This season, much like the last few, brought plenty of trade speculation involving then Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Tomas Kaberle.
With the Leafs' playoff position unsure, and Kaberle in the final year of his deal, most people figured this would be the season where Leafs GM Brian Burke finally pulls the trigger. As an established offensive defenseman, Kaberle drew attention from many teams around the NHL as the missing piece to a possible Stanley Cup run—a leader on the defensive end and a powerplay quarterback.
On February 18th, 2011, Kaberle's tenure with the Leafs came to an end as he was dealt to their Northeast Division rivals, the Boston Bruins.
The price for Kaberle was very steep, as Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli sent prospect Joe Colborne—Boston's original first round draft pick—and a second round draft pick to Toronto in exchange for the offensive defenseman.
Despite the Bruins nearly mortgaging their future, they were looked at as one of the favorites—if not THE favorite—to win the 2011 Stanley Cup.
The Bruins were so eager to get Kaberle in the lineup, that they even traded for him whilst in Canada so he could join the team immediately for that night's game in Ottawa. Kaberle was to be looked at as the new offensive leader on the Boston blue-line, and the the player who would run the powerplay from there on out.
Unfortunately, things did not work out as expected for Kaberle in Boston.
In the 24 regular season games he played as a Bruin, he managed only a single goal. However, Kaberle is not known as a goal scorer, only tallying more than 10 in a season three times in his career. Instead, he's known as a first rate passer. Even then, he managed only eight assists in that time.
However, a player still can run an efficient powerplay without putting up points, but this also was not the case for Kaberle.
Since putting on a Bruins jersey for the first time, the team's powerplay went only 7-of-67—just over 10 percent. Still, the Bruins managed to win in spite of powerplay struggles and Kaberle's failure to manufacture offense from the blue-line.
Kaberle has been no better in the playoffs, managing only three assists through nine games so far. The powerplay has struggled even more in the post-season, with the Bruins failing to capitalize on the powerplay even once on 27 chances.
Kaberle has been an even bigger disappointment when you consider what the Bruins gave to acquire him.
Joe Colborne is only 20 years old and has the size some players dream of at 6'5", with his weight just beginning to fill in. The Bruins' first round draft pick (late first round) is still an extremely valuable commodity in the draft. Kaberle is likely a rental, so if the Bruins do not win the Stanley Cup, they'd better hope Colborne and whomever the Leafs end up selecting do not come back to haunt them in the future.
The Bruins currently lead the Philadelphia Flyers two games to none in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. However, the deeper they advance into the playoffs, the harder goals will be to come by. An efficient powerplay can make all the difference, and in Boston, Tomas Kaberle has failed to deliver.
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