Andre Markov’s misfortune was Carolina GM Jim Rutherford’s gain.
Rutherford made a huge mistake signing defenseman Tomas Kaberle to a big free agency deal. Kaberle continued the listless play that confounded the Bruins last spring.
Surely there was no way the Hurricanes could offload Kaberle’s contract, right?
Wrong. With the hard-luck Markov needed addition recovery time after another knee operation, the Canadiens needed some offensive help on the blue line. The Habs were desperate, in fact, given their generally substandard play.
So Rutherford was able to dump Kaberle and his remaining contract – more than 2 ½ years at $4.25 million per – to Montreal for defenseman Jaroslav Spacek and his expiring contract.
Whew! That is gigantic payroll relief, which helps Rutherford save face with his owners and possible position himself for another trade to juice his team.
As for the Habs, they earned this rebuke from Edmonton Journal scribe Jim Matheson: "Can't imagine the Habs' pro scouts in unison said "we have to have this Kaberle" after watching him. This is all on GM Pierre Gauthier."