Burke wants first rounds picks, Kaberle to Anaheim rumor heats up

Burke wants back in

Ducks keen on Kabby?

Burke wants back in

Surrounded by beeping slot machines, busy blackjack tables and roulette wheels, Brian Burke admitted he’s tempted to gamble his way back into the first round of Friday’s National Hockey League draft.

But the general manager of the Maple Leafs is not ready to blindly roll the dice, certainly with his main bargaining chip Tomas Kaberle , in what would be interpreted as a panic attack in the wake of the Phil Kessel trade. Speaking to Toronto reporters at a diner before watching the NHL awards at the Palms Hotel, Burke said the trade offers he’s getting — and there have been a lot — are not specific to what happens in Los Angeles this weekend.

“I’ve turned down a late first-round pick for a player on my team already,” Burke said, though he was vague whether it was Kaberle or Luke Schenn , whose name was also put forward by another team. “We’re at double digits in terms of teams who have made offers or expressed interest. There’s been lots of activity.”

But so far the Leafs have not found the right partner. It’s believed they kicked the tires on Florida’s Nathan Horton before he went to Boston and were buzzing around the Blackhawks before their tentative big deal last night that sent Cup champions Dustin Byfuglien, Ben Eager, Brent Sopel and Akim Aliu to Atlanta for a first and second-round pick, prospect Jeremy Morin and forward Marty Reasoner.

Rather than move up from the 62nd overall selection, where they are currently marooned after giving up a first and second in this year in the Kessel trade, Burke says Kaberle could be kept in reserve for a scoring winger and if that doesn’t happen during the long-serving Leaf’s summer trade window, he will keep the Czech and maybe re-visit a contract extension.

“We’re talking about a good player at a good wage and I like our defence as it stands,” Burke said. “It would have to be something where we pick up a good forward.”

Putting two and two together after the Scott Niedermayer retirement, many have forecasted Burke will dangle Kaberle to the Ducks to try to get Bobby Ryan, whom he drafted second overall in 2005.

“I have not had meaningful discussions with (Anaheim GM) Bob Murray about any player on my roster or his, certainly not Ryan.”

“I have no intention of trading certain players; I also tell them if someone offers me 10 first-round picks, you’re on a plane. But I was asked an hour ago if I’d trade Luke and I said no.”


Ducks keen on Kabby?

Tomas Kaberle could be going to Disneyland.

With speculation shifting into high gear Wednesday, there’s talk the Maple Leafs could send the veteran defenceman to the Anaheim Ducks.

While there’s plenty of interest in Kaberle the Ducks are believed to be a serious contender after losing veteran Scott Niedermayer to retirement Tuesday.

Extend contract

Making $4.25 million US in the last year of his contract, Kaberle , 32, a 12-year veteran, had seven goals and 42 assists last season with the Leafs. His contract will likely be extended by the team which acquires him.

“The Ducks are going to need that kind of player in the back end,” said one league executive. “There could be a pretty good fit there for the Leafs.”

The Ducks could hold the key to what Toronto really wants: They have the No. 12 and No. 29 selections.