Revisiting the Kaberle Situation
It’s Leafs Nation’s tired but pivotal debate that dates back to the trade deadline of 2008: Should the Leafs move Tomas Kaberle?
It seems the debate should now be reframed into a new context considering Kaberle’s current contractual situation: Should Brian Burke trade or re-sign Tomas Kaberle?
Give Burke credit for sticking to his word to the point where we should maybe stop questioning it. Since the deadline of 2009, Burke has remained steadfast in his management approach to what he considers an extremely valuable asset: he’ll listen to offers, and if one meets his lofty trade demands, he’ll run it by the NTC-equipped Kaberle (quite different apparently from asking him to waive). The latter part is no longer relevant. Though it’s known Kaberle’s preference is to stay, he can be traded without the Czech’s consent as of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. What remains relevant is that, ostensibly, Burke still thinks as highly as ever about Kaberle, believing him to be a premium puck-mover and consummate professional, and will only move him for the right price. Shopping Kaberle to the highest bidder is seemingly not in the cards.
For Kaberle’s part, some have suggested his fall off in the back half of last campaign was a symptom of his own realization that his time in Toronto is coming to an end. That is, however, all conjecture at this point.
In what’s become such a polarizing debate of mixed perceptions, one universal truth is that the peak of Kaberle’s trade value has come and gone. Kaberle is entering next season in the final year of the highly economical contract significantly responsible for boosting his market price. There is no question this weakens his return value to an extent; at the draft, teams aren’t as urgent to overpay. At the trade deadline of 2011, he becomes a rental.
That’s not to say he’s no longer the most marketable asset on the Leaf roster. Something in the neighbourhood of a decent young talent and a first remains within the realm of the realizable. The fact does remain that a suitor has yet to submit an offer in Burke’s playing field, and therefore it will most likely require a little compromise from Burke if he’s to consummate a deal for the 32 year old.
I do not believe Kaberle’s slowed production in the second half of the 2009-10 campaign, when he posted a mere 18 points in 45 games after a 31-in-32 start, will weigh too heavily into trade negotiations as it relates to concern on the part of potential suitors. Most general managers will look at Kaberle in the context of what he could accomplish in their respective team’s jersey based on his skill set as opposed to any statistical shortfalls in his recent performance on a miserly Toronto club. Many will look at Kaberle’s 49 points this season and wonder what he could accomplish if surrounded by more high-end talent than in recent seasons; perhaps a return to his 67-point form of 2005-06.
The Re-Sign Price:
A terrible last half to the campaign still left Kaberle in the top ten in defensive scoring, in tenth place itself where one point separated tenth from sixth.
(excluding Drew Doughty, who is on an entry-level contract)
Tomas Kaberle is not on the same level as the likes of the HHOF-bound two-way elites Chris Pronger and Niklas Lidstrom, who earn in the $6-7.5M range. Nor is he likely to be placed in the same class as a Tobias Enstrom, a youngster at 25 who experienced a bit of a breakout season, or Mark Streit, who is the same age as Kaberle but is a late bloomer with only three seasons of 40+ point production to his name. The answer is in between; likely, Kaberle’s asking price is in the neighbourhood of $5 – 5.5 million. Just how much of a “hometown” (effectively so, as Kaberle was drafted out of Kaldno, Czech Republic and sees Toronto as his North American home) discount Kaberle would sustain to remain in the city he loves is unknown, but the range listed seems realistic. The 32-year-old will also likely be looking for a term that will secure him in one spot into his late thirties – likely a four or five year deal – at which point he can mull over his career options and make a decision to either retire or continue on a one or two year deal if he’s got it in him.
The Case for a Trade:
Is Kaberle at $5-5.5 million worth more to the Leafs than his potential trade value? I’d argue the time to trade him is ASAP. One reason is that I believe the Leafs have – by committee – puck-moving ability spread throughout their defense core, and two is that I believe last season was the beginning of a downward spiral of Kaberle’s performance if he remains in Toronto.
