In Brian Burke's Shoes: Keeping Kaberle

Peter GuoContributor IAugust 11, 2010

I've been checking updates on Kaberle on a daily basis for weeks now. I've been reading all your opinions and predictions. As a Leafs fan, I feel we need to take a different approach to hypothesizing Kaberle's future.

The process of trading Kaberle did not begin this July 1st,we have to go all the way back to March 2010, right before the trade deadline.Kaberle (via his agent) submitted three teams that he would waive his no-trade clause. This list became a POWERFUL weapon for Brian Burke; with that knowledge, Brian could sell Kaberle to those teams with the price tag of an"extended-Kaberle", rather than a "rental-Kaberle". Keep that in mind when making your speculations.

We all KNOW Brian Burke is a very smart man. But have we asked "how exactly is his intelligence superb?" Landing the Sedins,pulling a Pronger, then Phaneuf, swapping Toskala for Giguere, we've heard enough of those. We should instead examine Brian's moves during the whole Kaberle Saga. Hopefully we can find a few clues.

For one, Burke keeps his cards close to his chest. He NEVER EVER shopped Kaberle on the market. Instead he listened to the offers. Burke showed no desperation, and why should he? Whether Burke truly wants to keep Kaberle or prefer to trade him, at least publically he has stated that he'd be more than happy to keep Kaberle. This increases Kaberle's price tag. What Burke is really looking for is a Blockbuster deal consisting of a Top-Six forward, good prospect, and early draft pick - a ridiculously high price if you ask me. However, despite how good the deal gets, again publically (which may not be histrue intention) Burke has stated that he needs to find a place Kaberle would like to be rather than trading him to the highest bidder.

All this points to that Burke is not concerned with not being able to trade Kaberle by the 15th. In some ways, you can call this "playing hard-to-get". This means that Burke plans to keep Kaberle unless he gets that "ridiculously good deal".

A clue that could give us some insights is Burke's other public statement that things will pick up after Kovalcuk gets signed. Behind this statement, Brian is playing with the teams' desperation level. There is little question that Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils are in pursue of both Kaberle and Kovalchuk. Burke is betting on a scenerio where one team gets Kovalchuk and the other gets Kaberle - likely LA, because LA has that gem called Brayden Schenn. As we move closer to the 15th, LA, with all that cap space, is going to be very eager to pitch for Kaberle if they can't sign Kovy. At which point, Brian could ask for a forward in the likes of Versteeg (~30goals) and a prospect in the likes of D'Amigo for the deal to make sense on his end. Burke will force LA to throw in an extra chip for Kaberle.

To play out this scenario, Burke may have done a few things to cover-up his intentions. The cancellation of a charity event and that mysterious trip to Europe (whether it happened or not) created enough b "mislead" other GMs. Though Burke could be over Europe to woe an European free-agent, the publicity he created gives other GM the message that he has found a very worthwhile player in Europe to fill a Top-Six spot. The plan to sign Jerry D'Amigo reinforces this plan.

In Burke's philosophy of Top-Six, Bottom-Six, the Leafs roster would look like this

Kulemin - Bozak – Kessel

D'Amigo - Kadri - Versteeg

Caputi - Grabovski - Armstrong

Sjostrom - Mitchell - Orr

Signing of D'Amigo will likely mean that Burke is satisfied and will only trade Kaberle to upgrade his roster. Depending how well the Leafs do this coming season, if the Leafs looks on its way to make the play-offs at the trade deadline, Burke will resign Kaberle. Otherwise, it wouldn't be too late to trade him then. What makes this possible? Burke's integrity doing business. Burke has treated Kaberle very well when it comes to trade-options. This man is just too smart.

I know it'll be impossible to end the Kaberle speculation with an article, but I hope my readers will be somewhat prepared and not make unintelligent remarks about Brian Burke in case Kaberle is not traded by the midnight of the 15th of August, 4 days from now.