Kaberle pact handcuffs Leafs

The last thing Tomas Kaberle wanted when he agreed to a below-market contract with the Maple Leafs was any kind of attention.

That was the plan. Sign for less. Slip under the radar. Let the high-priced help take whatever heat was around.

It worked when Bryan McCabe was a Leaf. Just not now. So here is Kaberle, the defenceman with a no-trade arrangement, and while he keeps saying he doesn’t want out — and he actually doesn’t want out — and the Leafs keep saying they won’t trade him and probably wouldn’t mind trading him, the discussion about him continues.

It will continue for as long as the Leafs struggle, as long as he remains their most attractive asset.

Kaberle was asked recently by his agent, Rick Curran, if he wanted to remain a Leaf.

His answer was clear: He wants to be here when the Leafs are winning. He wants to be part of that team.

And that’s the difficulty for the Leafs.

They can’t seem to get better with him, can’t trade him. Can’t move forward in any way.