Despite a last minute flurry of rumors and reports to the contrary, Tomas Kaberle remains a Toronto Maple Leaf, at least until the end of the playoffs. While there were rumors circling about Philly, Boston, Washington and even Vancouver potentially being interested, in the end, it was clear Burke simply wasn’t offered what he was looking for.
In what started as a pretty slow deadline day, today actually ended up setting a new record for trades, with a total of 30 trades reported so far. Alot of the big names that have been bandied about in the past few weeks stayed put, but a couple of teams still made some important pickups. Phoenix was very active, grabbing sniper Wojtek Wolski from Colorado, Petteri Nokelainen from Anaheim, defensemen Mathieu Schneider and Derek Morris, and, more importantly to Leaf fans, Lee Stempniak, in a last minute deal that was reported minutes before the deadline. In return, the Leafs added to their cupboard of draft picks, grabbing Phoenix’s 4th and 7th round picks.
Burke also flipped Martin Skoula to New Jersey for a 5th round pick, giving them a number of late round picks in the draft. Backup keeper Joey Macdonald was dealt to Anaheim for a 7th round pick in 2011, as well. Finally, Burke dealt the Leafs’ 6th round pick for Chris Peluso, a Penguins prospect currently in his senior year at Bemidji State. Still no improvement on the fact that the Leafs’ noticeable lack of high round picks, though. Unless I’ve counted wrong, today leaves Toronto with a 3rd rounder, a 4th, a 5th, and two 7th rounders for 2010.
With Kaberle still on the Leafs’ payroll, it will be interesting to see what Burke’s plans are for him. A blueline of Kaberle, Phaneuf, Beauchemin, Komisarek, Schenn and Gunnarsson would be quite impressive, but at what cost? The fact that Toronto lacks any serious offensive threats to go with Kessel is no secret. The fact that the return for high quality pending UFAs decreases when they’re in the last year of the contract was clearly evidenced by the tough task set before Atlanta GM Don Waddell in his struggle to move Ilya Kovalchuk, without getting shortchanged. Burke will likely have to sign Kaberle to an extension in the offseason, or trade him. Given the fact that Kaberle will likely be looking for a pretty significant pay raise, extending him won’t leave much money for Burke to play with on offense. Anyway, at the very least, the Leafs’ roster should be relatively concrete for the rest of the year. Let’s hope last night’s effort against Carolina isn’t an indication of how the Buds will play out their remaining games.