Kaberle's value likely to rise: Burke

ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:17 PM ET

It’s a little like predicting and praying for a bull market, but Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke hopes his patience will pay off in a viable return for defenceman Tomas Kaberle.

Another day passed without a deal for the veteran Czech, who has been the subject of trade speculation since the regular season ended. The upside in Burke’s opinion is that Kaberle’s value will be on the rise as teams that failed to improve via free agency address their needs.

“I would have to guess that it has increased,” Burke said Thursday during a conference call with reporters. “It has not reflected itself in any improved offers, but we wouldn’t anticipate that. That’s probably going to materialize next week.

“This is a player we’re not shopping, we’re listening.”

Prior to the opening of free agency, Burke said the Leafs had received four trade offers for Kaberle, including one the general manager described as an insult. On Wednesday night, a fifth team ventured into the fray but that offer wasn’t tempting enough for Burke either.

“My guess would be that with the that defencemen that moved (on Thursday), Tomas’ value has gone up and we will continue to listen,” Burke said. “If the net result of this process is that Tomas Kaberle remains with the Maple Leafs, that’s not a result we are unhappy with.”

With the uncertainty surrounding Kaberle, Burke resisted the urge to seriously pursue another defenceman on Thursday. Both Dan Hamhuis (who signed with Vancouver) and Paul Martin (who landed in Pittsburgh) were thought to be on the Leafs’ radar.

“We could have added an eighth defenceman very easily, but we’re going to ride it out and see,” Burke said.

As for restricted free agent forward Nikolai Kulemin, who has been at a stalemate in contract talks with the team, Burke says some minor progress has been made.

“(Assistant GM) Dave Nonis talked to (Kulemin’s) agent and made some progress but nothing to report tonight,” Burke said.

rob.longley@sunmedia.ca


Videos

Photos