As Wook points out, Kaberle’s production post-Phaneuf deal regressed to but six points in 24 games. While it’s known that Kaberle’s five-on-five TOI took a hit after Phaneuf’s arrival,Â his powerplay TOI among Leafs defencemen remained the highest in competition with Phaneuf as he manned the point with Dion during man-advantage situations. The numbers back this up: Assuming there wasn’t a major fluctuation in penalties drawn in the final 24 games of the schedule, Kaberle’s 168:58 on the powerplay in the final 24 represents 29% of his 3:68:55 total on the season. 24 games of the schedule also represents 29% of the 82 games Kaberle appeared in for the Leafs this season. And during those final 24 games of the schedule (post-Phaneuf deal), the Leafs’ powerplay went a shockingly terrible 9 for 101, equating to a 8.9% success rate (Leafs’ PP on the year was last in the league at 14%).
Kaberle’s game by game powerplay time in the final 24 games of the season:
|Season Total: 3:68:55|
% of Total: 29%
24 GP/82 GP = 29%
Kaberle has that reputation as an elite powerplay quarterback that developed out of his chemistry with Bryan McCabe and Darcy Tucker which led to some big point totals over the years. But increasingly you have to wonder if Kaberle’s pass-first predictability has become easy to read for other teams, and that the opposition is overcompensating towards the shooter and quelling the Leafs’ blueline threat on the powerplay. (this dates back to when McCabe’s point totals began to slide, and was apparent with both Beauchemin and Phaneuf this season).
Meanwhile, Kaberle was playing very few minutes on the penalty kill, typically less than a minute per game. Five on five, he averaged below 17 minutes this season, facing the second easiest competition among Leaf blueline regulars and posting a -16 in the process.
When put together, it’s all rather worrying.
Looking at the overall picture on the backend, Carl Gunnarsson (we may only be seeing the beginning), Luke Schenn, Dion Phaneuf, Francois Beauchemin all have reliable first pass ability. With a roster make-up likely to be geared towards an up-tempo, hard forechecking approach, this could very well suffice.
For my money, it all makes the case that Brian Burke should strike while the iron’s still hot.
- 521 comments
- Collapse All
@ Jordan: I doubt he’d take that over 5, but maybe over 8 or 9 he’d consider it, that would still only leave him at 35-36 when the contract is up and still young enough to get one more good contract or go back to the KHL if it still exists. . For everyone saying they wouldn’t want him, I respectfully disagree, how many 50 goal scorers are there out there. He’s a top 5 elite talent, we can not obtain anyone even close to his talent with the assets we have, let alone for free. These types of pure scorers almost NEVER become free agents in their prime. Sure question his character, fine, we can surround him with character, guys like Komi, Phaneuf, etc have character, but can’t score 50 goals, it doesn’t do any good to have a team full of character if only one guy can pot 40 goals (Kessel). If we can get him I hope like hell BB does.
Now that Kovalchuk is not as high on everyones list I would make a decent offer on him. 7.5-8 mil 5 years and if he didnt want that then goodbye. Would be nice to have him for the season, I could are less about how he does in playoffs if we cant even make them lol
Please NO Frolov, I have watched enough playoffs to ensure in my partialy racist mind, that Canada produces the best hockey players when the money is on the line. Other then the Detroit Dynasty of the Past, it always has been guys like, Gretzky, Messier, Sakic,Yzerman,Potvin,Clarke, and yes how could I forget Lanny McDonald that raise Lord Stanley at the end. Who are we talking about in the playoffs this year?Jonathan Toews,Sydney Crosby, Marc Savard, even Joe Thornton and Pat Marleau are performing, Yes their are the American players like Pavelski and a couple of Europeon Goalies, but I almost gaurantee a Canadian will hoist Lord Stanley again this year. Have we not had our fill of the Europeon Leadership the Leafs have had in the past? We never got by a semi- final , now before the racist stuff starts, don’t get me wrong there are lots of good Europeon hockey players out there, but I really think you have to be carefull which ones you choose, The Sedins have been playing with each other since the age of 8, if they lose to the Hawks again they will and should be questioned the same fashion as Joe Thornton and Patty Marleau. Ovechkin is going through the same thing as Yzerman, untill he wins a cup, he will not be in Sydney’s catagory. So unless Burke signs a ligit Europeon Star, I personally would rather build around Canadian/North American Talent. Just my Opinion.
