As the days wind down to the February 28th trade deadline, the Toronto Maple Leafs are inching closer to ending the Tomas Kaberle trade circus that has been around for over three years. According to various reports, Burke had been in discussions with Boston involving the puck-moving defensemen and as per TSN’s Darren Dreger, a deal could be finalized as early as tomorrow.
Kaberle is in the final season of his five-year contract given by former Maple Leafs General Manager John Ferguson Jr., marking one of the positives of his tenure with the Leafs.
The 32-year-old is currently the longest-serving Leaf on the roster, the next being rookie Darryl Boyce, who played only one game for Toronto three years ago. If a deal is done, the infamous “Muskoka 5” that consisted of Mats Sundin, Darcy Tucker, Pavel Kubina, Bryan McCabe and of course Kaberle, will be a thing of the past.
To those of you who are unaware, the “Muskoka 5” was a name given by Bill Watters to the Leafs who were under no-trade clauses. Since joining the Leafs in 1998, Kaberle has registered 83 goals and 520 points in 837 career games, making him 11th all-time in Leafs scoring and second all-time among defensemen, behind Borje Salming.
Kaberle has been involved in a couple of trades that were very close to being finalized.
One deal involved a package that would have brought Vincent Lecavalier to Toronto, but fell through last-minute when Tampa Bay GM Rick Dudley backed out. Another deal involved Kaberle being shipped to Philadelphia for future 40-goal-scorer Jeff Carter and a first-round pick in the 2008 NHL entry draft, but Thomas refused to waive his no-trade clause to complete the trade.
As of right now, it is unknown what the Bruins will end up giving up for Kaberle, but you can be sure that it will not involve second overall draft pick Tyler Seguin, nor will it be the Leafs' first-round pick in the NHL’s 2011 entry draft.
It has also been reported that in order to fit Kaberle safely under the cap, the Bruins will attempt to make a second trade to dump some salary. Based on that statement, I would be surprised if the return involved a roster player like Michael Ryder or Blake Wheeler.
It is more likely that Toronto is going to acquire a prospect and maybe a draft pick. One player that may be on Burke’s radar is young power forward Joe Colborne. The 6’5 Alberta native was drafted 11 spots after Luke Schenn in the 2008 NHL entry draft and currently has 12 goals and 26 points in 55 games for the Providence Bruins as a rookie.
Colborne is also a former teammate of Tyler Bozak from their time at the University of Denver. The 21-year-old recorded 72 points in 79 games for Denver before being signed by Boston and making his debut in the AHL.
It is quite possible that Toronto could end up with Colborne and a conditional pick tomorrow if Kaberle is traded.
As also stated by Dreger, despite the Versteeg and Kaberle rumors, Burke is more likely to end up being a buyer once the trade deadline gets closer.
Wednesday’s win in Buffalo could possibly be Kaberle’s last ever game as a Maple Leaf, yet ending another era in Toronto.
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