It feels like there have been rumors about Tomas Kaberle leaving the Maple Leafs since the team went from disappointing to lottery fodder, but perhaps the exodus will happen voluntarily (instead of via trade as what is usually hinted at). Apparently, according to Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun, Kaberle and coach Ron Wilson aren’t getting along and that might finally push out the Leafs’ smooth defenseman.
The historically quiet and almost non-combative defenceman has told old friends he “can’t stand playing for Wilson” and as much as he has loved playing for the Leafs and living in Toronto throughout his National Hockey League career, even through five straight seasons out of the playoffs, he is prepared to move on because he is unhappy with the manner in which Wilson coaches the Leafs and the lack of respect he shows for the players.
“He’s had enough,” a good friend said. “He’s at his wit’s end with the guy.”
And the feeling, in fact, may be mutual.
The latest shot fired by Wilson came Tuesday after the Leafs lost to the Atlanta Thrashers. After the game, almost unsolicited, Wilson singled out his defence for the defeat, in particular he pointed in the direction of Kaberle and Francois Beauchemin, whom he didn’t name but identified by their high plus-minus figures.
One reason he might (finally) be traded from the Maple Leafs is the fact that his no trade clause is about to expire. He’s also going to be an unrestricted free agent after next season, so expect the seemingly eternal Kaberle trade talk to heat up even more.
His $4.25 million cap hit is reasonable and even if he’s far from perfect in his own end, there’s no denying that the puck moving defenseman can put up points. The question is, will he be doing that for the Leafs next season?