games. Tomas admitted that he was not in the shape he should have been when going into the 2011-2012 season with Carolina. After the errors and the formation of the pairing that Canadiens fans liked to call “CaKa”, Habs hopefuls were hoping that new GM Marc Bergevin would find a way to get rid of Kaberle. For right now anyway, Tomas is here to stay. He has committed to being in better shape and is taking part in the camp run by Bio Steel. Former Hab Mike Cammalleri and fan favourite, P.K Subban are also training through this camp with Kaberle. Thinking about this upcoming season and what Kaberle brought to the team after the trade this past year, one has to believe that Tomas will be played on the 3rd pairing with power play time. Hopefully this does not cause Subban to be on the wrong side of the point this time, if so, get Kaberle on the other unit. Moving forward, even though he only put up 22 points while wearing the Habs jersey so far and 31 over the course of the entire year, Kaberle sat at 6th in points on the Canadiens. He most likely will hit around that mark again or higher in 2012-2013, especially if used properly. Fans should accept that from the aging defenseman.

The only thing left to say is… GET A BIGGER HOCKEY STICK GOD DAMMIT!

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