Can This Rumour Turn To Reality?

The proposed deal: Tomas Kaberle and Mikhail Grabovski to Chicago for Patrick Sharp and Brian Campbell.

The players: Campbell is 31. He has six more years left at $7.1 million. He had 38 points in the regular season but only one goal in the Hawks 19-game Stanley Cup run.

Patrick Sharp
is 27. He was a 25-goal scorer in the regular season and a Conn Smythe candidate in the post season where he delivered a point a game. He can play wing or centre and kill penalties or work the power play. He is a terrific player with two years left on a contract that will pay him at a bargain rate of $8.3 million, total.

Tomas Kaberle , 32. Despite a second-half swoon, Kaberle turned in a 49-point season and finished 10th in points for a defenceman. He was minus-16 on the most porous defensive team in the league. The final year of his contract will bring him $4.2 million and stands as a legacy gift from former Leafs GM John Ferguson.

Mikhail Grabovski , 26. Grabovski scored only 10 goals this year but missed 23 games with injuries. Considering how much he played, the total wasn’t bad. He comes relatively cheaply at $2.8 and $3.1 million.

Why this deal would work for the Hawks. It’s no secret that the Hawks have profound cap issues, but the numbers are staggering. They have 14 players under contract worth $57 million and are at the projected cap right now. The Leafs, by comparison, have 18 players signed at $45 million.

The Hawks’ albatross is the Brian Campbell contract, a stupendous bit of folly that would eventually cost GM Dale Tallon his job. Campbell has four more years at $7.1 but the playoffs showed him to be a 20-minute guy. Campbell had 38 points in the regular season but just one goal and five points in 19 playoff games.

There are money problems up front as well. The Hawks will pay Patrick Kane , Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa $20.5 million next season. By comparison Phil Kessel ($6 million) is the only Leaf forward making more than three.