The clock is ticking on the possible attempt by Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke to move the talented Tomas Kaberle. Kaberle’s contract currently allows the offensive defenseman to be moved without having to waive his no-trade clause until after August 15th, which is tomorrow. Many of us know that and have been waiting for months to see if he gets moved. Toronto tried to shop him around the trade deadline, but at that time Tomas still had his NTC and no move happened.
Fast forward to another season that ends with no success for the Leafs and now Kaberle’s NTC disappears during the summer. Toronto is now stacked with defensemen and still rebuilding with a glaring need for some more offensive firepower. But as the summer has rolled on Burke has fielded a bunch of offers for Kaberle, but has constantly insisted that he is not in a hurry to move him and that he is waiting for the right offer to grab his attention. Kaberle has a friendly cap hit for the level of defender he is, and has been playing on some bad teams, meaning he could look even better with a contending team. I think Burke needs to move him to get something solid back and settle the waters, but has he waited too long?
Originally it was believed by many that to get Kaberle it would take a top-6 forward plus either a 1st round pick or a good prospect. Burke was looking for firepower now and also something for the future. But the trick now is that he has almost backed himself into a corner. He only has til midnight Sunday to move the defender or keep him knowing that he most likely won’t waive his NTC during the season at any point and he will probably leave in free agency next summer as he is well aware that Toronto no longer really wants him. So while Burke has received offers and probably talked serious with a few teams, now there is a clock working both for and against him. It could cause a team to at the last moment up their offer to try and get the top-2 defenseman that can also quarterback a powerplay. But also other GMs now know that Burke only has so long and there is not a reason to throw a big offer in late if no one else will. The packages offering something now and for the future, have apparently changed to just now or the future. It has been widely rumored that a couple teams have offered a prospect and a pick, but no one is apparently offering a top-6 forward and a big ‘future’ piece together like Burke has been seeking.
While Burke has been adamant in his desires to move Kaberle, if they are not being met and he only has so long to take an offer then he may have to just take what he can get. Kaberle is a class act and loves Toronto, so even through all of this he will still play for the Leafs if nothing happens. But knowing someone has been trying to move you and you are know the spare part in the puzzle being built can only cause Tomas to not be a happy fellow and be in a hurry to get out next summer, but not before then. And now the media is pushing for the GM to just move him already. It appears he won’t get what he wants, so why not at least take the best he can get. So the clock is ticking, what will Burke do?