Canadiens acquire Kaberle for Spacek.


Kaberle now a Hab.

TSN.CA reports the Montreal Canadiens have acquired defenseman Tomas Kaberle from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for defenseman Jaroslav Spacek.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So who said Kaberle was untradeable because of his poor performance and expensive contract? Oh, yeah, me…Hey, I have no problem admitting I was wrong on Kaberle’s trade value. Just goes to show how desperation can cloud the good judgement of a general manager.

So, what to say? The Habs evidently feel they need experienced help on the blueline, Spacek is seemingly on his last legs, which could potentially be said about Andrei Markov, who continues to struggle through rehabbing a bothersome knee injury. Salary-wise, this makes little sense, as Kaberle has two more years at $4.25 million per season, while Spacek is a UFA next summer. But, if it appears Markov will be shutting it down this season, and remains questionable for the next two seasons, then Kaberle becomes a better option, as far as being a serviceable NHL defenseman.

That being said, Kaberle had better regain the form that, in the not too distant past, made him a valuable part of the Maple Leaf defense. Otherwise, this will go down as yet another expensive flop for the Canadiens, as well as the possible nail in the coffin for GM Pierre Gauthier.

As for the Hurricanes, let’s just say GM Jim Rutherford is happy to be rid of his mistake, and move on, shall we?



  1. Be interesting to see if Kaberle can regain his form in Montreal, the team that was one of his biggest rivals throughout his entire career. It could help him a bit getting back to playing the same teams he’s more used to playing against and being in a high pressure hockey market seems to spark his game. Big gamble in my opinion by the Habs but could pay off. Subban and Kaberle could be a decent 1+2 punch offensively on the blueline.

  2. I honestly think its time for Gauthier to be replaced. Interested in knowing how you feel about him Spector. This is just a HORRIBLE move by the Habs. Regardless of Markov’s future there are better options for god’s sake probably better options in Hamilton.

  3. JJB- Kaberle was traded to another hockey market last year and that did nothing for him. The Bruins won a cup in spite of his pass first mentality and poor defensive play. First I have no idea why Rutherford wanted him in the summer and like I said above I have no clue why Gauthier wants him now. That team should take a cue from the Sens start the rebuild. Two guys they should build around Price and Subban after that see what you can get and possibly Gorges I like him too. But before the rebuild get rid of Gauthier or else it won’t matter.

  4. I don’t get it. Kaberle’s been terrible. He’s been on the block for weeks and nobody wanted him, the next step was demotion. Granted, the Habs have all the Bulldogs d-men worthy of a call up already on the team, but Spacek is one of the few veterans on the back end and his play hasn’t been terrible. Maybe the Habs know his recent injury is worse than believed (might the trade then be negated). And then to take on the horrible contract for a seriously declining Kabs, on top of Markov and Gomez. So now they have, what, $500,000 below the cap and they damn well better get Gorges signed. Kaberle won’t shoot, refuses to hit, and he’s just not defensively strong. (shakes head)

  5. Don’t get me wrong I think its a terrible move. But I am just looking at it that Kaberle fits more into the Habs style of play then the Bruins or Hurricanes. Pass first, don’t care about your own zone. He would suck come the playoffs (which I don’t see them making) cause he’d have to block shots. Overall its probably Gauthier committing career suicide!

    Trade for a bad contract in Gomez
    Sign a bad contract in Markov
    Trade for a bad contract in Kaberle

    The team has nearly 0 cap space. Gil, Koystitsyn, Campoli, Moen do come off the books this summer but Gorges, Eller, Darche, Emelin, Subban, Diaz, Price all need new contracts … so in my opinion I am also going to say having $21.5 million tied up in Camma, Gionta, Plek, and Cole isn’t going to be working in his favor either.

    In essence unless Kaberle regains form and brings them to the playoffs … Gauthier is done and the Habs are in a terrible state … a Flames like state.

  6. Montreal needed a legitimate defenceman… how long can you ride AHLers before ou need to make a move. Kaberle is much better than Spacek, or Diaz, or Yemelin, or Webber.

    JJB: Bob Gainey made the trade for Gomez, not Gauthier.
    But you are right that the Habs are in a Calgary-like situation: A lot of anchor contracts, not a whole lot of prospects, and a bunch of angry fans. IMO, they would be fools to not resign Hal Gill.

  7. @JJB

    Woah, let’s hold up on the Flames like state. Both teams will have about 20 million next season. Except Habs need to resign 7 players who are going to get pay increases… as well as significant pay raises for two of them (2.7 for Price and 0.87 for PK… try 4+ on both =o)).

    Then they have 25 million in cap the year after, while Flames have 35 =o).

    You know your teams in rough shape when Flame fans feel sorry for you.

