Cross Checks: Jaroslav Spacek

Pierre LeBrun heard from one team executive that the Sabres are asking for a first-round pick for Paul Gaustad. "Crazy price,'' the GM says.

Meanwhile, Scott Burnside spoke to Stephen Freyer, who is Jaroslav Spacek's agent; the veteran defenseman has a limited no-trade clause that includes a list of 15 teams to which he would agree to be moved. But as Freyer pointed out, while a team might not be on the list, that doesn't mean it would preclude Spacek from going there. Spacek is a terrific guy, and people forget how good he was in Edmonton during the Oilers' run to the '06 final and in Montreal a couple of years ago.

Habs take big gamble on Tomas Kaberle

December, 9, 2011
We actually had a trade in the NHL on Friday when Carolina and Montreal exchanged old, Czech blueliners with Tomas Kaberle going to the Habs and Jaroslav Spacek to Carolina.

The key here is that Carolina unloaded Kaberle's contract, which calls for two more years after this season at $4.25 million per year. Spacek will be an unrestricted free agent July 1, so the Hurricanes gain financially.

"I can't believe Jim Rutherford was able to unload that contract," said an NHL team executive who requested anonymity.

The Canadiens are gambling that Kaberle can find his old ways and help kick-start a struggling power play. The Habs' power play ranks 28th in the league, and the team is 25th in goals per game.

Kaberle has actually played some of the better games in his career at the Bell Centre (26 points in 32 games), but that version of Kaberle hasn't been seen in a few years. He didn't play well for Boston last spring and has been terrible for the Canes this season. He has nine points in 29 games to go along with a multitude of defensive miscues.

If the gamble doesn't pay off, you have Canadiens GM Pierre Gauthier possibly adding another bad contract to a payroll that already has Scott Gomez for two more years after this season at $7.3 million per season. And the jury is still out on Andrei Markov's deal (three years, $5.75 million a season), which the blueliner still hasn't played under as he recovers from knee issues.

This was a desperate move by a team in desperation.