Update: Noon has come and gone with no takers. Kaberle stays on the roster, and the Canes will need him tomorrow night. Niclas Wallin appeared to suffer a setback at today's practice when his outstretched ankle was hit hard into the boards and he pulled up in obvious pain before leaving the ice. He was in full-contact mode after spending the last several days in gold.
The Hurricanes are waiting until noon Tuesday to see if another team claims Frank Kaberle on waivers.
Jim Rutherford thinks that’s a possibility based on his discussions with other teams, but there are a number of factors that go into the decision.
“There’s interest from teams looking for D,” said Rutherford. “But some teams are up against the cap and don’t have room, while other teams that have room under the cap aren’t in a position to add more salary.”
Based on Kaberle’s age (35), contract ($2.2 million until the end of next season) and recent injury history (24 games missed this year), it’s not a certainty by any means that he’ll be picked in today’s NHL. Some good players have passed through waivers throughout this season with no takers due to financial constraints around the league, and Kaberle could fall into that category.
If he does go unclaimed, he’ll stick with the Hurricanes, as Rutherford said the team has no plans to assign him to Albany as they eventually did with Josef Melichar in a similar situation earlier this season.
As for why Kaberle was placed on waivers (besides saving salary), Rutherford said that the team now has other players who can do for the team what he used to do back when he scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal in 2006.
“Frank’s role that he played when he was so good for us has diminished,” said Rutherford, citing fellow defenseman Joe Corvo, Joni Pitkanen and Dennis Seidenberg, who have all contributed offensively this season. “We also have some depth guys in Albany that can come back in when we need them.”
At the start of the season and after a run of good health, Kaberle looked like he might be enjoying a return to the form he had back in 2005-06, but was slowed by two leg injuries that caused him to miss time while the aforementioned blueliners solidified their spots in the Canes’ top six.
“He had a really good camp and start to the season, but injuries set him back,” said Rutherford. “Frank is still a good player.”