One week left to trade Tomas Kaberle, seven teams supposedly interested

tomaskaberle1.jpgWhile we’ve been feasting on free agent rumors all summer and trade rumors for some players (like Marc Savard and Tim Thomas) the be-all, end-all icon of trade rumors for the last year or so has been Maple Leafs defenseman Tomas Kaberle. While last year he was protected by a no-trade clause, this summer on July 1st, the clause went away and the rumors picked up in earnest once again. Leafs GM Brian Burke told folks during the NHL draft weekend that he had gotten offers for Kaberle but none of them were at all what he was looking for.

Today, the Toronto Sun’s Steve Simmons drops a little bit more knowledge about what’s going on with the Leafs and Kaberle as the deadline to deal him before his no-trade clause goes into effect once again draws near.

A quick Tomas Kaberle update: Seven days left to trade him. Seven teams, according to Brian Burke, have made offers, none of them good enough to pull the trigger on. Burke expects a busy week. The clock ticks …

Seven teams for seven days. Sounds like either a bad Broadway musical or a potential reality television show. Who those seven teams are would be curious information to have since Kaberle has one year left on his contract that pays him $4.25 million. The Leafs are in need to get under the salary cap themselves as they currently have around $61 million in payroll and with the cap at $59.4 million, losing Kaberle’s salary would help them out. It also kills any leverage they have in wanting to make a deal.

As for who might want him, the Kings have been rumored as a team of interest and the Devils were in the mix as well given that some Devils players have even campaigned for him. Now that the team has Henrik Tallinder and Anton Volchenkov as well as potentially Ilya Kovalchuk in the mix, they’re not in a good position to be adding Kaberle or his salary. Columbus has been mentioned as well as a possibility as a puck-moving defenseman with offensive skills would benefit them immensely with the return of Nikita Filatov to boost the lowly Blue Jacket offense.

Burke has said if he doesn’t have a good deal in place for Kaberle that he’ll keep the defenseman who very well might leave at the end of the season as a free agent. It’s a captivating kind of drama as Burke won’t be bullied by leverage, deadlines, or anything else and Kaberle is still a very good player. Burke will do what’s best for the Leafs, but you have to wonder if shooting for the moon in trying to deal Kaberle is the wisest decision. Perhaps in his mind getting no return on him is better than getting a pile of potentially useless players or picks.

(photo: Claus Andersen – Getty Images)

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    Devils unveil ‘The Salute’ statue in honor of Martin Brodeur

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    The New Jersey Devils on Monday unveiled ‘The Salute’ — a statue paying homage to one of the greatest goalies in NHL history, Martin Brodeur, who will have his No. 30 uniform retired Tuesday at Prudential Center.

    “Looking at the pictures of my career and some of the events that meant a lot to me, I always saluted the fans,” Brodeur, a three-time Stanley Cup winner with the Devils, told the Fire and Ice blog.

    “That picture, at different times, in different jerseys, actually, like with Team Canada, it all came to that same pose.”

    More on the statue from the Devils:

    The 900-pound bronze statue was created by renowned sculpture and artist Jon Krawczyk, who worked with Brodeur on the design. Krawczyk, a Boonton Township, N.J. native and lifelong Devils fan, who also created the hockey statue on Championship Plaza outside of Prudential Center, personally drove “The Salute” from his Malibu, Cali. studio to the arena late last week.

    Video: Panthers furious after Abdelkader ‘cheap shot’ hit on Barkov

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    The Florida Panthers are fuming after their skilled 20-year-old forward Aleksander Barkov left Monday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings following a hit from Justin Abdelkader.

    Abdelkader caught Barkov with a hard hit near the goal line as the Panthers player tried to move the puck up ice early in the second period.

    The only call on the play was to Panthers’ blue liner Alex Petrovic for the retaliatory cross check on Abdelkader. Barkov left the game and didn’t return with an upper-body injury.

    Members of the Panthers irate with the hit, and the fact there was no call.

    “It was a cheap hit, I don’t know how the ref didn’t call it,” Nick Bjugstad told the Miami Herald. “It was frustrating, the whole bench felt that way. We’re not happy with it. It turned the game around. Barkov has tough shoes to fill. It looked pretty serious. We’ll see how the league handles it and I think they will. I just don’t know how it wasn’t handled on the ice.”

    “You hate to lose your top player, but that’s part of the game,” added Panthers’ head coach Gerard Gallant.

    “We’re disappointed to lose him. I thought it was a cheap shot but the referees didn’t see it that way and explained to me it was a clean check. It’s tough. It happens quick and we get to see the replay. I think it’ll be looked at. [Abdelkader] left his feet a little and got him in the jaw.”

    The Panthers gave up three goals in the third period in a 3-0 loss to the Red Wings.

    Penguins thump the Ducks as Crosby’s hot streak continues

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    In a meeting between two clubs enjoying hot streaks and their own subsequent climbs through the standings, the Pittsburgh Penguins bested the Anaheim Ducks courtesy another dominant Sidney Crosby performance on Monday.

    After that slow start, Crosby has put together a growing number of dominant performances of late.

    The latest, a four-point night, helped the Penguins to a 6-2 final over the Ducks, stopping Anaheim’s winning streak at six games.

    — He extended his scoring streak to a career best seven games, and did so with two beauty goals versus the Ducks.

    — From Dec. 18 to Feb. 8, he’s appeared in 21 games. In that span, he’s recorded 34 points.

    — Crosby is now into the top five among NHL players in points, with 53 in 51 games this season.

    He wasn’t the only Pittsburgh player to have a big night. Keep in mind, Evgeni Malkin wasn’t even in the lineup due to a lower-body injury.

    Ten different Penguins players recorded points. In addition to Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Kris Letang had multi-point efforts, and four players — Kunitz, Crosby, Olli Maatta and Patric Hornqvist — were plus-four.

    The Penguins now move into third in the Metropolitan Division, while the New York Islanders slip into the first Wild Card spot in the East. Pittsburgh’s lead over the Islanders, however, is only one point.

    The Islanders also have a game in hand.

    Panthers’ Barkov (upper-body injury) leaves game versus Red Wings

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    The Florida Panthers will be without Aleksander Barkov for the remainder of their game versus the Detroit Red Wings on Monday.

    As per multiple reports, Barkov will not return due to an upper-body injury suffered after a hit from Justin Abdelkader early in the second period.

    Abdelkader wasn’t given a penalty on the play. Barkov didn’t play another shift after that hit.

    In 42 games this season, the 20-year-old Barkov has 16 goals and 35 points.