Trade rumors have surrounded the Toronto Maple Leafs' Tomas Kaberle more so than any other player over the last year. But seemingly every player's name on the team at one point or another during this season has been tagged to some sort of discombobulated speculative nonsense cooked up by over active imaginations whether here in the B/R community or abroad.
We can’t blame the Toronto faithful or media for wanting to drop some of the so-called dead weight or bloated contracts or players that roller-coaster through highs and lows.
But by reading between the lines while listening to Toronto's GM Brian Burke speak with the media yesterday in Phoenix on dealing with other general managers during this upswing for the team while nearing the trade deadline, we may or may not depending on interpretation, can or can’t expect some movement.
"Well, when you’re struggling, you get very popular and the offers you get are mostly garbage. When you’re playing better you’re not as popular and the offers you get are a little better, so it definitely makes a difference in what kind of a cycle your team is in and what kind of offers you’re fielding."
On the deadline approaching he answered…
"It’ll heat up close to the deadline. It does every year, but I don’t see a pronounced increase in activity for us. I’ve been working the phones really hard. Like I said the other day my phone bill for the last two weeks could feed a small country but it's really hard in the cap system. We haven’t been able to come up with anything that makes sense and obviously it takes some pressure off if the team's winning and playing better."
While he said, "I don’t see a pronounced increase in activity for us…," he also said "I’ve been working the phones really hard" and "my phone bill over the last two weeks could feed a small country…"
Burke also mentioned how hard it is to deal in this cap environment, which is obviously a major issue for any general manger.
So he answers the questions, while leaving them somewhat unanswered, as any good poker player keeping his hand and strength of it to himself, again leaving us to try and get a read off him.
What can we take from this?
He certainly is working on deals and there are deals out there to be made, but what this team needs and what others are offering at this time perhaps aren’t what Burke is looking for.
If this winning streak continues, the player's value goes up and, with approximately six weeks before the trade deadline, there is no better time for a team to heat up than one looking to make moves .
Something I read by Pierre LeBrun during his daily debate struck me as relative to this as well.
LeBrun said, "A four-game win streak has chased away the vultures for now. Suddenly, some players on your roster look a bit more appealing to other teams when they're playing well."
"It improves the quality of your offers," Burke said. "When you're struggling, you get a lot of calls and get offers that don't make a lot of sense. But we're looking to add, we’re not looking to dump."
LeBrun said, "In other words, he's not looking for draft picks in any trade he makes before Feb. 28. The Leafs want good, young players in return."
So, as this deadline approaches and as speculation and trade rumors begin to fly around, whether in the media, in your own head or on Twitter and so forth, I think we really have to believe that Burke isn’t going to John Ferguson Junior a deal and continue with his development of the players we have and personnel that Burke has put in place himself.
Unless something really wows him.
So, we are still left wondering what the elusive Doyle Brunson of the hockey world (Burke) is holding in his hand. Leafs nation is hoping for pocket aces, while other general managers are hoping for a pair of ducks.