Kaberle, McCabe, or Kubina

15 million dollars is a lot of money. Its roughly 30% of the leafs cap room. 30% of the Leafs cap room is taken up by 3 defensemen. 3 top pairing defensemen. So whenever the Leafs find themselves short on cap space, trading one of these three often becomes a popular option.

McCabe 5.75 million dollar cap hit
Kubina 5 million dollar cap hit
Kaberle 4.25 million dollar cap hit

Its funny how things change. A year ago, Kaberle re-signed with the Leafs for 4.25 million dollars. Leaf fans everywhere are calling this a bad deal, saying “all he does is feed McCabe the puck.” Now he is the number 1 guy on the blueline, at a very good price. Kaberle has a no trade clause, and is untouchable on the Leafs.

McCabe had a great post lockout season. By December many thought he would win the Norris Trophy. He even got to play for team Canada at the Olympics. However, a slight drop in scoring, and a few defensive miscues later Leaf fans want him out. He has a family in Toronto and a No-trade clause. A deadly combination, if you want to trade him.

Many considered Kubina’s post lockout campaign to be an “off year”. However, he proved that not to be the case, with another dismal season in Toronto. He has no weak qualities, he’s an above average point man, above average skater, above average hitter, above average defensively… but at the end of the day, he has no quality that he excells at. He has a heifty 5 million dollar salary, that will make him tough to trade.

I am interested to hear what others think about the leafs defensive situation. Here is what I think:

Puck Mover:
1. Kaberle- one of the best players with the puck in the NHL today
2. McCabe- good first pass out of the defensive zone, but has a tendancy to give away the puck in the offensive zone.
3. Kubina- doesn’t have much touch, often sends passes flying past the intended reciever, which makes him a better goal scorer.

Point Shot:
1. McCabe- If he doesn’t score himself, he deflects his shots off something in front of the net.
2. Kubina- Can shoot high low, glove side, stick side, all with high velocity.
3. Kaberle- He gets most of his shots though, problem is he never shoots.

Hitting:
1. McCabe- Is a very capable hitter, but slightly too capable of going to the penalty box.
2. Kubina- No where near physical enough, for a big guy.
3. Kaberle- No, he doesn’t hit. but he doesn’t have to, because no one can hit him.

Skating:
1. Kaberle- Keeps his feet moving, rarely gets beaten 1 on 1
2. McCabe- Rarely gets beaten 1 on 1, but sometimes stops moving his feet and has trouble catching up with the play.
3. Kubina- Awkward skating style, but he’s a fairly mobile guy

Overall, Kubina is the weakest of the three, and is also the most tradeable. He is overpaid, but 5 million doesn’t look so bad when you consider Timonen makes 6.2 mil, and Redden 6.5.