Tomas Kaberle has seen in name in the rumor mill for several seasons now. (Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)
Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke’s return from his two-week mid-July vacation should stir up more trade speculation involving Leafs defenseman Tomas Kaberle.
TSN.ca reported Monday Burke could start turning up the heat on the clubs that have already made offers for Kaberle by telling them to up the ante or the blueliner comes off the market.
Burke has until Aug. 15 to trade Kaberle without the latter’s permission. After that his no-trade clause goes back into effect, giving Kaberle control over his destiny next season.
It’s believed Burke might seek another scoring forward to bolster his offensive depth. THN.com columnist Ryan Dixon recently acknowledged that possibility, but also suggested such a move might “quickly and painfully” reveal no one else on the Leafs defense corps moves the puck as well as Kaberle.
Little wonder then Burke is comfortable with retaining Kaberle if he’s unable to move him by Aug. 15, but between now and then we can expect to hear Kaberle’s name frequently mentioned in the trade rumor mill.
The Columbus Blue Jackets reportedly contacted the Leafs, but the Toronto Sun suggested the Jackets recent re-signing of defenseman Anton Stralman could take them out of the Kaberle market.
The New York Rangers hope they’ve bolstered their offensive depth with their recent signing of left winger Alexander Frolov to a one-year contract.
Frolov was believed close to signing with a Kontinental League team, but his agent claimed the winger wants to remain in the NHL and signing a one-year deal gives him a chance to test next summer’s unrestricted free agent market in hopes of landing a lucrative deal, which he was unable to find this summer.
Interestingly, the Los Angeles Kings, who declined to re-sign Frolov prior to July 1, reportedly contacted him after losing out in a bidding war with the New Jersey Devils for Ilya Kovalchuk. By that point, however, he’d received what the Los Angeles Times called a “strong offer” from the Rangers.
The Kings quickly found a replacement for Frolov by signing Alexei Ponikarovsky to a one-year contract.
Hopefully these two signings will put to rest those silly Internet-based rumors claiming the Rangers would trade Marian Gaborik to the Kings and then try to sign Kovalchuk.
Kings GM Dean Lombardi, meanwhile, suggested to the Times he wasn’t finished making moves.
Lombardi noted he needs to replace departed defensemen Sean O’Donnell and Randy Jones, but it appears he might look to within his organization first before considering a trade or signing.
The openings give promising young blueliner Thomas Hickey, whom the Kings selected fourth overall in the 2007 entry draft, the opportunity to crack the lineup.
Rumor Roundup appears Mondays and Thursdays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Foxsports.com and Eishockey Magazine.