A recent post in which I argued that Kaberle is not a top 10 defenseman in the NHL generated some controversy amongst you readers. Well I’ve got news for you, I stand by the statement. Kaberle is not a top 10 defenseman in the NHL right now and here is the criteria by which I make that claim: the “ranking” of a defenseman is equivalent to the order in which I would like them on my team.
In other words, if he’s one of the top 10 defensemen that I would select to build my team around, or add to my existing team, then he’s a top 10 defenseman. By that standard, Kaberle fails. Maybe the title of this post is a bit of hyperbole, but hell, this is an online blog right? If we weren’t hyperbolic, we’d be writing for a real newspaper! Here are a couple of reasons I think Kaberle is overrated.
1. Ten defensemen more valuable than Kaberle: Drew Doughty, Duncan Keith, Chris Pronger, Nicklas Lidstrom, Zedno Chara, Mike Green, Dan Boyle, Brent Seabrook, Shea Weber, Ryan Suter, Brooks Orpik, Anton Volchenkov, Sergei Gonchar. Oh was that 13? Bummer. There are at least a few more, but I stopped when I got bored of writing names down. You might nit pick with some of those players, but frankly I don’t think there’s much argument.
2. He’s been in the + side of the +/- stat every season except one since the lockout. That’s not an impressive statistic, and while I’ll certainly acknowledge that the +/- stat isn’t the most telling figure, it is clearly an important element that has at least some weight when looking at the defensive play for a player.
3. Kaberle has won a fat lot of nothing in his entire career. With the exception of the 2005 World Championships (and seriously, who counts that joke of a tournament?), Kaberle has done precisely nothing to prove that he can win when it counts. To be fair, he has played with the god-awful Maple Leafs during his time in the NHL, but other epic defensemen in the NHL have had a more real impact on their teams fortunes. Lidstrom, Pronger (yuk), Neidermayer, Stevens… these guys have Cups to their name, and in some cases carried awful teams on their backs to significant wins. Kaberle? Not so much.
If that wasn’t enough of a reason, I’ll go even further and say that the Los Angeles Kings have legitimate needs, and Kaberle would fill… wait for it… none of them. This is of course not to say that he’s a useless player, but he generally does not fit in with this team as it stands. Our plethora of puck-moving defenseman (including one of the best in the game in Doughty), not to mention our defensive pipeline is chock full of that style player means he just doesn’t fit. Add to the the fact that he’s got one year remaining on a contract, and by all accounts doesn’t want to play on the West Coast, meaning he’s effectively a rental… unless he’s coming effectively free, forget about it. The alleged price of a top prospect AND a 1st round pick is absurd under those conditions.
Disclaimer. Before you all lose your collective minds, Kaberle doesn’t ACTUALLY suck. He’s a pretty good defenseman, and certainly if he’ll come our way for a song, I’ll take him and be happy about it. But he’s not the missing piece to get us to a Cup. He’s just not one of the top 10 players that I’d have on my team. Feel free to make your points to the contrary below.
Tags: Anton Volchenkov Brent Seabrook Brooks Orpik Chris Pronger Dan Boyle Drew Doughty Duncan Keith Los Angeles Kings Mike Greene Nicklas Lidstrom Ryan Suter Scott Stevens Sergei Gonchar Shea Weber Tomas Kaberle Toronto Maple Leafs Zedno Chara