  8. Most likely Gauthier had or will apply for the long term injury exemption for Markov, so Kaberle’s contract fits in that way, when /if Markov comes back, Diaz, Emelin or Weber could be traded and free up cap space.

  9. Congrats to the Canes for highway robbery! LOL

    Spacek is a good dman.

  10. Are the flames the new messuring stick now for canadian teams wallowing in “bad contracts” dilemas? Sure flames have bad contracts however I would take any of their contracts then Gomez, Markov and Kostitsyn. Too much money on the is being overspent on the MTL’s forwards who are under producing. aside from that flames have 6 contracts coming off the books of 30’yrs+ players so next season flames could will get younger and still have a good competitve team.

  11. As much as I like Kaberle, Gauthier is a terrible GM. Kinda reminds me of Fergason jr. No clear indication on how to build a winner. Just kind of patch work and hope it works. My first clue that Gauthier doesn’t have a clue was when Halak was traded. I remember him saying something like he didn’t want to move Price because a lot more GM’s were interested in him over Halak. That tells me he clearly doesn’t know what he’s doing. The right answer should have been, we didn’t want to move Price because we feel he’s a better goalie. Then the terrible return for Halak, a couple of bad signings here and there, and this team is officially swimming in circles.

  12. DurtMCHurt,

    Montreal got nothing in return for Halak because unlike people here in Montreal, the rest of the league knew that Halak was worth nothing. He was a one hit wonder similar to Huet. Also, before Montreal got Gomez, there were no higher end players that wanted to play for Montreal. Montreal lost out on all the bidding wars despite offering up more money. Without signing Gomez they would not have gotten any of the other players and would have been stuck with the likes of Kovalev as the star of the team.

  13. By the Calgary comparison its not just cap space and bad contracts its also aging vets with very little in the system. I think MTL has more bad contracts (imo) but has a bit more in the prospect/youth department.

  14. Montreal never signed Gomez.. they traded Higgins to the Rangers for him after NY signed him and Drury to huge contracts they didn’t deserve and definitly never earned, and just because you throw buckets of money at someone does not make them high end talent and I’m sure most canadiens fans would like to still have Higgins

  15. as soon as I heard that Markov was re-signed, I knew the Habs were going to regret it. The cap hit was a double wammy. Whether Wisnewski wanted to stay or not, they should of offered the money to him. That being said, I think Kaberle could be a good fix, Markov may never come back, so Kaberle makes sense for Montreal on their PP and getting out of their zone to feed streaking wingers on the rush, but might not be enough to make the playoffs with a Divisional foes playing well.

  16. Coof, in the end, the only players that wear a Montreal jersey that I would like on my team, were inherited to Gauthier. He’s made no moves IMO to improve the team. At least Gainey made some pretty decent moves. Gauthier is going to slowly kill the Habs…watch.

  17. bury gomez in the minors, LTIR for Markov, you have the money for Price and PK…with a new GM and coach, the rest will hopefully work itself out..that being said, you have to hope the complete incompetence of the front office isn’t leading people away from either coming here or staying here..

  18. Maybe Kaberle will prove most of us ‘seasoned’ (I use that word lightly..) observers wrong but this really does not make a whole lot of sense to me considersing the amount and length of his contract. Can anyone say with any certainty what type of team are they’re trying to develop or be in Montreal?

  19. @Tristan
    If you trade for a bloated contract that doesnt make you any smarter then signing a player to a ridiculously stupidly contract, Instead you look like you dont know what you are doing. And at the time Ragers signed him, Gomez was considered a pretty talented forward, having won 2 stanley cups.

  20. I used to have some faith in Gauthier because he did reach out and get Wiz and looking at it now, Eller looks good in trade for Halak. I am willing to give PG enough faith to wait and see about Kaberle but I agree 100% that this trade looks aweful. I hate Spacek’s style of play but I give the guy total credit because he gets the job done. He is more than just a serviciable D-man. Due the the length of the Kaberle contract, PG should have had a pick thrown in. I also agree 100% that this deal will either make him look like a genius or look like an ass and his job would be tied to the outcome. The only idea behind it I can see is that Molson has no issue buying out alll these contracts at the end of the year and starting over.

  21. Now if JR can get something of value for the other floater the Canes have on Defense, Pitkanen, it will be even better in Canes World! Glad the mistake that was made signing Kaberle in the first place has been reversed!

  22. Hey.. our powerplay can’t get any worse….. we need any help we can get and it basically cost us nothing. I look at Kab as a MA Bergeron type player now. He’ll get less 5 on 5 time then he will PP time.

    We’re ONE point out of a playoff spot. We aren’t selling the farm and rebuilding, yet we aren’t trading prospects for a solid PP QB. Ask much as I don’t really care for the player as he is right now, I do have a hard time asking myself, what other options were out there for that price?

