On August 15th, fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs and media all over North America anticipated a trade that would see veteran defenceman Tomas Kaberle pack his bags and leave the Maple Leafs. It's just over three months later, and many fans are happy to see Kaberle still wearing the blue and white.
General manager Brian Burke's decision to keep Kaberle now seems to be a very good one for more than one reason.
The 32-year-old has begun the 2010-2011 season by assisting on three goals in his first four games and posting a plus/minus rating of +3. If one was to watch his defensive play as well, they would notice that he has also been more than impressive without the puck.
However, his quick start is not the only way the Maple Leafs are benefiting from the Kaberle trade that never happened.
It's no secret that Clarke MacArthur is off to a hot start this season. Scoring six points (five goals, one assist) in his first four games to go with a +2 rating, MacArthur has exceeded expectations.
There were many top-six forwards, wingers and centremen, rumoured to join the Maple Leafs in return for Kaberle. With players like Ryan Clowe, Brad Richards and Marc Savard involved in those rumours, it's highly unlikely MacArthur would be playing with Nikolai Kulemin and Mikhail Grabovski right now—a line that has been highly successful.
In fact, MacArthur may not have even signed with the Leafs had Kaberle been traded due to a possible lack of salary cap space.
That's not to say Clowe, Richards, Savard or any other player who may have come to Toronto in a trade involving Kaberle wouldn't be playing extremely well, but as of right now, with a 4-0-0 record, it appears as though the Maple Leafs are better off with Kaberle and MacArthur in the lineup.
The line of MacArthur, Grabovski and Kulemin may not be the only one benefiting from the Kaberle trade that never happened.
Although Phil Kessel, Kris Versteeg and Tyler Bozak haven't looked all that impressive on the top line together, they did have a good game against the Rangers on Friday night. All three have great potential to put up big numbers, with many fans, the coaching staff, management and media expecting at least 50 points from Bozak, 60 points from Versteeg and 40+ goals from Kessel.
It's likely that the three would not be skating together had Burke traded Kaberle, acquiring a top-six forward.
If the trio can play a good game on Monday against the New York Islanders and another on Thursday against the Rangers, it will have some serious confidence instilled in them, leading to some good, if not great production.
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