Joe Corvo vs. Tomas Kaberle

The Carolina Hurricanes made their first significant splash in free agency a few days ago by signing long-time Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Tomas Kaberle to a three-year deal worth $12.75 mil. They followed this by trading Joe Corvo to the Boston Bruins for a fourth round pick in next year’s draft. This is the Canes attempt to juice up their sad powerplay a little bit by acquiring a guy who has a strong reputation as a great offensive defenseman and just helped the Bruins win a Stanley Cup only last year. The question is just how much of an improvement is Kaberle over Corvo? Or is he that much of an upgrade at all? While it’s certain that Kaberle will provide improvement on the powerplay for the Canes, there’s a lot of things that Corvo did that make him slightly more valuable than Kaberle might be now, especially when the former’s contract is a lot cheaper.

GP G A P Rating PPG 5v5 TOI/G 5v4 TOI/G 4v5 TOI/G 5v5 OZ%
Kaberle 82 4 43 47 4 0 17.16 3.86 0.28 51.8
Corvo 82 11 29 40 -14 5 17.17 3.86 2.63 49
Zone ∆ 5v5 Corsi 5v5 CorsiRel Qualcomp CorsiQualcomp 5v4 SF/60 5v4 G/60 5v4 A1/60 5v4 A2/60
-2.2 -1.02 0 -0.031 0.234 48.3 0 1.33 2.27
0.3 -1.62 -2.31 0.025 0.646 43 0.95 2.09 1.14

Corvo killed penalties, played tougher minutes against better competition in addition to having better basic stats on the powerplay. Kaberle was better at generating chances on the powerplay but he definitely had problems at even strength and didn’t kill penalties that often. Kaberle was also given heavily sheltered minutes in the playoffs and only played 10-12 minutes a night in Boston as opposed top minutes like he did for most of his career. If that continues in Carolina then there could be problems because Corvo played top 2 minutes there and unless they expect Tim Gleason or Bryan Allen to play  more minutes, which is possible.

Something important to take note of here is that Kaberle seemed to fare better against weak competition than Corvo did against tougher competition but it’s very possible that Corvo might see softer competition in Boston with the depth they have on the blue-line and it might be the opposite with Kaberle in Carolina because the Canes just lost one of their heavy lifters and someone else is going to have to pick up the slack. That guy might have to be Kaberle. Just hope that Kaberle is able to kill penalties like he did two seasons ago and if not, at least the Canes get slightly better on the powerplay but Boston may have gotten a more versatile and slightly better player for half the cost.