lol.. Helm is a good player, but Detroit never seems to be involved in deals.. they just do their own thing and sign UFA’s and let their prospects join the ranks when they are ready. Kaberle though would be the perfect replacement for Lidstrom if he retires this summer. I don’t think many fans (people on hotstove) overrate Stalberg, but with the tools he has there is obvious reason to be optimistic. you were dead on when you said he needs to improve his defensive play.. just imagine the difference from college though.. so he will improve. and he had 9 goals in 40 games last season. I don’t think its far fetched to say that he can score 20 next year and add 20 assists we’ll see…. also it does look like Torres will be coming here
omg with the Helm talk lol, I want him for 3rd line center. Nothing more. And im not “hating” on stalberg, im just not going to overrate him. If another team had him and said the thing we say we would laugh at them. He could be good, he could be average. Who knows but i hope hess great. Hasnt shown enough yet though and that -13 was horrible last year
@ Jordan: Not really getting the hate for Stalberg?.. it was his first year in the NHL and coming right out of college… yes, he’s 23 but there adjustment period is always a given whether a player is 19 or 23. I think a lot here would agree that in the last 30 or so games of the year you could really see Victor playing with alot more confidence, driving the net hard and being physical. He sniped some really nice goals late in the year too. Too early Imo to not be optimistic about him, he’s settled in on the team now and will be ready to have a much better year in 10′/11… he’ll be on the opening day roster, barring that he’s part of a trade … this guy has the potential to be a better player than Helm
LOL When I read that I thought he meant NJ and I was looking for any trade propsoal with the devils and for who it could be but didn’t see anything lol
@Schenn lol yeah don’t no why I put W, I was just thinking of the W in his last name Newyundiek and I put his initials because I have noooo idea how to spell his last name
If Stalberg is our top line winger, get ready for a looooooooooong ass year. Hes one guy who I think will not be on the leafs next year unless hes on the 2nd line with Bozak and Kulemin maybe. He needs alot of time and work on getting physical and being defensively responsible.
I’m still debating whether I’d want to sign Frolov or let Stalberg step up and take a Top Six position. Part of me believes Frolov can come in and regain his goal scoring touch and pot 30, while another part of me believes Stalberg could someday develop into a 30 goal scorer as well, so we might as well see what he can do. . Either way I like the following: Frolov/Stalberg – Bozak – Kessel Neal – Grabovski – Kulemin Torres – Kadri – Armstrong Sjostrom – Hanson/Mitchell – Orr . @ LeafsRyan.: Who is JW?? I think you mean JN for Joe Niewendyk, but I’m not sure, haha!
@LeafsRyan Now that makes more sense. I think JN may bite if we add Stalberg to the trade as I don’t think just Kabs would be enough.
