Burke: Kaberle will likely remain with Maple Leafs Staff

7/23/2009 9:39:29 PM

In his quest to find a deal for defenceman Tomas Kaberle, Brian Burke has found a kindred spirit in another Toronto general manager.

"Right now we are not talking to anyone about Tomas Kaberle," the Maple Leafs GM stated.  "It's interesting, I watched JP's (Blue Jays GM Ricciardi) comments about Doc Halladay and I feel the same way.  We're going to talk about this every day until the ‘no-trade' goes away.  It's the nature of the business I guess."

Burke's busy summer may well be winding down as it appears that the Maple Leafs Czech-born blueliner will remain in Toronto for the time being. 

"If I had to handicap this I'd be shocked if he's not a Leaf on opening night," said Burke.

After bringing in Francois Beauchemin, Mike Komisarek and Garnet Exelby this off-season, it appeared as though the 31-year old Kaberle would be the odd-man out as Burke attempted to remodel the Maple Leafs defence corps after the one that helped bring him a Stanley Cup in Anaheim.  Burke believes that the additional toughness could greatly benefit a player who can move the puck the way the four-time All-Star game participant can.

"I look forth to seeing what Tomas can do with a little more size and toughness around him when he's not picking his teeth out of the glass all night," said Burke.  "I think bravery and fear are both infectious.  I think we have a bigger, rougher group and I think that it will benefit all of our players, not just the ones that play like that."

It appeared as though Kaberle's days in Toronto were numbered in late June as the Leafs and Boston Bruins nearly consummated a trade that would have sent Kaberle to Beantown with Phil Kessel coming the other way.  Reportedly a miscommunication on a draft pick to be included with Kaberle scuttled the draft day deal.

While Kaberle does have a no-trade clause, his contract allows him to be dealt during a small window in the off-season that opened on July 26th.  While several teams were reportedly interested at one point, it now appears that Kaberle will open his 11th NHL season with the Maple Leafs on October 1st against the Montreal Canadiens. 

Burke also believes that he is through dealing for the summer but has not ruled out another move, however he would like to keep at least a spot open at training camp for competition purposes.

"We're looking at a couple of things, but I think that if you don't go to camp with at least a forward job open then we're not giving a guy like Jiri Tlusty a chance," said Burke.  "We're not giving a Tyler Bozek or a Chris Hanson a chance.  I'd like to keep a spot open for that."