Thursday, June 3, 2010

Toronto Maple Leafs need to keep Kaberle...

TVOS Question of the Day: Am I the only person in the world that thinks the Toronto Maple Leafs should hold on to Tomas Kaberle.

With no first or second round selections in the upcoming NHL Draft, Leafs GM Brian Burke is entertaining offers for the Toronto defenceman; a draft pick being one of the pieces he is looking for in return. According to reports, five teams are seriously considering making a move for Kaberle, and why not? A first round pick is a small price to pay for a team that thinks they are close to competing for the Stanley Cup. Burke has said it himself - there are no guarantees that a player taken in the draft, even a first round selection, will evolve into a legitimate NHL player. If you are a team on the verge of contention, adding a power play specialist will go a long way to putting your team over the top. Isn’t that what the Leafs say they are about to become, Stanley Cup contenders, or at the very least, contending for a playoff spot?

Since Brian Burke took over the reigns of the Leafs, he has done a tremendous job reshaping the roster. I agree with the addition of Phil Kessel (yes, even for the high price he paid), the Phaneuf trade was a steal, he has re-stocked the Marlies with some fine young talent and JS Giguere and Jonas Gustavsson will be a formidable pair in goal. They are certainly in need of a top-six forward (or two), but the in the weaker Eastern Conference, there is no doubt that the Leafs will find themselves in the playoff hunt next season; even if the roster remains the same.

As a long-time Leaf, I realize that many Toronto fans want to see Kaberle gone for that fact alone, but as a team on the rise, why would you trade away one of the best puck moving defenceman in the league? It is fine to say, “We have Phaneuf now”, but he is a triggerman with awesome firepower similar to Brian McCabe - Who will set him up at the blueline with clean, crisp saucer passes?

Kaberle is 32 years old and under contract for $4.5 million through to the end of the 2011 season. He has never been known as a defensive gem, so his ability to bang and crash in the corners should not diminish - he does not play that style to begin with. Considering Kaberle has refused to leave town for the past several seasons, re-signing him to a three-year deal at $4 million per year or less would be no problem. He wants to stay in Toronto...

Let’s look at the offence that comes out of the lineup with Kaberle gone:

In 820 career games with Toronto, Kaberle has 80 goals and 420 assists.

2010: 82 games - 49 points
2009: 57 games - 31 points
2008: 82 games - 53 points
2007: 74 games - 58 points

I will repeat what I have said above, Burke stated at the time of the Kessel trade that he knew what he was getting in Kessel, and with a draft pick, you can never be sure. Now, in an effort to get a first round pick, he is considering trading an all-star power play specialist. In Kaberle you already know what you have, sure, he has his faults, but when the 2011 trade deadline approaches and the Leafs are in the hunt for a playoff spot, they may be on the hunt for a player exactly like Kaberle. My advice, keep Kaberle, re-sign him at an affordable price and try to find a top-six forward somewhere else - he’s not going to come in the bottom half of the first round in this year’s draft.

Photo by Aaron Webb on

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