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Another Leaf joins the club: Tomas Kaberle to the Habs

Doug GIlmour, Yanic Perreault,

Sergei Berezin

. What do they have in common? They were all Leafs. Then, they were Habs. 2 of the 3 made big contributions in Montreal.

Welcome, Tomas Kaberle. Adieu, M. Spacek.

There’s a lot of angst amongst Habs fans. Kaberle is old. Overpaid. Overweight. But many are forgetting one thing: he has run very successful power plays in years past, and he has averaged approximately 20 powerplay assists a year through most of his career.

The Habs achilles heel this year, other than bad luck, questionable coaching decisions, and injuries (though, ironically, none to any achilles, that I know of) has been the powerplay. Clearly, Pierre Gauthier, Geoff Molson, et al believe the Canadiens can win now. I like the attitude. In today’s rebuild world, it’s refreshing. Will Kaberle work out? I don’t know. But I think he’ll help, and hey, things can only get better. Right?

Meanwhile, Spacek leaves. He was a good solider. He blocked a lot of shots. But he never really worked out - the offence just wasn’t there. Kaberle brings that past, and with a fresh start, I think he can succeed.

He also joins Scott Gomez in that he hasn’t scored a goal since March of last year (Gomez goes back to February). I wonder if the Habs can come up with some sort of unique contest - who will score first?

I’m also curious whether Kirk Muller had anything to do with Jaroslav Spacek heading to Carolina. Muller was heavily involved in the special teams, so I suspect he told Jim Rutherford what a great addition Spacek would be to the Carolina PK.

Tomas Kaberle should make his debut as a Hab tomorrow against New Jersey. We’ll see if he pays dividends immediately. And a side note: The Canadiens had too many defencemen before this trade. They have too many after it. Frederic St. Denis has been sent down, but is Yannick Weber headed out of town? I suspect he, Raphael Diaz and a few other current Habs may be wondering if they’re next. Andrei Kostitsyn’s name has been bandied about a lot as well. Could Gauthier ship a package for more help?

Time will tell.

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The Kaberle acquisition is one that could be very good or be just as bad as Gomez. This is a player with unbelievable talent, but very questionable mental fortitude, a la Gomez. Kaberle has been on the decline for the last 3 seasons. What really worries me about this trade is the Habs have given up salary cap flexibility. Spacek wasn’t leading anyone to the promise land, but he was a UFA at the end of the year which would have allowed for options to be explored. Locking into Kaberle means we could for the next 2 1/2 years be talking about another overpaid player on the roster with not a care in the world on where the team is in the standings.

Posted by BlackXinu on 12/10/11 at 08:42 AM ET


I have to agree with some of your sentiments. I was a tad surprised that the Canadiens added Kaberle’s contract with Gomez, Gionta and Cammalleri already locked up. However, as Saturday’s game demonstrated, Kaberle can run a PP and still has a great first pass. Talk to me in another year and I may be singing a different tune, but I stand by my original opinion: I like this trade for the Habs.

Posted by The Upper Canadien from Toronto on 12/12/11 at 08:55 PM ET

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About The Upper Canadien

The Upper Canadien is your one stop shop for all things Montreal Canadiens. Since the summer of 2010, I've been providing Habs related news, notes, and most importantly, opinions. As a blogger, I don't believe it's my job to report the news, it's my privilege to comment on it. You may disagree with what I suggest. In fact, you most likely will. But that's the great part about blogging: it spurs opinion, comment and engages all involved. I've really enjoyed all the debate and commentary from readers thus far and I encourage everyone to respond with ideas on lineups, trades, logos, sweaters, mascots, whatever. The Upper Canadien is a conversation for all hockey fanatics.

I've come to Kukla's Korner with four years of campus radio and three years of sportswriting from my time at Mount Allison University on Canada's East coast. Not only do I not have any professional journalistic training, after five years in the corporate world, I've spent much of the past two years completing an MBA. Business by day, hockey by night, I'm a Canadiens fan through and through. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I do writing.

Questions or comments? theuppercanadien@kuklaskorner.com