Tomas Kaberle Still A Maple Leaf, But For How Long???

March 3rd, 2010 No Comments

Tomas Kaberle has a no-trade clause, this much we know. What we don’t know is just how close Toronto Maple Leafs GM was to trading Kaberle at today’s deadline.

Both Kaberle and Burke know that Kaberle’s no-trade clause will be null and void once the summer roles around—assuming the Leafs miss the playoffs, which they undoubtedly will.

In a news conference broadcast on TSN this afternoon, Burke stated that he was approached by Kaberle’s agent, Rick Curran, who “whispered in Burke’s ear” a couple of teams that Kaberle was interested in joining, teams he would be willing to waive his no-trade clause for a chance to play for them.

True to his word, Burke has never asked Kaberle to waive his no-trade. That said, when a player of Kaberle’s clout and skill level asks you to explore a couple of trading partners, you do it, and Burke did just that this afternoon.

The end result was that Burke was unable to find the right deal for Kaberle, which meant Kaberle would remain a member of the Maple Leafs.

Speculation circulated around two teams—the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins— as being the two teams that were interested in Kaberle, with Washington Capitals prospect Karl Alzner being part of a package coming back to Toronto in exchange for Kaberle.

To be fair, Burke has stated on countless occasions that A) he loves what Kaberle brings to the table and that he would love to be able to keep him on the Maple Leafs roster and B) that he will not ask Kaberle to waive his no-trade clause.

That said, the reality is, given the fact that the Leafs have well over $20 million invested in their defense next season, someone will have to be moved and the most likely candidate based on marketability and what that player could potentially bring back in return, that player will be Kaberle, nobody else makes sense.

Sure, it’s easy to say, trade Mike Komisarek, trade Jeff Finger or trade Francois Beauchemin, fact is, none of those players will bring back anything close to what Kaberle will bring back to the Leafs on the trade market, that is if anyone would want those three guys.

For Kaberle, the writing is on the wall, he will be traded this summer, it’s just a matter of finding the right deal, preferably one that will bring back at least a high level prospect and a roster player, preferably a centre.

Might Brian Burke chose to sign Kaberle to a long term deal instead of trading him? Perhaps, but then we are back at square one trying to deal one of Finger, Beauchemin or Komisarek, for which, at this point anyways, there is a very limited market, if any.

Burke has said all the right things, he has resisted asking Kaberle to waive the no-trade clause and, in the process, he has been a true gentleman/man of his word.

This summer it will likely be a different story, it just makes too much sense.

Until next time,

Peace!

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