Mikhail Grabovski or Nikolai Kulemin Package for Savard?

Given that he is a central character in the latest blast in hockey’s silly season, surely Brian Burke is well aware of the suggestion that Marc Savard is being touted as the potential answer to his team’s offensive woes.

The Maple Leafs general manager won’t knock the Boston Bruins’ playmaker and certainly he must recognize the offensive talent the elite centre brings.

But the only way Savard will be reunited in Toronto with his former Bruins sniper, Phil Kessel, is if the quoted price drops significantly.

A source told the Toronto Sun that the Leafs have no interest in giving up their strongest asset — defenceman Tomas Kaberle — to acquire Savard . And there goes that rumour.

From a Leafs perspective, that pretty much establishes the price for both players, loosely setting boundaries with the July 1 start of free agency now just days away.

Burke is clearly committed to sticking to his guns with Kaberle , the veteran defenceman whose no-movement clause was lifted on Friday.

If Savard isn’t enough for the veteran Czech, clearly Burke won’t settle for anything less than a talented forward who can contribute immediately on offence.

Word was floating around Sunday that Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli had downgraded his demands for Savard to what has been characterized as a “softer deal.”

That term can mean different things for different GMs, but essentially suggests Chiarelli would consider some combination of prospects and draft picks for Savard now that he suddenly has a glut of centres and salary on his roster.

When the two GMs talk over the next couple of days, of course Burke will listen. Just how intently he listens remains to be seen.

Here’s how things could be most productive for Burke, should enough cards fall his way.

What if the Leafs GM were to get Savard for a lesser price — say Mikhail Grabovski or Nikolai Kulemin packaged with others — before free agency starts?

Then, on Thursday, he could get serious about shopping Kaberle so that, by week’s end, he could have another legitimate forward to nicely improve the team’s outlook. As far-fetched as it all sounds, you can see that, at least, possibilities exist.

http://www.torontosun.com/sports/hockey/2010/06/27/14539646.html