When the Bruins shipped prospect Joe Colborne, a first-round pick and conditional second-round pick (which became part of the trade after they reached the Stanley Cup Final) to Toronto in February, they didn’t think they were acquiring a third-pair defenseman.
So in that way, Tomas Kaberle was a bit of a failure for Boston.
But in the grand scheme of things, Kaberle did his part to help the team win the Cup. The Bruins needed a veteran to bolster their defense corps and make sure that an injury wouldn’t sidetrack their championship hopes. When you consider that in the playoffs Adam McQuaid went down and Steven Kampfer wasn’t available until late in the run, the Bruins needed Kaberle to prevent them from having digging too deep into their organization for help.
A full year in Boston and in the Bruins’ system might help Kaberle better meet his expectations, but the Bruins might decide to not give him that chance. Kaberle might not go down as part of the Bruins’ championship folklore, but he played his part in the magical run.
Regular season: (with Boston) 24 GP, 1-8-9, plus-6
Playoffs: 25 GP, 0-11-11, plus-8
Contract status: Scheduled UFA July 1
Best regular-season moment: The Bruins sent Montreal a message about who the best team in the Northeast Division was with a 7-0 blowout March 24. That night, Kaberle, who famously never saw a shot he couldn’t pass up, actually scored his first and only goal in a Bruins sweater. The goal put Boston ahead, 6-0, and made Kaberle a bigger part of the Bruins’ late-season push.
Best playoff moment: The Bruins staved off elimination June 13 in Game 6 of the Cup Final, and Kaberle was at his playmaking best with two assists — one on a Michael Ryder goal and the other on a rare David Krejci power-play score.
Worst moment: It was the play that had almost everyone ready to run Kaberle out of town. With the Bruins on the way to blowing a 3-0 lead and dropping Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final to Tampa Bay, Kaberle was knocked off the puck by Sean Bergenheim in the corner of the Boston zone before Bergenheim tied the score seconds later.
Regular-season grade: B
Playoff grade: B-minus
Carnac predicts … after the dust settles on the signing of some of the bigger-name free agents, Kaberle comes back to Boston for a few years at around $3 million per season.