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Canes trade Kaberle to Canadiens

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The Carolina Hurricanes traded defenseman Tomas Kaberle to the Montreal Canadiens for defenseman Jaroslav Spacek, general manager Jim Rutherford said today.

Spacek, 37, had been on injured reserve with an upper-body injury but has been cleared and will play for the Canes tonight against the Winnipeg Jets, Rutherford said.

Kaberle signed a three-year, $12.75 million free-agent contract with the Canes July 5 but has mostly been a disappointment on the blue line this season. Kaberle, a former All-Star with the Toronto Maple Leafs, was traded by the Leafs to the Boston Bruins last season and was a part of the Bruins' Stanley Cup run.

"I should have known better," Rutherford said. "Tomas is a player who has had a very good career but I should have known better in the sense of where he was in his career. He won the Stanley Cup, he had a short summer and at the start of training camp and the start of the season he was not where he needed to be (physically).

"He has not done as well as expected, just as the team has not done as well as expected. He has played better the last couple of weeks. But to have flexibility next year without his contract is important to us."

In 29 games with the Canes, Kaberle had no goals and nine assists and a minus-12 rating. He did have a pair of assists in each of the last two games.

Rutherford said his preference would have been to trade Kaberle for a forward but said "there was not a deal out there that could be made for Kaberle."

Spacek was in his third season with the Habs and has played 12 games this season, with no goals and three assists. He is due to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

"He's been around a long time and is a capable guy," Rutherford said. "We'll see how it goes."

Spacek is needed tonight with defensemen Joni Pitkanen and Jay Harrison out with upper-body injuries. Rutherford said Pitkanen has been sent back to Raleigh and will miss Tuesday's game in Toronto.

"We're just being cautious with Joni," Rutherford said. "It's not a long-term injury."

Canes coach Kirk Muller played a season with Spacek with the Florida Panthers in 1998-1999. Muller also was an assistant coach at Montreal the past five seasons.

Rutherford said Muller had some input into the decision but noted, "The bottom line was moving Kaberle's contract."

Spacek played against the Canes in the 2006 Stanley Cup finals as a member of the Edmonton Oilers. He was a fifth-round draft pick by the Panthers in 1998 and made his NHL debut that season for Florida.

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Tripp Tracy

Anyone catch Tripp's comment while the camera was on coach Muller?  Hilarious!

Green men

They were way more distracting than skinny guys in green suits!

This game is painful...

Watching the Jets manhandle our Canes...Let the fire sale begin! If your name isn't Jeff Skinner or Cam Ward then you are available for trade in my opinion.

Not enough talent. Not enough heart. No emotion. No confidence. No effort. I just don't get it. 

Good for Ward to give the "team" and earful when he got pulled. They should be ashamed of the way they left him out to dry. And I have usually been a staunch Staal supporter, but he is showing ZERO leadership.  

Glad Kaberle and his contract are gone, but it is the first of many changes neede to right this ship. 

Time to blow it up.

What else did it cost?

I will bet there was something else.  Did JR trade away another winner albeit older? Just wondering...A Younger? Just Wondering..  No way an even deal...A former Hurricane?  Pitkanen needs to go also. 

Straight Up.

Straight trade.  If the Habs crater this year this deal with be the death of their GM.

03/30/12

Kaberle bobblehead night should be interesting. Think Montreal got those as part of the trade?

Spacek is paid almost as

Spacek is paid almost as much as Kaberle, but the big difference between the two (besides productivity) is that Spacek's contract expires in June. JR can re-sign him or not, based on what other deals are done this season and what the talent pool looks like for next season. In fact, half our top six D (Gleason, Allen, Spacek) will be UFA at season's end -- assuming they're not rented out for the playoffs. 

 It seems that for the

 It seems that for the first time (that I can recall) Mr. Rutherford took aim at the proper target when he fell on his sword about the Kaberle acquisition with such contrite phrases as "I should have known better," among others. Who else could he blame? Maurice is gone!

Yes sir, you should have known better! Thanks for taking responsibility...for once...instead of blaming short pay talent for not moving the team forward.

So let those boys from Charlotte have a chance to prove themselves; let's find out who among them is NHL caliber, who needs more seasoning and whom do we try to package with the Hurricane players that will almost certainly be shopped.

Unlikely we will make the playoffs so we should begin strategic maneuvers now for next season. There are only a handful of players who obviously should not be considered trade bait. OK Mr. Rutherford, the ball is truly in your court now, Let's see what you do with it.

Good luck.

  

Charlotte

I am doubtful that there is top 6 talent in Charlotte. 

We've been waiting for Dalpe, Bowman, Boychuk for a long time to move up permanently and if they can't make this team by January as permanent fixtures (with PM gone) then the cupboard is indeed bare.  Also, we should give Nash, Matsumoto, and Samson a look (again).  It's time to give these guys a shot on the first two lines, but I believe we have determined that they are AHLers.

