Tomas Kaberle has been such a constant source of trade rumors (especially in Toronto) that sometimes I wonder if sports writers just put together stories in a Mad-Libs format at this point.
“Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Tomas Kaberle is rumored to be traded to (team) for (prospect) + (draft pick) so that the team can clear salary cap space. (Maple Leafs GM) refused to comment on the rumors.”
The big difference now, though, is that Brian Burke is openly courting interested parties for the high-scoring, veteran defenseman. The New York Post reports that the New Jersey Devils are one of the most prominent bidders.
Kaberle, whom general manager Lou Lamoriello could be targeting, has been a regular trade subject in Toronto at the usual deal junctures, but Leafs GM Brian Burke recently circulated an e-mail to other general managers outlining the upcoming window in Kaberle’s no-trade clause.
Kaberle, 32, is to make $4.25 million next season, the last on his deal before he becomes unrestricted in 2011. The Devils will be making a decision on Paul Martin, who becomes unrestricted July 1 after earning $4.5 million last year. One other possibility is Dan Hamhuis, who also becomes unrestricted on July 1.
Many believe the Leafs are willing to trade Kaberle during a window which begins at the draft, two weeks from tomorrow, through July. It’s believed Toronto wants a young regular and a draft pick.
The Devils do not have a first-round pick at this year’s draft, having
dealt it to Atlanta in the Ilya Kovalchuk trade in February. Because of
that deal’s swap of second-round picks, their first selection will be
the 38th overall pick. The lack of a first-round selection could limit
the chances of making such a deal.
With almost $16 million in cap space, might the Devils decide to retain Paul Martin and trade for Kaberle? Martin would give the Devils his typical steady presence while New Jersey hasn’t had a point producing defenseman at Kaberle’s level since Brian Rafalski signed with the Detroit Red Wings.
Either way – depending on the price – the Devils could use a player like Kaberle. We’ll keep you updated regarding this rumor (and the many other whispers) leading up to July 1, when scuttlebutt turns to truth.