Even though there is little time left to trade Tomas Kaberle without his consent, the Maple Leafs options remain the same. Many teams have been involved in rumors stating that they have shown interest in the 32-year-old, including the Columbus Blue Jackets, Boston Bruins, Los Angeles Kings, Dallas Stars and Anaheim Ducks.
They may, however, not be the only teams that Kaberle could go too.
The Edmonton Oilers, although re-building, could be one of those teams. With very little NHL experience on their roster, Tomas Kaberle could add plenty of experience and leadership to help the young players grow into great ones. Not only would he bring that impressive amount of experience and leadership, but he would also bring his outstanding skill set.
Even though all of that sounds positive, it all falls through due to the teams' situations.
Since both teams are trying to become as young as possible, they would not be willing to give up their younger players, such as Andrew Cogliano, Sam Ganger, Tyler Bozak, Nikolai Kulemin and Luke Schenn, unless it was for another player who is about 26-years-old or less.
What is even more unfortunate is that Tomas Kaberle does not fall into that age group.
Since the majority of non-contending teams have the same mind-set of Oilers management, it is more likely that Kaberle will go to a team such as the LA Kings or Phoenix Coyotes, who have the ability to make the playoffs, but are still trying to get over that hump of becoming a real Stanley Cup threat.
This could lead teams in the same situation to be willing to give up more than others. If Kaberle isn't traded before August 15th, the day his trade window closes, and agrees to waive his no-trade clause at the trade deadline, than the Maple Leafs may be able to get even more in return than they would right now. This is because general managers will be even more desperate to improve their teams for the playoffs. However, that is too big of a risk.
Here is some examples of what the Maple Leafs could fetch from three of the teams rumored to be interested in Kaberle:
To Toronto: Dustin Brown, Justin Williams, 3rd round draft pick
To Los Angeles: Tomas Kaberle, Mikhail Grabovksi, Jeff Finger
Brian Burke would be more than happy to gain the services of 28-year-old Justin Williams who would fit in well on the third line with Colby Armstrong. Dustin Brown is only 25-years-old and wears the 'C' for the Kings. He scored 24 goals and added 32 assists in all 82 games last season and is often compared to Mike Richards of the Philadelphia Flyers as a player who can score goals in clutch moments while not being afraid to get into the dirty areas and fight for the puck.
It seems as though the Kings want to give Drew Doughty full captaincy, but Dustin Brown is already captain, meaning that Los Angeles might be more willing to give Dustin Brown up than you may think.
The Maple Leafs would relieve themselves of Tomas Kaberle and the very hefty contracts of Mikhail Grabovski and Jeff Finger.
If the Maple Leafs and Kings were to complete this trade, Toronto would have just over $6 million in cap space to work with, about $4 million more than they have now, while the Kings would have about $8.9 million left.
To Toronto: Dustin Brown, Scott Parse, 6th round draft pick
To Los Angeles: Tomas Kaberle, Mikhail Grabovski, Jeff Finger
If Mikhail Grabovski is sent to a smaller market than he may be able to flourish (i.e. Sergei Kostitsyn to Nashville). In his career, Grabovksi has only played for the two biggest markets in the NHL: Montreal and Toronto.
Scott Parse is an outstanding offensive prospect, worsening the draft pick that the Maple Leafs would receive in return. In 59 games last season, he scored 11 goals, put up 13 assists and posted a +/- rating of +13.
With this deal, the Kings would have just over $6.3 million left in cap space, while the Maple Leafs would have just over $8.6 million remaining.
Columbus Blue Jackets
To Toronto: RJ Umberger, Andrew Murray, 3rd round draft pick
To Columbus: Tomas Kaberle, John Mitchell
After completing this trade, the Maple Leafs would have about $2.6 million remaining in cap space.
They would be receiving a pair of big bodies, one of which can put the puck in the net. R.J. Umberger scored 23 goals and 32 assists last season with Columbus, playing in all 82 games. He has two more years remaining on his contract and could be very valuable if the Maple Leafs ever need to trade him, making $3.75 million and scoring more than 20 goals per season.
Andrew Murray isn't very much of a goal scorer, but he would fit in well on the Maple Leafs' third or fourth line.
Because Tomas Kaberle is indisputably the best player in this trade, and John Mitchell is the same type of player as Andrew Murray, the Maple Leafs should also receive a third round pick, at the very least.
To Toronto: James Neal, Brad Richards, 6th round pick
To Dallas: Tomas Kaberle, Mikhail Grabovski, Jeff Finger, Mike Brown
This trade would require a sign and trade due to the fact that James Neal is a restricted free agent, meaning that the amount of cap space for the teams cannot be calculated accurately.
The Dallas Stars may just be the Maple Leafs' best chance at significantly improving its offence because the Stars are not very talented on the back-end. If this trade were to be completed, however, Dallas will have vastly improved its defence corps, with the additions of Tomas Kaberle and Jeff Finger.
Mikhail Grabovski could lessen some of the blow of the loss of Brad Richards at the centre ice position as long as he can mature into well-rounded player. Mike Brown meanwhile, helps in bringing a sixth round pick back to Toronto as well as more cap space.
James Neal could be a good fit on the Maple Leafs top line, as well as Brad Richards, with Phil Kessel skating on the right-wing.
Brian Burke claims that the Maple Leafs are not in a rebuilding stage, meaning that the team is more than likely to accept a trade that improves the team now, not down the road. All of the above trades make sense for the Maple Leafs in their own way, but they all have something in common. They all vastly improve the Maple Leafs' roster now, and down the road.
If you look at the Los Angeles trades, you will notice that the Maple Leafs would receive Dustin Brown in both of them. Brown is just 25-years-old and is a very good player who has five full NHL seasons under his belt. In the first trade, they would also receive a third round draft pick, which although it is not a first or second round pick, it helps. In the second, they would get Dustin Brown and a great young prospect in Scott Parse and a sixth round draft pick.
In the Columbus trade, the Maple Leafs would be receiving a big body goal scorer in R.J. Umberger, Andrew Murray and a third round draft pick. Again, the draft pick could prove to payoff while Umberger is a solid second line player and Andrew Murray could fit in well with the Leafs' bottom six.
The Dallas trade also proves to be worth it in the long run because the Maple Leafs would be welcoming youngster James Neal, while also getting a draft pick. As for what it does now, it gives them a top-line centre, Brad Richards, who could have some serious chemistry with Neal if placed on the same line.
If Tomas Kaberle is traded, it is most likely going to happen before his no-trade clause kicks back in on Sunday, August 15th based on his past history of rejecting trades.
Buckle up, this crazy ride is about to get even more crazy.
Be sure to check out Buds In Blue by going to www.budsinblue.wordpress.com for more in depth analysis and opinion. You can also follow Lukas on Twitter @lukas_bib for breaking scores, news and rumours.
Lukas can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow Lukas on twitter @lukas_bib for breaking sports scores, news and rumors. Be sure to check out www.budsinblue.wordpress.com for more in depth analysis and opinion.
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