Who May be Next to Go

The Kaberle trade is a great start.  I think if instead of Kaberle Jim Rutherford had signed a top six forward who fit on the first line to replace Cole, Maurice would still be coaching the Hurricanes.  As it is, the Hurricanes have turned the page and Muller is a great choice to get the Hurricanes to the next level.

  The next trades are going to be painful in the sense that Jim Rutherford is going to need to change the direction of the team.  He has a choice to make.  He can trade Ponikarovsky, Stewart, Allen, and Spacek.  If he goes that route, then the familar faces remain.  Jim Rutherford has to depend on a trade or UFA acquistion, Dalpe, Boychuk, or Rask, along with the first round pick in the 2012 draft, to fill the top six spots.

  On the other hand,  Jim Rutherford could trade Gleason, Spacek, and LaRose (and conceivably Dwyer).  If he goes that direction, the team again depends on a trade or UFA acquistion, Dalpe, Boychuk, or Rask, along with the first round pick in the 2012 draft, to fill the top six spots; but some of the leadership on the team changes.  The Hurricanes also are less of a small, skilled team and more of a big-bodied, net presence team.  Gleason and LaRose are definitely men of character and have been leaders on and off the ice.  Can Gleason be re-signed or will it be another Whitney or Cole situation where the player leaves with no compensation to the team?  Is LaRose the right fit under Muller on the third or fourth line?  He's on his way toward a 20 goal season and his trade value is  high; but his value to the team as a energy guy on and off the ice is significant.  Still, when paired against the top teams in the new conference, do the Hurricanes need to jettison smallish, under-skilled players? 

Playoffs

With the Canes not having a realistic shot at the playoffs I think you can expect the Canes will trade the players who will become UFAs.  They may resign some of them over the summer, but Rutherford will get his draft picks.  Rutherford traded Francis and Wesley at the deadline, so I don't think he's going to get romantic over Ruutu or Gleason.

The Canes were in the playoff hunt last couple years with Cole and Whitney.

Difference

There was a difference in that both Francis and Wesley were at the end of their careers and the teams that got them were looking for playoff rentals. Francis played 12 regular season ans 12 playoff games for the Leafs and retired. Wes came back for one more year at the bargain price of $1.0Mil for the season. Gleason and Ruutu are still in their primes and looking for their largest contracts to date.

Exactly

Seeing that Gleason and Ruutu are looking for big contracts then the thing to do is either sign them now or trade them at the deadline.  If Rutherford doesn't want too keep Ruutu long term or Ruutu wants to test the market why not unload them at the deadline?  Same goes for Gleason.  

I think the jury is out on both players.  Gleason has not been all that good.  Now if you put him next to stud defenseman, like Seidenberg has in Boston, I'm sure he'll look lots better.  Big money for a guy that has struggled?  Pass.  

Ruutu's scoring has picked up lately.  His physical game is down.  That might be a result of tougher rule enforcement or just because he wants to stay healthy in a contract year.  I can't really blame him for wanting to not get suspended nor get hurt in a big year for him.  Depending upon what Ruutu wants I would withold judgement.

Ruutu and Gleason

My take is that hopefully Jim Rutherford will break out the checkbook for Ruutu and pay him what it takes to retain him.  The Hurricanes are weak at right wing.  Losing Ruutu is going to hurt badly on the physicality scale.  Gleason has been excellent before, but last year and at times this year, he's had some less than outstanding moments.  I think he is still nursing a bad back. I assume Jim Rutherford will trade Gleason at the deadline.  What's your take?  Which UFAs do you believe Jim Rutherford will trade and which ones will he re-sign?

Amen!

'Bout time we unloaded that lardo.  Not sure what JR was thinking based on Kaberle's performance in the playoffs, especially what he was willing to pay for him..  Maybe he thought he would flourish under the program like his brother did.  Just glad he was able to unload him. Worth the draft pick to dump the salary.

Cash?

Do they have to report any cash involved in a deal?  If the Canes didn't have to give up any cash that was a great deal!  It wouldn't matter if Spacek doesn't play all year if the Hurricanes could unload Kaberle and his horrible deal.  

Great deal.  Anything Spacek offers on the ice is gravy.

See 'ya fatty!

No cash

Unlike the NBA, NHL does not allow cash to be allowed in player deals. Only way cash factors in is for buy-outs and re-entry waivers where team first buys out the player and then he signs elsewhere. 

Who is Next

Any comments on who might be next?

I would say the Canes will

I would say the Canes will be activly shopping their UFA defensemen including Spacek, Allen and Gleason.  I don't think a move will be made until Harrison is back.  

I think Ponikarovsky and Stewart would be currently available as well.  

Ruutu will probably go near the deadline.

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About the blogger

A Raleigh native, Chip has worked at the N&O since 1979 and is the Canes beat writer. He can be reached at chip.alexander@newsobserver.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @ice_chip.
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