While 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)