June 28, 2009
Tomas Kaberle on 'the line'
By MIKE ZEISBERGER, SUN MEDIA
MONTREAL -- Brian Burke expects to have his phone "start ringing off the hook" Monday for Maple Leafs' Tomas Kaberle.
Kaberle could now become a focus of attention among teams seeking an upper-echelon defenceman after the events of the weekend involving Chris Pronger and Jay Bouwmeester.
Pronger was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers by Anaheim on Friday while, Saturday, the Calgary Flames acquired the negotiating rights to Jay Bouwmeester from the Florida Panthers. If Bouwmeester is not signed by Wednesday, he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
With Pronger and Bouwmeester off the market -- in Bouwmeester's case, at least until July 1 -- Burke figures teams will really start looking in Kaberle's direction.
CALLS WILL COME
"He's a good player with a good number," Burke said of Kaberle and a contract that will pay him an average salary of $4.25 million US per season. "The way the dominoes have fallen, I predict the calls are going to come."
"But I'm going to have to be overwhelmed by an offer if I'm going to move him," Burke said, repeating the stance he has taken for months. "I've said all along: If I deal him, I'm going to spend all summer looking for a puck-moving defenceman to replace him."
On Friday, the Bruins and Leafs appeared to be close to a deal that would have seen Kaberle head to Boston for young forward Phil Kessel . But the deal was scuttled when the Bruins figured they also were getting the Leafs' first-round pick (No. 7 overall), something Burke was not about to give up.
The no-trade clauses in the contracts of Kaberle and fellow Leafs blueliner Pavel Kubina became moot at the start of the draft Friday, a window that runs through to Aug. 15.