Consistently above-average numbers since joining Habs
Tomas Kaberle came to the Montreal Canadiens as a result of a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes on December 9th, 2011. The Habs sent defenseman Jaroslav Spacek to the Hurricanes in exchange for Kaberle. After 20 games with Montreal, Kaberle has produced substantially better numbers than Spacek in almost every category; including defensive-zone risk/reward and defensive-zone ratio.
The reason for Kaberle's arrival was the ineffective powerplay. Although the powerplay success-rate has improved slightly, it is not nearly where it needs to be in order to help win games. That said, Kaberle does have far-and-away the team's best powerplay risk/reward rating (3.46), and his powerplay ratio remains an incredible 4.63 successful plays for every 1 mistake or lost puck-battle.
Kaberle is a passer, and he's been successful at what he does. He completes an incredible 93% of his offensive-zone pass-attempts while on the powerplay, and 87% of his defensive-zone pass-attempts while on the PP. Unfortunately, he only gets 29% of his attempted shot attempts through to the net.
At even-strength, Kaberle is successful during 73% of the events he engages in that require him to remove or obtain puck-possession from the opposition. Plays in this category include puck-battles, blocked passes, etc. He is successful with 76% (team-best) of the events he engages in that require him to maintain puck-possession. Plays in this category include passes, dekes, etc.
Kaberle has the best offensive-zone risk/reward rating among Canadiens defensemen, and the ninth-best o-zone rating on the team. Incredibly, he actually has the best offensive-zone ratio on the entire team. His ratio of 2.58 successful plays for every 1 mistake or lost puck-battle is 0.70 better than any other player.
He wins only 47% of his offensive-zone puck-battles, but completes 75% of his offensive-zone passes; well above the team average of 60%. In contrast to his powerplay problems, Kaberle gets 79% of his attempted even-strength shots through to the net.
Kaberle has the fourth-best neutral-zone risk/reward rating among Habs defensemen. His 0.29 rating is just slightly below the team-average. That said, his neutral-zone ratio of 4.20 successful plays for every 1 mistake or lost puck-battle is actually tops on the team.
He wins 57% of his neutral-zone puck-battles, and completes 77% of his neutral-zone pass-attempts; both numbers are above the team-average. He also gets 92% of his attempted dump-ins deep into the offensive-zone, and has intercepted 9 opposition passes in the neutral-zone.
Kaberle has the second-best defensive-zone risk/reward rating behind only PK Subban. His d-zone ratio of 2.77 successful plays for every 1 mistake or lost puck-battle is tops on the team; just slightly ahead of Josh Gorges 2.73.
He wins 59% of his defensive-zone puck-battles; mostly through finesse, and a strong (but short) stick. He also completes 78% of his defensive-zone pass-attempts and 67% of his attempted dump-outs. Kaberle has also blocked 25 shots and intercepted 33 passes.
Any observers take on Kaberle comes down to expectations. If you're looking for a dynamic defensemen with a booming shot and an ability to intimidate the opposition, than you are obviously looking in the wrong direction. But, if you're looking for a puck-moving defenseman with an ability to move the puck up ice, while choosing the successful high-percentage play; then Kaberle is your man.
The important decision going forward is whether Markov's eventual return makes Kaberle's existence redundant, and whether or not Kaberle's cap hit could be better used elsewhere.