April 06, 2010
Tonight's tilt against the Philadelphia Flyers is the final home game for the Toronto Maple Leafs, which means it could be the last appearance in a Leafs sweater for One of The Greatest Arguments Against No-Trade Clauses Currently Playing In The NHL.
He also sometimes goes by "Tomas Kaberle."
It's not Kaberle's fault that he was given the NTC by a previous Leafs administration, nor should he be maligned for choosing to exercise his right as a player to invoke it. But the exasperation from the Leafs and their fans is also understandable: He's a top flight, all-star defenseman whose value, especially at the trade deadline in the last three years, would have returned several vital pieces to help the Leafs rebuild.
But Kaberle and his representatives have either shut down trade chatter or limited Toronto's options in making a deal; thanks both to the clause and to GM Brian Burke's steadfast dedication in honoring it. But conditions have changed for Kaberle, as the Toronto Sun reported:
With the Leafs missing the playoffs again this spring, Kaberle loses the protective no-trade clause that may or may not be the only thing that has kept him here for so long. Once the season ends on Saturday, general manager Brian Burke has two months to swap Kaberle to whatever NHL team makes a legitimate offer.
Though by no means a done deal and he won't be given away for anything less than a top draft pick and prospect, the speculation is that Burke would prefer to move Kaberle rather than keep him.
He's 32 and has a year left with a $4.25 million cap hit. His value was never higher than back in 2008, when his NTC put the kibosh on any deadline deals. Can Kaberle garner "a top pick and a prospect," which is what the Sun reports Burke is looking for? We think so, and perhaps even more. Hell, he may have gotten them Phil Kessel last summer -- but that was with two years left on his deal rather than Kaberle entering his walk year.
Dissenting opinion: Pension Plan Puppets has solid post wondering if Kaberle's underwhelming post-Olympic stretch (3 points in 18 games) has diminished his trade value. Check out the comments there for some really great insight about Kaberle, his legacy and his value.
Dissenting opinion to the dissenting opinion: 'eyebleaf' over on Sports and the City's argument that Kaberle shouldn't be traded but instead be extended by Brian Burke -- sans no-trade clause, 'natch.