The Montreal Canadiens acquired defenceman Tomas Kaberle from the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday in exchange for defenceman Jaroslav Spacek.
This season, Kaberle has nine assists in 29 games with the Hurricanes, including four points in his last two games. He has another two years left on a contract that pays him US$4.25 million a year.
"Offensive players are paid in this league and Mr. Kaberle is an offensive player," Canadiens general manager and executive vice president Pierre Gauthier said. "But that's probably the most desirable asset you have; when you have offensive players."
With Andrei Markov on injured reserve after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery and not expected back for at least another six weeks, Kaberle will be called upon to help out with the power-play.
"We feel we have a good team that's competing very well in many areas," Gauthier said. "We have good goaltending, we have good penalty killing, good five-on-five ... but we need a better power-play and with the absence of Mr. Markov, Mr. Kaberle can help us. And then hopefully Mr. Markov will be back soon and they'll both be together to help the power-play."
Canadiens coach Jacques Martin said he believes Kaberle will provide the dominating power-play presence the team hoped Markov would bring.
"Andrei Markov is our quarterback, but he hasn't played a game yet," said Martin. "If we can get better production out of it, maybe that can make a difference."
Upon hearing of the trade Friday morning, Kaberle said he was shocked to hear the news but welcomed a trade back to a Canadian city where hockey is the number one sport.
"Obviously we weren't in a good situation here in Carolina. We've got only 22 points and we have been struggling the last few games," said Kaberle. "I was shocked but when things aren't going well things are going to happen. It started with the coach and now it's me. I'll just do my best in Montreal and hope that I can fit into the lineup."
After a lengthy career with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Kaberle was dealt to Boston last season and helped the Bruins win a Stanley Cup.
"In Boston, he contributed to the Stanley Cup and was able to integrate himself with a good team very well, so we hope that he can integrate himself to this good club as well," said Gauthier.
Canadiens defenceman Hal Gill played two seasons with Kaberle in Toronto and knows what he can bring.
"In Toronto, he was the guy running the power-play and he's a guy who's smooth with the puck. Hopefully he can come here and feel comfortable and play the way I know he can," said Gill.
Spacek will be back playing with former Canadiens assistant coach Kirk Muller, who is now the head coach in Carolina. Spacek was activated from injured reserve on Friday and Muller expects him to play in Winnipeg.
"This deal brings a solid, veteran defenceman to our team for the remainder of this season and allows us more flexibility with our roster moving forward," Hurricanes president and general manager Jim Rutherford said.
In other news, defenceman Frederic St-Denis was assigned to the AHL's Hamilton Bulldogs on Friday.