TSN is reporting that Tomas Kaberle of the Montreal Canadiens has been placed on waivers. The assumption is that it gives the Habs some flexibility to make moves with the season winding down, not necessarily that he will be sent down to the AHL. As you should know, if he clears, the Habs have 30 days to move him down, should they choose to do so.
What you all may be thinking is, "Should the Wild put in a claim?"
We don't often do this here at Hockey Wilderness, because most players placed on waivers have little to no value and the rubes are asking if the Wild will claim them simply because of some silly tie back to Minnesota. The answer, 99.9% of the time, is "Hell no. You're an idiot for even asking." This time around, it warrants a bit of a look.
Three points in 10 games played this season
+4 on the year
11 Blocked shots
It is a bit of a stretch looking for numbers for Kaberle, as he missed some time after taking a puck to the face in practice, and now finding himself scratched on a regular basis. Those healthy scratches have to tie into the return of P.K. Subban, but without confirmation of a source in the know, it is impossible to say for certain.
The numbers are truly disappointing for a guy like Kaberle, who has been a power play type guy for most of his career, and topped out at 67 points in the 2005-06 season. Please note that was seven years ago. His numbers have dwindled since then, dropping to a still respectable 31 points (3G, 28A) last season in time with the Hurricanes and Habs.
Notes to Consider
He has always been considered a power play specialist, but absolutely not an elite type.
He can play solid defense, but as an offensive minded guy, he is prone to gaffes, so would need a steady defensive partner for regular shifts.
He is a left handed shot, and a second pairing type player. This is something the Wild desperately need right now.
The safe bet is that Kaberle clears waivers. His $4.25 million / year deal still has next season tacked on to it, which for 31 points might be acceptable this year, with the steep drop, it is going to be inflated next year. The Wild, at the moment, have the cap space to claim him, but that would push them over the cap when factoring out the bonus cushion. That is an option, but not one you want to take unless you know for certain it is worth it.
After he clears waivers, maybe a trade can be found that settles the need to find cap space. A Pierre-Marc Bouchard for Kaberle move? Maybe Chuck Fletcher can weasel a pick to come over with him?
It is all highly unlikely, as Kaberle does have some warts to his game.
What Do You Do?
Making that move (Bouchard for Kaberle) could be made to work for the cap next season, with guys like Niklas Backstrom and Matt Cullen coming off the books. Jason Zucker (though injured now) was red hot playing in Bouchard's place, so losing Butch may not be a huge loss.
It would be nice to see a higher level pick, like a second rounder, come back with Kaberle, but that may be stretching a bit. To be fair, Bouchard is producing and Kaberle really isn't a high value pickup right now, but we all know the downside to Butch, and that could make it a wash.
It's all a pipe dream, but it gives you a chance to play GM. What do you do? Claim Kaberle? Wait to see if he clears and make a trade offer? Ignore the fact that he exists and move on?
Make the call.