As Leaf fans wait impatiently for Kaberle to move, Brian Burke said this morning that without an improvement in the offers he's received thus far, Kaberle will remain a Maple Leaf.
Personally, I find it hard to believe that this will be the case for several reasons.
Firstly, the Leafs have a small fortune committed to their defense heading into next season. Phaneuf at 6.5, Komisarek at 4.5, Beauchemin at nearly 4 and Finger at 3.5. Are we really going to hold on to Kaberle's 4.25? I doubt it.
The Leafs also have well-documented problems up front, most notably on the wing. Bozak, Kadri and Grabovski range from good second-liners to serviceable second-liners. No true first line centre but that probably isn't what we're looking at for Kaberle. Where we're weakest is on the wing and there are twice as many winger positions to fill. Kessel is a first-liner and ideally Burke will be looking for a guy that is a proven second-liner that may develop into a serviceable first if he hits his potential. I expect that this is the type of offer Burke has been realistically searching for all along.
Finally, the numbers of teams that are in on Kaberle (sounds like three to five are seriously interested with offers from as many as ten) means that the offers will likely improve. The fact that these teams know the Leafs will almost undoubtedly move Kaberle shouldn't have much impact on the final day's offers because these teams aren't only betting against the Leafs, but are also competing with each other. Offers should improve and Kaberle should move.
There have been a lot of names mentioned this week ranging from Dustin Brown to the ever-present Bobby Ryan rumours. I don't expect Kaberle will fetch a player of the calibre of either of these guys. Burke has claimed that there were some enticing 'futures' packages but that isn't really the direction he wants to take. I'm sure that Burke is probably hoping for a Backes-type. I'm not saying St.Louis would move him but he fits the Burke mould and meets the criteria of young, developing winger.
Let me know what you've been hearing or what you'd like to see Burke acquire in a Kaberle deal in the comments section below. More on this throughout the day.