Tracking the Storm

Canes Make Unexpected Swoop for Kaberle

Tuesday, 07.5.2011 / 5:23 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Canes Make Unexpected Swoop for Kaberle

As unexpected as it was to those that follow the team, the Hurricanes didn’t necessarily see it coming either.

Paul Branecky
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Just days after saying he was happy with his defense amid significant turnover among the forward ranks, General Manager Jim Rutherford pulled the simultaneous trigger on the signing of free agent defenseman Tomas Kaberle and the trade of defenseman Joe Corvo to Boston in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick.

After locking up Joni Pitkanen to a new deal prior to the start of the July 1 free agent period, Rutherford didn’t seem to be in the market for a puck moving, power-play specialist along the lines of Kaberle, whose 25 assists on the man advantage ranked fifth among all NHL players last season. However, a weekend trade request by Corvo created a spot.

“Once we talked about moving Joe, it moved us back into the free agent market,” said Rutherford. “We feel (Kaberle) is one of the top puck-moving defenseman in the league.”

The Hurricanes’ GM said that he did not feel as though his hands were tied by Corvo’s request, but rather that he felt it was the best outcome for all parties given the circumstances.

“It wasn’t a demanding request,” said Rutherford. “It was more of a general analysis of where he’s at and where he fit in. I think it was a little bit about where he was in his career and his contract status.”

Corvo, who recently turned 34, has one year left on a deal that will pay him $2.5 million next season. Kaberle’s contract, a three-year pact that will pay him an average of $4.25 million, presents a budgetary increase for the Canes, but one they could afford with the recent departure of Erik Cole to Montreal.

Previoulsy, Rutherford had mentioned potentially using that space to trade for a forward to help replace Cole. That could still happen down the line, but it would appear that the recent signings of Alexei Ponikarovsky and Anthony Stewart, as well as the possible ascension of a handful of the team’s forward prospects, have put such a move on hold for the time being.

“We’ll see when the time comes around,” said Rutherford. “With some of our young guys and the addition of Anthony Stewart, this was not something I was going to rush. We may wait until the season starts and then see if we need to make a move then.”

Kaberle, whose brother Frantisek was a member of the Hurricanes' 2006 Stanley Cup team, is one of several former Toronto Maple Leafs now in the organization, joining Ponikarovsky, Tim Brent, Jay Harrison and Jiri Tlusty. With the exception of Brent, all played for Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice during their time in Toronto.

“(Maurice) obviously has a comfort level with Tomas and they really get along well,” said Rutherford.

The day’s moves leave the Hurricanes with seven defensemen that are expected to be under one-way contracts next season. Rutherford said that the only one of those currently without a deal in hand, restricted free agent Derek Joslin, filed for arbitration on Tuesday but that he did not predict that would be a major stumbling block in getting a deal done.

“He’s our player now,” said Rutherford. “It’s just a matter of if we settle or pay him what the arbitrator says.”


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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 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