Habs acquire defenceman Kaberle from Hurricanes

The Montreal Canadiens have acquired defenceman Tomas Kaberle from the Carolina Hurricanes, the team announced.
Defenceman Tomas Kaberle posted nine assists in 29 games for the Carolina Hurricanes this season. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Montreal Canadiens acquired defenceman Tomas Kaberle from the Carolina Hurricanes, the team announced on Friday.

In exchange for Kaberle, the Habs send defenceman Jaroslav Spacek to the Hurricanes.

Kaberle registered nine assists in 29 games for Carolina this season and was a member of the Boston Bruins’ Stanley Cup championship team last season.

He arrival should boost a power play still missing defenceman Andrei Markov, who was placed on injury reserve following arthroscopic surgery to clean up debris in the knee last Monday.

"Andrei Markov is our quarterback, but he hasn't played a game yet," said Canadiens coach Jacques Martin after the team's practice Friday.

"The power play is a critical part of the game for us. If we can get better production out of it, maybe that can make a difference. That's what happened my first two seasons here."

Kaberle spent most of his career with the Toronto Maple Leafs before a trade to Boston for the playoff run. He signed with the Hurricanes this past off-season as an unrestricted free agent.

While Spacek remains on injured reserve, he could make his Carolina return by the weekend.

Spacek learned of the trade just as he was about to jump on the ice for Friday morning's practice.

With the Hurricanes playing in Winnipeg on Friday night, he immediately dashed off to the airport to head out to Manitoba.

"He [Spacek] was happy here," said Martin. "He was a very nice person and he played well. Unfortunately, he was injured twice this season and he missed several games.

"But he helped us these past two years, especially when we had a lot of injuries and we paired him with Roman Hamrlik. To get someone, you have to pay the price, and he's the player we had to give up to get a quarterback."

Kaberle, 33, has 538 points in 931 NHL games mostly with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He joined the Boston Bruins last season before their Cup run and signed with the Hurricanes over the summer.

After this season, Kaberle will have another two years left on a contract that pays him $4.25 US million a year.

He has struggled in Carolina this season with nine assists and is minus -12.

Spacek, whose salary accounted for $3.83 million of the Canadiens' payroll, will be an unrestricted free agent next July 1. He has three assists in 12 games this season.

The Canadiens also announced the demotion of defenceman Frederic St-Dennis to the Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL on Friday.

With files from The Canadian Press