The ongoing contract negotiations taking place between Brian Burke and Larry Kelly, Dominic Moore's agent, are more meaningful than face value. On the surface, trying to re-sign a player that is for all intents and purposes a third line center (while a very good one at that) isn't going to make or break the franchise, unlike the contract situations currently unfolding with Jay Bouwmeester, Marian Gaborik and their respective general managers.
The Panthers and the Leafs/Kaberle seem compatible for several reasons. One, the Leafs and Panthers seem to be congenial trading partners as evidenced by Cliff Fletcher dumping his crap on Jacques Martin's lap last deadline. That said, Martin might be pissed about the whole Chad Kilger thing. Sometimes trades don't work out as you envision... the player gets injured, can't find chemistry with his teammates and has little to no impact... or literally never shows up. Try that one, Burke.
On the implications of the Leafs' recent turnaround:
"I'm proud of the guys, they're working their butts off and that's important for a lot of reasons; a lot of what we're trying to build here and reward our fans and our season ticket holders. They're important wins, and I know people are saying we're messing up our draft choice but we'll happily accept that; we'll take that trade off any time. If I could make a deal - I said this last week, and I'll say it again today - if I could make a deal today that would put us in the playoffs, I would do it, as long as it was consistent with our long-term strategy. Those type of deals right now are not being presented, so I don't think it's going to change our approach."
Update: A source's response to Brian Burke's rhetoric: â€œBurkieâ€™s making me laughâ€¦do you believe a thing he says right now? Theyâ€™ve mulled over a number of offers and will continue to do so. Heâ€™s trying to temper expectations here as he doesnâ€™t know if he can get the kingâ€™s ransom on these deals like heâ€™s aiming for. Believe me, heâ€™d almost trade the whole team less Schenn if he could. The Kaberle - Bruins denial was semantics as well."
So you're Brian Burke. Your Toronto Maple Leafs have a game the night before the trade deadline. With all the trade talk involving Kaberle, Antropov, Ponikarovski and maybe even Stajan, you now have a tough decision to make.
Who do you sit? Who do you play?
The current behind the scene situation on the Tomas Kaberle - Boston Bruins negotiations is intense, according to a solid source. It looks as though Burke's playing poker here and waiting to see if Peter Chiarelli will call his bluff or up the ante.Â The Pronger to Boston rumours remain a distinct possibility but it's said that the Kaberle to Bruins negotiations are on higher heat.
-Draft pick be damned, being 7-1-1 in our last nine against the Senators is truly heart-warming. P.S., it's time to point the finger where it needs to be pointed, Bryan Murray... trade Jason Spezza and shake things up in the old country club. Also trade Nick Foligno. To us. For Hollweg.
Here's the latest from a trusty source.
On the Antropov-Chicago rumours heating up:
"Chatter has Hawks VERY INTERESTED in Antro and that talks have really heated up. Rumor is Burke's interested in the Hawks' young d-men, i.e. Duncan Keith."
There are three major defenseman that are available - Kaberle, Pronger and Bouwmeester - and several teams are jockeying for position for all of them. A handful of teams would be happy with any of them.Â If you had to put money on Burke, Martin or Murray, who would you bet on to get the most out of a dealâ€¦exactly.Â Burkeâ€™s got 'em exactly where he wants them and would prefer that one of the aforementioned d-men gets moved first as it will provide him even more leverage."
So here is the situation:
You're Brian Burke, you're 6 days from Trade Deadline 2009. You get a phone call from Garth Snow and he has an offer for you. A really big offer.
The offer is...
The reputable Eklund is reporting with an always reliable "e4" rating that the Maple Leafs are closing in on a deal with the Vancouver Canucks that will involve Nikolai Antropov heading west in exchange for a first round pick and a prospect. To no one's surprise, Brian Burke and Mike Gillis have been carrying out negotiations for some time now, primarily on the subjects of Antropov and Tomas Kaberle. A deal is not as imminent as Eklund's reporting, but there appears to be deal potential in Vancouver and potentially of the blockbuster variety.
While draft picks are high priority in any potential trade talks leading up to the March 4th deadline, Brian Burke is also said to be targeting a group of young but already established NHLers, according to a source.
It is a number that all Leafs fans hold in such high regard. Â It means so much to so many.