One thing about The Hockey News writer Adam Proteau: he never pulls any punches.
Today Bruins free-agent defenseman Tomas Kaberle received a sock from Proteau along with four other prominent UFAs about to hit the market Friday.
In a story entitled “Five free agents you don’t want,” Proteau gives an explanation for why teams should shy away from Kaberle, Tomas Vokoun, Simon Gagne, Sean Bergenhim and Raffi Torres. I think it’s funny that four of the five players were key contributors to teams that reached the NHL final four.
Of Kaberle, Proteau writes:
Anyone who saw Kaberle meander around the rink after being traded from Toronto to Boston knows why I called him Bear Stearns on Twitter; like the now-disgraced Wall St. investment firm, Kaberle lost millions based on his performance with the Bruins. At age 33, he is a shell of what he was during his best days with the Leafs – and his physical play is about as tough as an empty shell.
Of course, as a puck-moving defenseman, Kaberle will receive a number of offers. But remember, whatever he giveth on offense, he taketh away in his own zone. If your GM winds up giving him more than three years and/or $3 million per season, you have every right to question your GM’s judgment and/or sanity.
I can understand Proteau warning teams not to commit too much term and cash to Kaberle. At 33 (he’ll be 34 by next year’s playoffs), he’s definitely on the downward portion of his career. However, I disagree that he would hurt a team defensively as much as he would help offensively. In a solid defensive system and playing with a solid goaltender behind him — think the Bruins, Devils, Kings, Penguins — Kaberle could succeed and be a much better contributor than he showed in his stint with Boston.
Nonetheless, there are probably better options for teams that don’t want to be on the hook for Kaberle in the second half of a deal longer than three years or have the depth in their organization to go younger and take their chances (the Bruins might fall in this category).