Tomas Kaberle Rumors: Should Burke Be Looking At Prospects/Pick’s?

August 13th, 2010 No Comments

For the past several months we have read a nauseating amount of articles speculating on just what Toronto Maple Leafs general manger Brian Burke would be willing to accept for Tomas Kaberle.

 With just over 48 hours to go until Kaberle’s no-trade clause kicks back in, Burke is said to be sifting through as many as ten different offers from around the league.

 While very few names have been thrown around, there has been plenty of speculation as to which players have been offered to Burke.

 Appearing on the Fan 590 Friday morning, Burke confirmed what it is he is looking for.

“We’re looking for a forward with size and scoring ability if possible, and if not, we’ve been offered some what I would call “futures packages”, which include a high draft pick and a quality young player, and we haven’t ruled out doing one of those types of deals”.

Burke also acknowledged that he is trying to bring in a player that will improve the Maple Leafs immediately. The question is, should Burke be looking to improve today, or would a deal involving prospects and draft choices be more valuable to the Leafs franchise in the long term?

Clearly, given the fact that the Leafs have not made the playoffs for what feels like an eternity, fans and management alike would like to see that streak end this season.

As it stands now, many prognosticators are looking at the Leafs roster as having a moderate shot at making the playoffs this season, finishing anywhere from seventh through 12th in the Eastern Conference.

To be fair, the overall assessment looks to be reasonable, especially in light of the Leafs lack of a true number one centre and need for more offense from the top six forwards.

The question is, even with another big-body, goal-scoring forward, are the Leafs good enough to make a run at a playoff spot and challenge for the Stanley Cup this season?

Truth be told, even if the Leafs added the likes of Marc Savard, Bobby Ryan, etc. many NHL fans would still have a tough time picking the Leafs to win anything, never mind a Stanley Cup.

Clearly, even with one other proven scorer the Leafs would have a hard time beating the likes of the powerhouse Pittsburgh Penguins or Washington Capitals in a seven game series.

While Burke should be applauded for turning around the Maple Leafs on-ice product in just over two seasons, there are some out there that believe that Burke has rushed the Leafs climb to respectability, which, in turn, may be sacrificing too much of the teams future.

Could it be that Burke would be better off accepting an offer for Kaberle that included a blue-chip prospect and a decent draft pick?

With youngsters like Nazem Kadri (19), Tyler Bozak (24), Phil Kessel (22), Kris Versteeg (24), Luca Caputti (21), Nikolai Kulemin (24), Luke Schenn (20), Dion Phaneuf (25), Carl Gunnarsson (23) and Jonas Gustavsson (25) already contributing at a high level or slated to grow into bigger roles with the club, it appears as if the Leafs are in no rush to build a winner.

If Burke was able to add two more top-flight youngsters to his team you gotta think it would serve the Leafs well going forward.

Sure, Bobby Ryan fits the bill, but there are plenty of people out there that believe those rumors are pure fodder.

When you look at the teams depth charts that are said to be interested in Kaberle: Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, Tampa Bay Lightning, Buffalo Sabres, Boston Bruins, San Jose Sharks, Washington Capitals, etc. there are plenty of great prospects from which Burke could chose from, prospects that may evolve into much stronger and/or more affordable players than the veteran forwards Burke is rumored to be being offered (Marc Savard, Ryane Clowe, etc.).

Regardless of the outcome of the Kaberle debacle, the Toronto Maple Leafs will be a competitive team that will play hard and will surprise a few teams along the way.

What the Leafs won’t be in 2010-11 is a strong Stanley Cup contender.

Besides, when you look at the most recent Stanley Cup Champions all of those teams were built through the draft, complimented by veterans. The is no rushing success, so why bother trying?

Don’t rush it Burkie, take the blue-chip prospect and draft picks…

Until next time,

Peace!

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