Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Tomas Kaberle remains a Maple Leaf for now

There was high expectation that Tomas Kaberle would be moved today prior to the NHL trading deadline. This was more wishful thinking on the part of fans who are desperate to see the Leafs regain a first round draft pick. This theory involved a temporary departure from reality because Kaberle has a no-trade contract and make it clear over and over again that he was comfortable here in Toronto and was not going to agree to a trade. So not surprising he is still here.

This coming summer as was the case over the past 2 summers, there is a window of opportunity to trade him without his consent. No trade was made previously although he was originally offered to a deal for Phil Kessel. This time it is more likely to happen. Kaberle is entering the final year in his current contact and Brian Burke will be pushing to sign him to an extension prior to next season to ensure that he doesn't become a free agent and leave without any compensation. However the deal he will be offered may not be as sweet as his current deal. It will be for fewer years, not much more money and without a no-trade clause.

That puts Kaberle in a bind. If he wants to finish his career as a Leaf he will have to potentially give up a lot of money. Even then without the no-trade clause there will be no guarantee he retires as a Leaf. I expect he will reject the extension which will set the stage for Burke to move him this summer. It may mean Kaberle will have to play somewhere he doesn't want to go for one season. However, the reward will be free agency and most likely a huge contract.