When the NHL off-season turned into free agent season, there must have been some uneasiness among Boston's management about Tomas Kaberle.
Kaberle, an unrestricted free agent, wanted an expensive long-term contract.
I will admit that Kaberle started to play better towards the end of the Stanley Cup Finals, but his defensive mistakes overshadowed any of his contributions to the offense.
He lost too many defensive-zone battles and made costly turnovers. He was looked upon as a soft player who brought his bad habits from Toronto with him to Boston.
Now, it doesn't matter. Boston can rest easy now that Tomas Kaberle will not be returning next season in a Bruins sweater. Kaberle signed a three-year deal with the Carolina Hurricanes for $12.75 million.
With Kaberle going to Carolina, that left Hurricanes Joe Corvo on the block. Carolina then dealt Corvo to Boston for a 2012 fourth-round draft pick. This looks to be a significant upgrade and at a much better price.
No More Kaberle Give-Aways
Teddy Purcell took the puck from Kaberle and made it 3-0 after scoring on the rebound from the first shot attempt.
After the game, Kaberle made a comment about Purcell not taking the puck from him. He said something to the effect that the puck slid off his stick blade while trying to make a move.
You're right, Kaberle, Purcell didn't take it from you, he took it from the spot on the ice where you left it.
That was not the only time that a goal was scored off of a Tomas Kaberle gaffe. I remember a few times where this happened during the 24 regular season games he played in and the 25 playoff matches.
The Boston Bruins will do much better not having to worry about Kaberle mishandling the puck in their own zone.
No More Kaberle Power Plays
Kaberle was brought to Boston to lead the Bruins power play. During the Bruins playoff run to the finals, Kaberle only had three points during their 10-for-88 power play.
The three points came off zero goals and three assists. It seemed that he didn't want to shoot the puck on the power play. Instead of opting to shoot, he would make multiple fake shot attempts then pass it off, even with an open lane to the goal.
Meanwhile, Joe Corvo had 23 points on five goals and 18 assists, with one being a short-handed goal and another being a game winner.
Corvo, a right-handed shot, has 36 power play goals for his career. That is five more than Kaberle has and in 334 fewer games.
Bringing in Corvo can only be seen as an upgrade to the defense position.
They'll Finally Get Another Physical Defenseman
The Boston Bruins are a very physical team. That is how they won the Stanley Cup Finals against the Vancouver Canucks.
That being said, Tomas Kaberle only had nine hits and two minutes in penalties for the Bruins in 2011. To be a Bruins defenseman, or player for that matter, you need to have a physical presence.
Without an intimidation factor (the fear of being hit), opposing players won't be worried to hold onto the puck a few seconds longer to make a better play if Kaberle is on the line.
That physical presence is why most opposing players make mistakes. They feel the pressure of the defender, and if they know that defender is physical, they will rush the play and make mistakes.
That is the type of defender that Boston needs, one who plays with a high level of physicality. Corvo had 55 hits and 19 penalty minutes last season, significantly more than Kaberle.
They'll Finally Get Another Offensive-Minded Defenseman
Kaberle scored nine points on one goal and eight assists for the Boston Bruins in 2011. Granted, he only played 24 games.
While playing for Toronto in 58 games, Kaberle scored 38 points on three goals and 35 assists. Out of those 35 assists, 22 came on the power play.
So, where was that when he came to Boston? I think he was so worried about making a good impression that he focused too much on his defense.
That kind of one-dimensional play was not what Boston wanted and it diminished his offensive capabilities.
With Kaberle gone from Boston, the Bruins can now make sure they get this decision right, instead of trading for a player in mid-season hoping it works out.
Enter Joe Corvo, who on 191 shots had 40 points last season with 11 goals and 29 assists.
Besides, how can you go wrong with a defenseman wearing No. 77? Does the name Ray Bourque ring any bells?
More Money for More Talent
Tomas Kaberle wanted a three-year-deal with the Bruins. He also wanted over $12 million for his defunct services.
By not signing Kaberle to the three years that he wanted and letting him go, Boston was able to sign defenseman Joe Corvo to a one-year deal for $2 million.
By doing so, the Bruins management was able to save another $2 million to be used for other talent that will be helpful to them.
Talent like Brad Marchand, who Boston is still in negotiations with. Who's to say they would have been able to do that if they kept Kaberle? Marchand is worth more (talent wise) than Kaberle is.
The likely scenario is that they'll keep the extra money for the trading season to start and see who they can snatch up.
Better Special Teams Unit
According to an SB Nation author, Nicholas Smith:
The addition of Corvo to the Bruins creates perfect symmetry on the blue line. There are now three left-handers and three right-handers.
There’s such an enormous difference between Kaberle's and Corvo's short-handed ability that it deserves to be mentioned.
Corvo averaged 2:42 of short-handed time per game last year, posting pretty good numbers. On the other hand Kaberle averaged :25 seconds per game.
Having a reliable short-handed defenseman who can easily transition defense into offense is extremely valuable to any team.
The Bruins were third in short-handed goals last year and first in the playoffs. Corvo's addition makes the special teams unit even more dangerous.