Tracking the Storm

Canes May Elect to Buy Out Kaberle

Monday, 07.13.2009 / 2:11 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Canes May Elect to Buy Out Kaberle
Note: I'm back from vacation and will have some updates throughout the week, both on the team's general offseason plans and the team's rookie camp, which begins Thursday.  I'll also touch on some of the depth moves that were made while I was away.

As the Canes look to solidify their budget for next season and restructure their defense, they may have found an avenue that will help them do both.

Paul Branecky
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General Manager Jim Rutherford said today that the team will explore the possibility of buying out defenseman Frantisek Kaberle, which would save the team roughly $1.5 million dollars next season.

“He’s a puck moving guy, and we’ve got some of those guys,” said Rutherford. “The only reason he went on waivers last year was to free up that contract. It wasn’t because we didn’t think he could play or help us, and it’s a similar situation this year. If the right guy comes along and we can change the make up of our defense, we may do it.”

Kaberle is scheduled to make $2.2 million next season - the final year of the four-year contract he signed following the Stanley Cup championship in 2006. If the Hurricanes were to buy him out, they would have to pay two-thirds of that contract over the next two seasons, meaning they would owe the 35-year-old Czech blueliner just under $750,000 a year.

As the Hurricanes aim to set next year’s budget at around $50 million dollars (purely in cash, not in terms of their cap hit, which would be about three million higher), the extra money would help quite a bit if it came to bringing in a free agent or adding some salary in a trade.

The possibility of the buyout, along with the fact that Rutherford does not expect to have Anton Babchuk back in the fold next season, means that the Hurricanes could be looking for two more players to fill out the defensive corps.

“We may be looking for one that can play in the top four spot that [Babchuk] was playing at times last year and then we may still look at making our defense a little more physical,” he said. “If that player is there, we may consider buying Frank out, and if not, he’s still a useful player.”

Rutherford said that there had been no progress in his talks with Babchuk’s camp, and that the player would likely either return to Russia or be traded to a team that would meet his demands. So far, no team has stepped forward.

If Babchuk were to return to Russia, the Hurricanes would retain his rights similar to when this situation last occurred in the summer of 2007. That decision cost Babchuk his arbitration rights, which he still would not receive if he returned to the NHL after the coming season.

“If he hadn’t have gone to Russia for the one year, he would have arbitration rights this year,” said Rutherford. “From my point of view, you can’t have it both ways.”

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 77 23 31 -13 54
J. Faulk 82 15 34 -19 49
E. Lindholm 81 17 22 -23 39
V. Rask 80 11 22 -14 33
J. Skinner 77 18 13 -24 31
N. Gerbe 78 10 18 -14 28
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
J. Staal 46 6 18 -6 24
J. Liles 57 2 20 -9 22
J. McClement 82 7 14 -7 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 22 24 5 .910 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 17 6 .900 2.72