Per tsn.ca, veteran Habs defenceman Tomas Kaberle will be the victim of the Canadiens' second and final compliance buyout. After buying out Scott Gomez in January, the Canadiens will save another $4.5 million in salary, and $4.25 million in cap hit, by ending the contract of their seventh highest-paid player.
Kaberle played in ten games in the regular season last year, and while his play wasn't altogether poor, he didn't set the world on fire in his heavily sheltered role. Contract status notwithstanding, it has been clear for some time that Pierre Gauthier's acquisition was not a part of the Canadiens' future defensive plans.
At only thirty-five years of age, Kaberle's hockey career likely isn't over. However, Kaberle may need to consider Europe if he wishes to continue playing.
The move leaves the Habs with the same deep back-end they used for most of last year, including P.K. Subban, Andrei Markov, Josh Gorges, Raphael Diaz, Francis Bouillon, and Davis Drewiske. Nathan Beaulieu and Jarred Tinordi will be in the mix in camp, and Alexei Emelin will rejoin the rotation once his rehabilitation from reconstructive knee surgery is completed early next season.
The move leaves the Habs with some flexibility heading into free agency, with $9 million in cap space and only three roster spots to fill. While this year's free agent class is generally unimpressive, and Marc Bergevin has stated his preference to build through avenues other than the early July free-for-all, he now has his affairs in order should he decide to pull the trigger on a free agent signing or offseason trade.
For analysis of who Bergevin may be after come July 5, stay tuned to EOTP.