Burke waits, but the end seems near
More and more, this is looking like the end.
There are only so many bullets you can dodge. And with the deadline on his no-trade clause fast approaching, it is becoming increasingly evident that Tomas Kaberle will not be continuing his career with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Of course, this is all speculation. But the trade offers — six teams reportedly remain interested — are coming in almost daily now, each one seemingly better than the next. So while Brian Burke continues to say, “this is not an auction” and that he “has no problem keeping the player,” what are the chances that the Leafs GM actually allows this window to close for good?
Because if the Leafs do not move Kaberle before Aug. 15, when his no-trade clause goes back into effect, then Burke risks losing his biggest asset.
From Aug. 16 onwards, Kaberle gets to call the shots. If he wants, he can play out the entire season, become an unrestricted free agent, and leave the city in a similar fashion to what Mats Sundin did a few years ago.
That is the reality of this situation. Burke knows it. And the league’s 29 other general managers know it, too.
This could be the reason why the offers have yet to entice Burke enough to make a move. Or it simply could be he is asking for too much.
“We’re not asking for anything,” Burke said. “We’re fielding offers. We’re either going to get an offer that makes sense for Tomas Kaberle or we’re going to keep him.”
The difficulty is figuring out what offers might make sense.
It is no secret the Leafs, who appear to be starting the season with sophomore Tyler Bozak and rookie Nazem Kadri as their top entres, are thin up front. The team needs players who can put the puck in the net. So any deal would have to include a top-six forward.
But with 180 top-six forward positions in the league, the quality varies.