Friday, August 6, 2010
Has someone kidnapped Brian Burke?
It is so quite on the Maple Leaf front that I was thinking that Brian Burke has been kidnapped and being held in a underground bunker in the Gaza Strip. The man has never been silent for more that 48 hours in his entire life.
Obviously he is enjoying some down time which is essentially non-existent in the NHL these days. However it can't last much longer because in 9 days the no-trade provision in Tomas Kaberle's contract kicks in again. Burke has been very public about moving Kaberle and would love foolish if he did nothing despite the fact that he has repeatedly said he would keep Kaberle if he didn't get offered enough.
The reality is that a defenseman has to be moved. The Leafs currently have committed to 8 defensemen for a total cap hit of $27.775 million which is way too much money. In addition, the Leafs have no first line centre to play between Phil Kessel and Kris Versteeg. So despite the fact that Burke likes to give the impression that he is in a good bargaining position, that is not necessarily the case. It appears that he is looking for a top line centre and first round pick. It also appears that he won't be getting it.
The Kovalchuk arbitration really has no impact on a trade either. Kovalchuk will more than likely land in New Jersey who will be looking to move salaries to fit him in. The players most likely to be moved by the Devils are forwards so anyone looking at Kaberle will not be necessarily waiting to see what overpriced forwards go on the market. The Devils would likely love to have Kaberle couldn't possibly accommodate both Kovalchuk and Kaberle.
So I expect Brian Burke to leave his cave sometime soon and entertain the Leaf media caravan with his numerous pronouncements.