Beantown Bound: Maple Leafs Trade Kaberle To Bruins For Prospects, Picks

Alex MamalisCorrespondent IIIFebruary 19, 2011

Kaberle's first game as a Boston Bruin
Kaberle's first game as a Boston BruinPhillip MacCallum/Getty Images

Tomas Kaberle's 12-year run with the Toronto Maple Leafs came to a predicted end today, as the Czech-born defenseman was finally traded to the Boston Bruins.

In return, the Maple Leafs received prospect Joe Colborne, Boston's 1st round draft pick in the upcoming draft, as well as an additional conditional 2nd round pick, contingent on the fact one of two occurrences — the Bruins re-sign Kaberle or they make it to the Stanley Cup final this season.

Kaberle being traded marked the end of a prodigious era in Toronto, as Kaberle was the longest serving Leaf after Mats Sundin left back in 2007. During his tenure with the Leafs, Kaberle posted a total of 482 points over 12 seasons of service, and is second behind only Borje Salming on the Leafs all-time list of points produced by a defenseman. He is also second behind Niklas Lidstrom on points produced by a defenseman since the lockout.

The talented, playmaking defenseman will be fondly remembered in Toronto for his uncanny puck-handling abilities and calm demeanor on and off the ice. Kaberle was often unfazed by numerous trade rumors that ambushed him over his time in Toronto, and still wanted to stay in the city after often being treated poorly by management. For that, he will always have the respect of Maple Leafs' fans, in a rival jersey or not.

Kaberle goes to a team that was in somewhat of desperation mode after their power-play took a turn for the worst in recent games, and watching other contending teams make moves to improve their clubs. The Bruins were in dire need of a puck moving defenseman, and they receive that in Kaberle.

He will help anchor their power-play and will reassume a role similar to those of his days with Bryan McCabe — feeding pucks to the powerful Zdeno Chara, and his booming slap shot. Kaberle also notes as a much more notable acquisition than what Philadelphia did in acquiring Kris Versteeg.

The Leafs get blue-chip prospect Joe Colborne and draft picks in return, what can be considered a fair return for a general manager that was limited to negotiating with one team only. Kaberle really didn't want to leave Toronto, and thus told Brian Burke that Boston was the only destination he'd be willing to waive his NTC for. Under those circumstances, Burke almost got B's GM Peter Chiarelli to overpay for the blueliner.

Colborne, standing at 6'5" and sitting at 215, has drawn comparisons to current NHL-ers Ryan Getzlaf and Joe Thornton, as a big, talented, playmaking pivot. He's a good skater for his size, and has the hands and hockey-sense for the big leagues. However, like many young players, will need to physically mature and learn how to use his tremendous size appropriately before he plays with the Maple Leafs.

Colborne's played with the Providence Bruins this season, only after playing two years at the University of Denver. In Denver, Colborne posted an impressive 72 points in 79 games, while posting 26 points in 55 games in his rookie professional year, which are respectable to say the least.

Colborne will report to the Marlies immediately, and head coach Dallas Eakins has already said that he couldn't wait to see him and current Leafs blue chip Nazem Kadri on the first line together. Thinking about the possible chemistry there, it's certainly intriguing to suggest that a Kadri, Colborne, Kessel line could be fun to watch down the road.

The Leafs also receive Boston's 1st rounder this year, which will most likely be in between ranks 23 and 30 putting in the same category as the pick acquired from the Flyers earlier this month.

With the weakness in the draft this year, the two picks are more solid second rounders than anything, and shouldn't be counted on to produce solid prospects. However, like most drafts there's a gamble in taking any prospect and it could potentially pay off for the Leafs.

It's inaccurate to say if anybody "won" this deal, because it depends on how Colborne and the picks pan out, and whether or not Kaberle resigns, so we'll leave that debate to a later date.

Burke's recent "future's packages" type returns could imply that he has finally given up on completing a fast-tracked rebuild and is now moving toward a true, old-fashioned one through the draft. In exchange for three veterans in Francois Beauchemin, Kris Versteeg, and Kaberle, Burke has brightened Toronto's future considerably acquiring Jake Gardiner, Colborne, two 1st rounders, a 3rd rounder, and a potentially and likely 2nd rounder as well.

Burke, with these trades, has virtually catapulted the Leafs prospect system from the low 20's into the top-10 in the league. Also, considering what conditions he has had to work with and based on the pegged market value each traded player received, it's fair to say that he has successfully started the rebuild in Toronto.

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