Tomas Kaberle spent a year away from the NHL, but if he has his wish, he won’t be spending two years overseas. The National Post reports that Kaberle remains interested in returning to the league he played in from 1998 until the 2012-13 season. Whether or not he can return to the team he played for in nearly that entire stretch is a different question altogether.
Tomas Kaberle was the second highest scoring defenseman in Toronto Maple Leafs history. His smooth, non-physical style was perhaps ahead of his time, as he was often dogged by critics for avoiding contact. Still, his skill and prowess were undeniable in his prime.
At 36 years old though, Kaberle can’t turn back the clock and give teams everything they want from a speedy, gifted blue liner, but he can offer depth and experience to a contending team.
Kaberle realizes that despite his potential appeal, Toronto may not be his landing spot, thanks to a glut of promising young defensemen rising through the system. Players like Jake Gardiner and Morgan Rielly remind one of a prime-aged Kaberle, which could mean Kaberle would have to look outside of Ontario for a shot at the NHL.
“I still enjoy the game,” he said. “That’s the key. If I didn’t enjoy the game, I wouldn’t be practicing right now. Obviously I don’t have any injuries right now. It would be nice to play a couple of more years. We will see what’s going to happen in September.”
Kaberle spent this last year playing for his hometown team, Kladno, in the Czech league. Presumably, that’s where he’ll play next year if he can’t find a roster spot in the NHL.