The Latest On Kaberle: The More Things Change…


It’s around 2PM eastern time, meaning National Hockey League GM’s are likely getting ready to juggle their BlackBerry’s while getting set to sit down for lunch at a local Los Angeles hot spot.  With the many fantastic views and atmosphere, it may be the last relaxing moment of the day for these GM’s.

And most wouldn’t have it any other way.

Include Brian Burke in that list, who continues to field offers for Tomas Kaberle and also is lurking somewhere in the weeds, in what I am told is discussions with several other teams about other players.  One person I spoke to told me to be weary of Burke making a move that isn’t exactly on the radar.  With lots of talk about Kaberle being dealt tonight, it is the perfect time for Burke and whomever he may be dealing with, to work a separate deal that would go unsuspected.

As the ever talented Garrett Bauman wrote earlier today, the Kaberle talk really hasn’t changed this much in the past few days.

Leafs GM Brian Burke has remained adamant that he doesn’t necessarily need to trade Tomas Kaberle this weekend, or at all for that matter.  Burke spoke earlier this week and told reporters that tonight was only the beginning of a potential Kaberle deal, and not necessarily an end.  A deal would only need to take place tonight of course if there were draft picks of sorts involved.

There is believed to be six teams deeply involved with Burke and the Maple Leafs over the services of Kaberle, while everyone speculates that those numbers could jump upward dramatically once all thirty GM’s hit the draft floor of the Staples Center tonight in Los Angeles.

As it stands right now, Buffalo, Detroit, L.A., New Jersey, Boston, and Philadelphia are interested according to Garrett.  Speaking with a few of my own people, I can also add to that list Anaheim, Vancouver, and Dallas, with the list of course expected to grow as the days goes on.

It gets interesting when 7PM eastern time hits tonight, as there has been lots of talk about trading picks.  After one and two, the draft becomes a bit murky and rankings vary depending on who you speak to, and therefore it is leading many to believe that there will be a lot of pick trading tonight in order to secure roster players, and move down as well.

There are rumours that the New York Islanders are looking to move down, and when I spoke to B.D. Gallof of Hockey Independent, he told me that there wouldn’t be any interest from Long Island as far as Kaberle was concerned.  In kicking tires to see if there was a way the Leafs could snag the Islanders fifth overall pick for Kaberle and others, Gallof told me the Islanders management doesn’t not like Kaberle, they just won’t give up these assets to secure his services.

And it’s interesting isn’t it?  The more things change, the more they truly stay the same.

For it was, one year ago when Leafs Nation was alive and buzzing with rumours of a potential Tomas Kaberle deal.  Many of the suitors that were after the talented defenseman last season are still calling the Maple Leafs this year as well, though the parts and pieces that will make the deal are likely changed.

Take for instance last season when the Dallas Stars were reportedly offering up Mark Fistric plus for Kaberle.  And who can forget the oh so close Kessel deal that would have brought us the American sniper in exchange for the Czech defender, had there not been what both sides pronounced a “massive miscommunication.”

One year later, and Kaberle is still at the forefront of any trades the Toronto Maple Leafs are rumoured to be a part of.  One must assume his time with Toronto is drawing thin.  Despite the fact Burke and company have said they don’t need to deal Kaberle, and may retain him, one can bet that there is a certain level of posturing there, and the Maple Leafs are looking to use it as leverage for the offers to increase.

As for Nikolai Kulemin, it is believed the Leafs and Kulemin are about $500,000-$1,000,000 apart, depending on who you talk to.  Kulemin is looking for an even $3 million, while Burke has reportedly countered with offers believed in the $2-$2.5 million range.

For what it’s worth, and even though the Grabovski deal set the precedence, $2.5 million for Nikolai Kulemin would be a very fair cap hit for both parties in my opinion.

While this is certainly out of left field, one person I spoke to earlier told me that Kirk Maltby says he wants to play next year, but doesn’t believe he will be back with the Detroit Red Wings.  The source wondered if there may be interest from the Maple Leafs, who are looking for a veteran presence on the bottom six, and would get it from Maltby, who above all else, is a local boy.