(Montreal, QC.) I’m quite sure that after Saturday afternoon’s matinee performance between the Montreal Canadiens and the New Jersey Devils, that there are a few more believers in the Gauthier trade that brought Tomas Kaberle to town.
After announcing that the Habs had negotiated a deal with the Carolina Hurricanes; seeing Joroslav Spacek head south in exchange for the thirty three year old defenseman, there was the typical outcry from the Montreal fan-base. But that anger soon turned to belief as Kaberle got two points in his first outing with the club.
There is no doubt that his performance on the power play was strong. It actually increased the teams overall PP percentage as his first point came on an assist to Max Pacioretty with the man advantage. It wasn’t just the point that stands out, it was his veteran presence on the blue line and his ability to see the play that made a difference to the Habs special teams. It was arguably the best power play performance the team has seen all year.
But it’s not all rainbows and roses, as some might lead you to believe.
On the sole goal that the Devils managed to acquire on this Saturday afternoon, the newly acquired defenseman found himself down low and out of touch. After letting his man away from him, Kaberle collapsed with two other Habs players to the left of Carey Price, and allowed Nick Palmieri to skate unscathed behind the net, only to re-emerge on the other side with a golden opportunity to score.
I’m not going to tell you that this is the make or break game for Kaberle. This is a mere sixty minute prelude to a three year contract. But for all those who are saying that this is the proof that the new “D-Man” was the right move, there is a long way to go before we know the true answer to that question.
Let’s not lose sight of the fact that Spacek also managed to amass two points in his debut with the Hurricanes. Will they be crying the same joy in three weeks? Have we all forgotten how thrilled we all were when Pouliot came over from Minnesota? Turns out Latendresse was a much deeper player than we anticipated, and that Pouliot was a bust.
I’m not saying that Kaberle has no skill, and I’m certainly not equating him to either Pouliot or Latendresse. What I am saying is, that this may be a very costly acquisition. Paying out $4.25M USD for three years for a player that both Boston and Carolina regretted ever signing may come back to haunt us.
As one of my faithful followers has stated, only time will tell. But for me, that time could prove extremely costly in the long haul.