#17 / Defenseman / Ottawa Senators
Dec 29, 1976
Cap hit of $3.7M through next season (no-trade clause has expired).
An experienced defender who, until this season, was a fairly consistent point-producer. He's got good size, even if he rarely uses it, and has in the past been a good puck-moving defenceman. Although he's 34 years old, he's just two years removed from a career-high 40-point season.
Since that 40-point season in 2008-09, Kuba's decline has been disastrous. He's struggled with injuries and after off-season knee surgery has not come remotely close to getting his groove back. Has seemed slow, is often out of position, never plays physically, has only four points in 35 games this season, and has been a healthy scratch for several games over the last couple of months. And although he's playing like a 6-7 defender, he's paid like a 2-3 blueliner for this and next season.
Nil. Some team, with the right situation surrounding him and insulating him with the right defence partner, may be willing to take a flyer on him, but it seems unlikely anyone would be interested in picking him up even for a late-round draft pick. As tempting as his production looks, teams will likely be scared away by the contract.
Nil. I can't think of a single team that would benefit from his presence, at least not if he doesn't improve significantly leading up to the deadline. He's actually got decent post-season statistics (4G, 9A in 24GP), the player I've seen since he arrived in Ottawa is nothing remotely resembling a playoff performer. He's had such an abysmal season this year that, barring even the slightest interest from another team, I could see Kuba being a potential buyout candidate in the off-season.
Given that his value is so microscopic, it's hard to gauge a realistic return. About a year ago Niclas Wallin was packaged up with a fifth-round pick in exchange for a second-rounder, which would be an incredible steal for the Senators to get--Wallin's much better defensively and physically, but Kuba's a more offensive defender. Andrew Alberts was cheaper and more physical, but he was dealt last season for a third-round pick. And Matt Hunwick was recently traded for low-level defensive prospect Colby Cohen. Seems like if someone's going to pick up Kuba, the high range might be a mid- to low-round draft pick (maybe a bit higher if the Sens throw in a late-round pick themselves) or a low-potential prospect.