The new Montreal Canadiens regime has been quick to its make-over of a squad that made the playoffs last year — earning a No. 2 seed — but saw swift management changes immediately after being bounced from the first round. Time will tell whether it was for the better and the organization is wasting no time in shaping the new vision.
Tomas Kaberle, the team’s 35-year-old defenseman who would have made over $4 million next season, has been hit with the Canadiens’ second and final compliance buyout. Montreal had traded for Kaberle in 2011, but that was under previous general manager Pierre Gauthier.
“History shows that free agency isn’t the best tool,” Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said recently, via the Montreal Gazette. “Free agency to me is a tool but it’s not a way to make your team a top team. It’s overplayed. You have to be careful. … When you’re at (No. 25), you’re sitting at the back of the bus. We have two early second-round picks at 34 and 36, and we should find some players there.”
Kaberle played 10 games this season and recorded no goals along with 10 assists. The loss seems like an extremely sensible move for Montreal moving forward as they remain rather strong at that end of the rink.
“The move leaves the Habs with some flexibility heading into free agency, with $9 million in cap space and only three roster spots to fill,” opined Ian Murray in SB Nation’s Habs blog. “While this year’s free agent class is generally unimpressive, and Marc Bergevin has stated his preference to build through avenues other than the early July free-for-all, he now has his affairs in order should he decide to pull the trigger on a free agent signing or offseason trade.”