Frantisek Kaberle was part of an incredibly successful haul of players that Canes general manager Jim Rutherford added on the cheap during the two off seasons between the end of the 2003-04 season and the start of the 2005-06 (after the 2004-05 was lost to the lockout). (Kaberle plus Cory Stillman, Ray Whitney, Matt Cullen, Martin Gerber Mike Commodore were all added for less than $2 million per year each.)

‘Frankie’ Kaberle arrived from Atlanta with a reputation for offense and questions about his defensive acumen. It turned out that he fit well on a 2005-06 Canes blue line that was light on power play and offensive skill and had plenty of stay-home blue liners to complement Kaberle’s style. He eventually settled in with Aaron Ward to make up half of the Canes top four on the blue line. (Bret Hedican and Mike Commodore were the other pair.) On a go-go Hurricanes team that adjusted to the removal of the red/legalization of the two-line pass, Kaberle was a key part of the offense from the back end both at even strength and on the power play. He collected a career-high six goals and 38 assists in 77 games, including three game-winning goals, during the 2005-06 regular season.

He was even better in the playoffs. In 25 games, he notched four goals and nine assists in 25 games leading the Canes defense in scoring. In the Stanley Cup finals against Edmonton, he took his game to yet another level. In the seven-game series, he collected two goals and three assists. He had the game-winning assist in the Canes second win of the series, and his goal early in the second period of the Cup-clinching game seven win staked his team to a 2-0 lead. That goal was ultimately the game-winner in the Stanley Cup clincher. When it was all said and done, Frantisek Kaberle was one-fourth of an underappreciated blue line that was good enough to hoist the Stanley Cup.

Kaberle continued as a Hurricane through the end of the 2008-09 season, reaching the playoffs for a second time as a Hurricane before being quietly bought out after the 2008-09 season. His totals included nine goals and 73 assists in 214 games wearing a Hurricanes sweater, but his place in team history is largely from his incredible play during the 2005-06 regular season and the magical playoff run that followed.

Go Canes!

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