Let's not beat around the bush here, the Tomas Kaberle signing was a gigantic misfire by Jim Rutherford. He even admitted it himself. The Hurricanes may have almost made the playoffs in 2010-11 but they were still a team that was rebuilding and had a stockpile of defensemen in their farm system, so bringing in Kaberle on a three year deal was a puzzling acquisition to say the least. I do understand that they were looking for a replacement for Joe Corvo and that they didn't know Justin Faulk would be NHL-ready at such a young age, but committing three years and $12.75 mil. to an aging offensive defenseman isn't something that a team in Carolina's position should do.
Hindsight is 20/20, but those who watched Kaberle in Boston and Toronto the last couple of seasons could have told you that his days of being a top-four defender are long gone. He was used as a third pairing defenseman/powerplay specialist with the Bruins during the playoffs last season and wasn't exactly stellar in that role. That isn't the type of player you give $4.25 mil. per year to and it didn't help that he kept Jamie McBain from playing every night.
That being said, it was thought that Kaberle would be somewhat of an upgrade on the powerplay over Corvo and that he could succeed in a protected role at even strength. That wasn't the case at all in Carolina as he struggled to stay afloat for most of the season, found himself in the press box for one game and was eventually traded to Montreal for Jaroslav Spacek. Rutherford managed to bail himself out of Kaberle's contract but just how bad was he in Carolina? His overall underlying numbers actually are not horrible but that viewpoint completely changes when you add some context to the situation. Follow me after the jump to see what I am talking about.