|Tomas Kaberle is bundled up at the Leafs' outdoor skate on Tuesday. (Sun Media/Craig Robertson)
Attention, all you Tomas Kaberle suitors.
Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke has set his asking price for any interested parties seeking to pry the veteran puck-moving defenceman out of Toronto.
And it's high. Very high.
In Burke's opinion, any package for Kaberle would have to include, at the very least:
1. "A first-round draft pick."
2. "A guy who could step in and play for our team right now."
3. "A (highly-regarded) prospect."
Said Burke today: "It would have to be a package like I paid to Edmonton for Chris Pronger."
As the general manager of the Anaheim Ducks at the time, Burke paid a hefty price to land Pronger back on July 3, 2006.
In order to obtain the all-star blue liner, Burke gave up forward Joffrey Lupul, who was coming off a 28-goal season with the Ducks; forward Ladislav Smid, the ninth overall pick in the 2004 entry draft: a first-round pick in 2007; and first- and second-round picks in 2008.
In other words, Burke really means it when he says he would have to be "blown away" by an offer in order to pull the trigger on any deal involving Kaberle, who hopes to be back in the Maple Leaf lineup Saturday against the Ottawa Senators after recovering from a fractured right hand.
"Tomas Kaberle wants to be a Toronto Maple Leaf," Burke said. "I've said all along that I would honour the no-trade deals guys have. Just because the GM has changed doesn't mean I should go back on John Ferguson's word (to Kaberle)."
Ferguson was the GM who gave Kaberle, among others, the no-trade clause in his contract.
Unless Burke gets overwhelmed by a package similar to the Pronger one, Kaberle is expected to remain a Leaf. Keep in mind that, in the event the Leafs do not reach the post-season, Kaberle's no-trade clause becomes moot from the June entry draft through Aug. 15, a seven-week window in which the team does not need the player's approval in order to move him.
A year ago, then-GM Cliff Fletcher had a deal in place with the Philadelphia Flyers that would have netted him forward Jeff Carter and a first-round pick. But any potential trade was scuttled when Kaberle refused to waive his no-trade clause.
Kaberle's annual salary of $4.25 million US makes him a relative bargain for a puck-moving defenceman, meaning Burke would have no problem leaving him on the roster moving forward.