Why, at this particular time, is open to speculation. The trade deadline is Wednesday which influences almost every current front office decision.
It was assumed that the Canadiens would exercise their second amnesty buyout at the end of the season to get Kaberle’s salary off their books. That opinion was cemented when Marc Bergevin elected to ignore Kaberle and replace the injured Raphael Diaz and Yannick Weber with Greg Pateryn, Jarred Tinordi and now Nathan Beaulieu, all rookie professionals in Hamilton.
Diaz future is up in the air as his concussion takes it’s own time healing. The removal of Kaberle could pave the way for a trade deadline move for a defenceman. There are plenty of them available if Marc Bergevin wants to pull the trigger on a deal of some sort.
On the other side, it’s hard to imagine anyone claiming him but anything is possible. Kaberle has produced some fascinating number over the years and there are a number of teams that think they have a shot at a playoff berth and could use veteran help on defence. The Philadelphia Flyers immediately come to mind. Teams have until noon Sunday to make a decision.
Even if he clears waivers, the Canadiens aren’t required to send him to Hamilton. It does however give them that option should the team need some salary cap space leading up to the trade deadline
Kaberle has been a healthy scratch the last ten Canadiens games dating back to March 5th against the Islanders. He’s played in a total of ten games
The main complaint about Kaberle is his lack of physical presence and pursuit in his own end which runs contrary to what Michel Therrien wants from his players, especially his defencemen. The strength of his game lies in his accurate passing and his ability to move the puck. He has value on the power play.
Kaberle has one year remaining on the three year contract that he signed with Carolina. The final year calls for 4.5 million dollars. The cap hit is 4.25 million.
His season looks like this – GP-10 0-goals, 3 assists, plus-4 11 shots on goal – 11 blocked shots. Healthy scratch 22 games. Missed one game after being hit in the face with a puck.
Maligning Kaberle is in vogue, especially in Montreal, but he has had an interesting career that includes a Stanley Cup with the Bruins two years ago, four All-Star game appearances, an Olympic bronze medal plus a gold and silver at the World Championships. In 984 games with the Canadiens, Carolina, Boston and Toronto he has 87 goals and476 assists.