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Numbers Game: Kaberle to Carolina; Corvo to Boston

Scott Cullen
7/5/2011 5:49:53 PM
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Though it wasn't technically a trade, the Carolina Hurricanes and Boston Bruins effectively swapped puck-moving defencemen in two separate transactions.

Numbers Game looks at the Tomas Kaberle signing and Joe Corvo trade.

The Hurricanes Get: D Tomas Kaberle and a fourth-round pick.

Kaberle, 33, is getting a chance to re-unite with former Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Paul Maurice in Carolina and perhaps rebuild a reputation that took a beating after he arrived in Boston.

Even though the Bruins won the Cup, and Kaberle had a respectable 11 points and plus-8 rating in 25 playoff games, his role decreased dramatically when it was apparent that he wasn't the solution on the Boston power play and he was continually losing battles for the puck in his own end. Consider that Kaberle played more than 20 minutes in three of Boston's first five playoff games, against Montreal, then his ice time really took a hit, down to a playoff-low 9:14 in the Cup-clincher.

The harsh glare of the playoff spotlight didn't reflect well on Kaberle, yet a three-year, $12.75-million contract indicates that even if there was a perception that his value had gone down, his cap hit remains at the same level that it was on his last contract.

Kaberle certainly had his shortcomings exposed in the playoffs, but that doesn't mean he can't be a productive power play quarterback in Carolina. He has at least 25 power play points, and 47 total points, in five of the last six seasons.

Even if it didn't work in Boston, Kaberle has enough of a track record as a puck-moving defenceman that he should be able to contribute for Carolina.

Whether he can continue to play 22-plus minutes per game, as he has for the last 11 seasons, is really the question when it coems to the relative value of Kaberle's contract.

If he's able to do it into his mid-30s, then the cost won't be too bad -- about the going rate for a top four defenceman. If his playoff decline wasn't an aberration but, rather, a sign of things to come, then as a third-pair defenceman who can help on the PP, he wouldn't be providing very good value on his deal.

The Bruins Get: D Joe Corvo.

Corvo is a 34-year-old who has been an enigma at times throughout his career, sometimes giving up as many chances as he creates, but he also had a career-high 23 power play points and played 24:46 per game last season, so he'll get a shot at helping on the Bruins power play. He has the skating ability and heavy right-handed shot from the point to think that his skill set is suitable for the job.

With more than 37 points in five of his last six seasons, Corvo is an accomplished puck-moving defenceman. He doesn't have a track record as long or as distinguished as Kaberle's but, at this point, he's established his credentials as a defenceman that can play big minutes.

Where Boston really makes out here is financially. Giving up a fouth-round pick to Carolina to get Corvo is hardly any cost whatsoever, in terms of assets, and Corvo is going into the last year of a deal that comes at a reasonable $2.5-million cap hit.

Consider, if Corvo was made available at next year's trade deadline, as a rental, he'd surely bring more than a fourth-round pick from a team needing an upgrade on the blueline and the Bruins have him for the whole season.

Having already seen that Kaberle wasn't a great fit, the Bruins scored a real coup by getting his replacement and a couple million dollars of cap space this year (to say nothing of the commitment -- the two addtional years for which Kaberle is signed). It almost makes up for the premium that the Bruins paid to get Kaberle in a trade from Toronto, but that's another story.

If Kaberle returns to form in Carolina, the Hurricanes may not regret the deal, but the Bruins already don't regret it because they got a bargain in Corvo and he just might be able to bring what the Bruins hoped they were getting when they dealt for Kaberle in the first place.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.




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