  23. At first I really shook my head in anger at this trade because of the remaining years. Then as the dust and rage in my mind began to settle I started to look at this logically. The Canadiens PP is horrendous because no one back there can read the play and make a quality pass. This is why Pleks was back there but that was stupid. Ok. Check mark for Kabs because we all know he can do that well. Spacek was as soft as they come. So is Kabs. So even. Are the Canadiens expecting Kabs to be the #1 d man? Nope. Check for Kaberle. The only minus is the length of his deal. Now, with the CBA coming up there is most certainly a buyout period coming as quite a few GM’s used it last time and it wasn’t a hated service so I think that will happen again. In that case is bye bye Gomez. If not, they are burying him in the minors. Gauthier isn’t a complete idiot and not looking at his cap room right now. But we can safely assume AK is gone, maybe even Cammy (as much as I hate to say that because it’s his jersey I sport for games). The only two guys getting big deals are price and Subban. Price will be 5-6 million. Subban 3.5-4.5 million. Nothing that can’t be worked around. When you factor in the ppl leaving and probably leaving (Gomez, AK) then they have the room. The thing that’s killing the Canadiens is the PP. If that can improve even 30% with the addition of Kaberle then they will be on the W side of a few more of these one goal games and it will boost confidence in the team. So, in short: gamble? Of course. Give up future? No. Reward? High. Verdict: 50/50 until games are played. So I’ll be crossing my fingers and hoping they can get the PP going. If that happens From Kabs addition then there will be a lot feet getting pulled from their mouths. If it doesn’t then Gauthier and Martin are gone. Win win for Canadiens fans.

  24. @Smielman: I’m not so sue aK is gone after this year. He has played pretty well when not injured. I think they will hold onto him if he takes the same salary or a little less. He should not get a raise and should be resigned if the money is there after the others (Price/Subban/Eller/Emelin and even Nokoleinin) but I see him sticking. That being said, I could also see him dumped with Cammy (as you said, hate to see it) at the deadline if Montreal continues to melt down. Still annoyed PG did no get a little more for Spacek.

  25. Habsfan1- AK is not going to take less and he will want more. The thing is priority. The priority will go 1) first rookie to sign cheap out of Diaz /emelin. 2) Price. 3) Subban (or whoever agrees to 5mill(price) and 4 mill(Subban) first), Eller and Then kostitsyn and moen. I know that’s exactly what you said, I’m just thinking there isn’t enough left for AK. I think he will get 3.75 to 4 mill somewhere else. But that’s why the grabbed cole. Depth with size. I am thinking blunden comes in next year with white to handle 4th line duties. I think Eller and moen start on the third with Leblanc and the current top six (plek, Cammy,gio, desharnais,cole, patchy). If the Habs let metropolit and Moore walk for cheap then noki is gone. Darche is done unless he wants league minimum. The Gomez situation will be dealt with via demotion/buy out/possible penalty free buy out/trade (I know). So that’s a huge gain in the cap department. If the cant get rid of Gomez then they trade one if the reasonably expensive forwards. I don’t think they should go out of their way to sign noki or AK just because D is a issue so Subban/Diaz/Emelin will be important and should be reasonably priced. I would offer Price a 6 year deal that goes 6.5, 4.5, 5.5, 5.5, 6, 6. I think that would be 5.75 and more than reasonable. Ryan white is eventually coming back this year too so have to see what he brings. All in all it’s a team reacting to a key injury that they obviously didn’t think would occur (whoever that dr is that gave them “a handle of games” to miss in oct should be fired) and the Gomez contract doesn’t have to e dealt with until next year and there’s a new CBA being discussed so there’s unknown horizons. All in all, rough waters because of this start to the seasons when Habs fans expected about 6-7 pts more in the standings and we have been used to top 3 PP in the last 3 years. Bottom three is sickening. Go habs!

  26. I still say that the perfect fit for a GM would be PIERRE MC GUIRE

  27. can’t agree with Cammy getting bought out…they need a coach that coaches a system to the strengths of this team, which is speed and creativity…these offensive guys are getting suffocated in this defensive system..Cammy goes somewhere else, I guarantee he goes back to scoring between 30-40 goals….they’re already doing it to Leblanc…putting him on a checking line does nothing for his abilities..

  28. Like others said before, Kaberle contract isn’t that bad since the CBA will come to term…

    And this situation give two options to the Habs:

    1- Kab have a good season and they retain his services after this season..
    Since next season will probably be nullified by a lock-out, they’re is good probabilities that Kaberle contract will only have one year remaining

    2- He have a bad season and the Habs buy out his contact without any restriction cap wise (as stipulated in the CBA)