June 24, 2010
Burke intent on trading up
By ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency
By now, any professional hockey player wearing blue and white with a Maple Leaf on the front should know a thing or two about job security in the Toronto market.
And if they didn't, Brian Burke hammered home the point with his trademark ferocity Thursday evening.
On the night before an NHL entry draft in which Leafs management must sit on its hands until Round 3 Saturday afternoon, Burke made it clear that if any other GM in the league wants to talk about any player on the Leafs roster, he's all ears.
"When you finish 29th, your list of untouchables should be awful god-damn small," Burke said Thursday evening from Los Angeles during a break from an NHL board of governors meeting.
"We've gotten some inquiries about other players and right now what we are doing is listening."
Mostly Burke is listening to offers regarding star defenceman Tomas Kaberle, his prime asset in any pre or post-draft trade discussions. Kaberle's no-movement clause expired at 7 p.m. Friday, the opening bell for this year's draft.
Unofficially, Kaberle has been on the market for several weeks now but over the past 24 hours, Burke has been listening a little more closely to what others around the league have to offer.
Burke is well aware that Kaberle is his most valuable asset and the GM would dearly love to cash in that value for some immediate help up front. As of Thursday night, interest around the league had swollen to "double digits" and Burke was expecting two more teams to table an offer, joining the four others who have already done so.
"We knew we wouldn't see the best cards until we got here and we won't see the best cards until sometime (Friday)," Burke said.
That doesn't necessarily mean that Burke feels an urgency to deal Kaberle at all, but especially before the start of the draft. The GM was adamant that he's not looking for a first-round draft pick for Kaberle.
"We need help right now," Burke said. "For us (dealing Kaberle) is not draft specific."
While Burke is listening intently, he's not yet ready to bite.
"We're not even close," Burke told QMI Agency's Bruce Garrioch in L.A. "I hate saying that because that could change in one phone call. Right now, nothing is imminent, but I hate telling you that."