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.

“Let’s Make A Deal”

After the Caps signed Troy Brouwer to a tw0-year deal worth $2.35 mil per season, they find themselves over the salary cap limit by a little less than $2 mil. Thus, everyone knows that a trade or something is coming very soon and with 14 forwards 7 (soon to be 8 ) defensemen currently under contract, the Caps have a couple of spare parts that they can move to make cap space. We are going to need to move at least $4 mil to be able to re-sign Karl Alzner while staying under the salary cap so there’s definitely going to be some moves.

First, before we talk about trading players let’s go through two players who likely will not be healthy to start the season; Tom Poti and Eric Fehr. One option with them is putting them on LTIR (long term injured reserve) once the season starts thus, giving the Capitals a little more leeway with the cap limit and possibly allowing them enough room to keep Alzner for now. The way LTIR works is that Poti and Fehr’s salaries would not come off the books but the Caps would be allowed to exceed the cap limit by Fehr and Poti’s cap hits minus how much cap space they have left to start the season. Poti appears to have not recovered from his “career threatening” groin injury and Fehr had shoulder surgery after the season ended which means that these two are more than likely to miss more than 10 games to start next season, making them eligible to be put on the LTIR and possibly freeing up possibly $4 mil in cap space. That would work well as a temporary fix but the Caps might look to trade some players if they want to have enough space to re-sign Alzner. When looking at the roster, the odd man out could be Jason Chimera.

Chimera didn’t have a good season last year and the signings of Joel Ward and Troy Brouwer (who have a similar role to him, only they do it a lot better) tell me that Chimera might be moved in the upcoming weeks because I do not see where he fits on the roster. Also, his low cap hit of $1.875 mil is something that other teams would be willing to take if they are looking for a third line winger who isn’t depended on for secondary scoring. I’m sure the Caps would be willing to take whatever they can back to gain some salary so what we would get in return for him isn’t that big of an issue for him. I just don’t see where exactly he would fit in the lineup if things stay the way they are, but if Fehr is out for longer than intended then he could stay.

Other players names I’ve heard thrown around in trade rumors are Alex Semin and Mike Green but I think the two are too important for the Caps to trade now even though they take up a lot of cap space. One player who I’ve been thinking of being traded is blue-liner Jeff Schultz. I know he’s not as bad as his play indicated last season but with Hamrlik, Alzner, Carlson, Green, Wideman and Erskine on the blue-liner, where does that leave him? Yes, he’s better than Erskine and possibly Hamrlik but he was given less minutes in the playoffs and some teams looking to shore up their blue-line might be interested in him. Don’t get me wrong, I like Schultz and he has shown to be capable of playing top 2-4 minutes but so can five of the six defenseman I just mentioned and we are going to have 8 blue-liners under contract (counting Poti) at the beginning of the season so one of them has to be moved. If Poti is somehow moved then this becomes null and void but I just think the idea is worth throwing around. As I said earlier, he is pretty decent trade bait as a first round pick and his strong 2009-10 season might have gained him some recognition but he might end up being the odd-man out on defense. He’s due $2.75 mil over the next three seasons, so that might steer some teams away, though but it’s hard to predict anything with the way this off-season is going.

So who do you think might be traded?