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Tomas Kaberle


    Sportsnet is reporting that the Maple Leafs have agreed to terms with free agent defenseman Francois Beauchemin on a 3 year contract, worth $11.5 million. The Beauchemin-Burke reunion has long been rumored by various news outlets since the end of the season.

    Staying consistent with the outlined game plan prior to the start of free agent frenzy, the Leafs have added yet another “under 30″ core piece to the puzzle, by bringing in a key cog of a championship calibre defense who just turned 29 last month. This signing will provide the young Leafs’ defense core with a savvy veteran, locker room leader, and proven winner.


      Five trades that almost happened.  Count ‘em, five separate deals.   So close, yet so far away.

      A very good source has it that Brian Burke saw five separate draft day deals fall apart in the last minute of each.   He worked his tail off on each, only to see the other teams back out in the end for a myriad of reasons.  Yet despite these disappointments,  Burke was still able to land a very good player in Nazim Kadri at #7, so the draft wasn’t a total loss by any means.


        (Cross-posted at Checking From Behind)
        4:20 PM

        Fan 590 suggests the Dallas Stars have offered the #8 selection and Ondrej Roman or Perttu Lindgren for Tomas Kaberle.

        3:00 PM

        Thanks to Andrew Stoeten for finding this tidbit:
        “Columbus is not interested in Leafs defenceman Tomas Kaberle, and one rumour circulating is that the Thrashers will land him, as part of a package that will see the Leafs get Atlanta’s fourth-overall pick” – Columbus Dispatch.


          I hope you’ve all called in sick for work, abandoned your family for the day, or are otherwise prepared to fill your normally empty schedule with the whirling excitement of rumours and deals that is the NHL Draft Day.

          Firstly, the team that tabled the “unexpected offer” for Kaberle has been revealed to be the Bruins. 


            In just over two weeks, the NHL Entry Draft will be upon us.  Naturally, speculation as to the future destination of the top prospects is heating up.   With July 1st rapidly approaching, trade rumours (some related to the draft, some not) and free agent speculation are abounding with fury.  And, of course, possible internal team moves are getting their fair share of play as well.

            Here are a few scenarios based on the latest buzz surrounding the Maple Leafs.  The question is:  which of these scenarios would you consider, and why?


              I’ve been trading a few emails of late with some “non-sources” (I want to be very clear about that) employed by various media outlets in the Toronto area, to get their take on the rapidly-churning Maple Leafs’ rumour mill.

              Although these folks are obviously not directly tied to anyone you would call a “source” affiliated with a team, their insight is often valuable as they are privy to more of the backroom chatter with those who are connected to the so-called “sources”.


                Let’s take a break from the rumour mill, and have a look at where the Toronto Maple Leafs roster currently stands.

                With the draft a little over a month away, and free agency beginning shortly thereafter, it’s time to take a look at the current Maple Leafs’ roster, who is and is not under contract for next season, and the resultant depth at each position.


                  The Toronto Rumour Mill is buzzing today with word of the Leafs and Bolts in talks for the 2nd overall pick in this years NHL Entry Draft.

                  Hockey Night In Canada’s Elliotte Friedman broke the worst kept secret in the NHL,  leading up to this years draft, that the Leafs were  rumoured to be talking to the Tampa Bay Lightning about getting their #2 Overall pick.


                    Now that the 2008-09 regular season has officially ended, it’s time to take a look back over the roster to assess each of the Maple Leafs’ players.

                    Note that I’m only including players who finished the season with at least one game played for the Maple Leafs, and am excluding those traded away during the course of the season.

                    Statistics for those who were acquired mid-season reflect games played as members of the Maple Leafs only.


                      It’s not yet time to pack away the sticks and skates for some of the Leafs players. A pair of Maple Leaf defensemen, Luke Schenn and Ian White were informed on Saturday night that they would have a chance to represent Team Canada at the upcoming World Hockey Championship which begin April 24th in Switzerland. Jason Blake will lace ‘em up for Team USA while Niklas Hagman will don the Finnish colors.


                        Remember the way back in the day when the “Can’t Beat Cujo” signs filled the ACC on those passionate, rambunctious (always wanted to use this word) Saturday nights? Well tonight, we got a brief glimpse of the glory days as Joseph turned in a magnificient performance down the stretch to steal a point away from Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals.


                          It looks as though Phil Oreskovic will make his NHL debut tomorrow night vs. Ottawa as the Leafs attempt to cope with an injury-riddled blue-line. Anton Stralman will also feature with Tomas Kaberle, Mike Van Ryn, Jonas Frogren and waiver pick-up Erik Reitz all sidelined. Reitz and Kaberle should be back in action within a week whereas Van Ryn’s season may well be over after he sustained a wince-inducing knee injury last night against the Oilers. Just when we thought we were done with one freakishly injury prone defenseman, it looks like VR will be eliciting the frustration of Carlo Colaiacovo’s tenure as a very skilled defenseman who simply cannot stay off the shelf. The timeline on Frogren isn’t yet known, but Wilson suggested after last night’s loss that “he will be a while” recovering from his lower body injury.

                          Check out Garrett Bauman’s “Getting To Know You” profile of Phil Oreskovic here.


                            A message to those disappointed in yesterday’s anti-climactic outcome:

                            Stop expecting the big deals (except Kaberle, see below). Watch the small things in the context of the big picture. Yesterday may not have been ideal, but it symbolically stamped the new regime in Toronto as legit. No more stop gap solutions.


                              On a night where the real buzz was focused on mounting trade talk, the Leafs tied a NHL record for consecutive overtime games.  Vesa Toskala played an exceptional game in net, and the Leafs came alive in the third period to transform an otherwise dull game into an exciting back-and-forth goaltender’s battle. After an almost full five minutes of riveting overtime play, Toronto eventually succumbed to an Oduya winner.


                                Update: A source’s response to Brian Burke’s rhetoric: “Burkie’s making me laugh…do you believe a thing he says right now? They’ve mulled over a number of offers and will continue to do so. He’s trying to temper expectations here as he doesn’t know if he can get the king’s ransom on these deals like he’s aiming for. Believe me, he’d almost trade the whole team less Schenn if he could. The Kaberle – Bruins denial was semantics as well.”


                                  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.  The Pronger to Boston rumours remain a distinct possibility but it’s said that the Kaberle to Bruins negotiations are on higher heat.