@ Pazuzu: I respect your opinions just as much as anyone but i’m really not getting the love for Frolov.. I’m not a russian hater by any stretch of the imagination but some of there worth ethic at times concerns me. I’ve heard, watched, and notice Frolov is a player who only shows up on some nights. Plus i’m not sure there is a place for him on our team. . IMO, James neal will most definitely be a maple leaf. JW and Burke have a great relation ship, plus JW loves Kabby as he played with him. He is a defenseman they need, but since Neal will be potting 30 goals a year when kabs is retired we send them Stalberg. So, Kaberle + Stalberg for Neal + Grossman. Also Burkie will most defiantly push for Marleau. Not sure how realistic it but there is defiantly a possibility. I would sign Armstrong over Torres. . Patrick Marleau – Tyler Bozak – Phil Kessel* James Neal – Nazem Kadri – Nick Kulemin Colby Armstrong – Chris Hanson – Fred sjostrom
I dont like methead either, but Kimb is only there for the $$$$. No talent at all. Anyone watching the detroit game should notice how Helm is on the Franzen line. So callinbg him a 4th liner make you look like an idiot. I find it funny as hell that leaf fans love Kulemin so much but dont reconized ho good this kid is. If he were on the Leafs we would love him to death. Burke needs to get himOr Franzen lol
I dont like methead either, but Kimb is only there for the $$$$. No talent at all. Anyone watching the detroit game should notice how Helm is on the Franzen line. So callinbg him a 4th liner make you look like an idiot. I find it funny as hell that leaf fans love Kulemin so much but dont reconized ho good this kid is. If he were on the Leafs we would love him to death. Burke needs to get him
P.S. Like I say,I posted some of this above, but I’ll post a summary of my thoughts. I’d probably send Finger to the Marlies to gain some cap space(he would probably captain that team)and try to sign the following… 1. FROLOV-could probably be signed at around 4 million. Definately has 30 goal potential, and would come much cheaper than any top flight UFA’s this summer. I know he’s inconsistent, but I think he would do well on the top line with Bozak and Kessel 2.TORRES and ARMSTRONG-as stated above, good third line with Kadri. 3. R. CERVENKA(CZE league) and A. GIROUX(Wash.)-Two top six forwards for the Marlies. Cervenka is a wild card, but Giroux is a scoring machine in the AHL. 4.Trade Kabs for a second lineRW for Kulemin and Grabo line. Who that would be I don’t know ( I thought of Hemsky but not sure how realistic that would be but a RW nonetheless) I’m not sold on Stalberg as a top 6 guy yet, He reminds of Tlusty. Scores in the AHL but doesn’t produce on the big club. By adding Finger, Cervenka, Giroux, Stalberg, Caputi and one of Mitchell/Hanson to the Marlies is a good boost for them. Success there is important IMHO. As for the Leafs, you inject some vet presence and all four lines are filled in without huge contracts. That’s what I feel they should do. Any thoughts would be welcome.
Mitrione is a meat head… I don’t like that guy at all. He was looking pretty good with those big leg kicks though. That fight should not have been called when it was… those punches weren’t even connecting and weren’t tough at all.
2 Minutes for Looking so Guru wrote:
Jordan wrote: Hey whats the sport streaming sites again anyone? Thanks atdhe.net Cote just got choked out.Kimbo Slice just got TKO’d by Matt Mittrione as well. Gotta think Kimbo will try to shed weight and get into the Light-Heavyweight division as he’s already down to 215 lbs. . As for Torres, I’m pretty confidant he’ll be wearing the Blue and White next season, as for Armstrong; he’d be another solid signing for the third line, but if not him Sjostrom would fit well on that line as well.
@long suffering Ya I heard that too about Torres. That’s why I suggested the Torres-Kadri-Armstrong line. If BB likes Torres, then that’s an easy sign. I’m sure if BB likes Armstrong he can get that done as well. I really think that line would be a real good third line, gritty, with some scoring potential and two vets to insulate Kadri. I really hope some of you are right about the Kabs for Neal thing. I won’t believe it till I see it, but neal would look great on the wing with Bozak and Kessel. That would allow Kulemin to drop to the second line with Grabo and possibly Stalberg. Neal is young and has some pretty good upside so I’m not convinced Dallas would trade him straight up for a 32 year old D-man who will be long retired when Neal is potting 30 goals per year in his prime. If I was the Stars GM I wouldn’t even consider it to be honest.
Hey whats the sport streaming sites again anyone? Thanksatdhe.net Cote just got choked out.
@ Schenn: Only reason Malkin picks up his game is he is playing with Crosby and they are shadowing Crosby so it opens up the ice for him