As the NHL playoffs wind down, the off-season trade rumours begin to heat up. One of the more intriguing pieces of trade bait apparently available is Toronto Maple Leafs' All-Star defenceman Tomas Kaberle and Leafs general manager Brian Burke stoked those flames Tuesday in an interview on Toronto radio station The Fan 590.
Although Burke admitted that there had been a pair of offers for the 32-year old blueliner, he said that they would not make a deal just for the sake of making a move.
"You don't move quality players until you turn over every stone," Burke told the Fan. "We had two inquiries about Tomas from what I would consider interested teams that are more than nibbles. They were ‘would you consider a package like this?'"
After those inquiries were made, Burke said that he discussed the plan of attack of a potential Kaberle trade with assistant general manager Dave Nonis.
"I said to Nonis that it's time to send a note to all the teams and explain how Tomas' ‘no-trade clause' works and that while we are not looking to trade him." he said. "We have not committed to trade him; however it is my job to listen and see what's available in return for him."
While Burke stated that a deal was certainly possible, there was no immediate impetus for the Maple Leafs to trade the Czech-born defenceman.
"It's not a case of ‘let's take the best offer' it's more a case of if we get something that makes sense, were going to do it and if not we'll keep him," said Burke. "He's a good guy, he wants to stay, he's a good player and he's a good price."
Coming off a campaign in which they missed the playoffs for fifth time in as many seasons and finished 14 points out of the final playoff position, Burke feels as though changes are necessary; however don't expect them from the back end.
"We're satisfied with our goaltending position; we're not looking to add anything there and we are satisfied with the blueline," Burke told the Fan. "Positionally, we need a forward who can score, preferably a good sized one."
With no picks in the first two rounds at the upcoming NHL Entry Draft in Los Angeles, Burke understands that the Leafs will once again do the majority of their roster overhaul once free agency opens on July 1.
"That's our draft, but as you see every year, the quality of players diminishes as players re-sign with their teams," Burke told the Fan. "That what we expect and that is what is going to happen, but there is still going to be an interesting list."
With some of his top young players such as Nikolai Kulemin and Carl Gunnarsson and up for restricted free agency, it is not yet known how much room the Leafs will have under the cap available to spend on free agents. As well not yet knowing what the final cap number is will also leave a few things up in the air prior to the opening of free agency.
"The cap dynamic has not yet come home to roost this year," Burke told the Fan. "Teams that have cap issues are not going to qualify guys or try to move guys as soon as the season is over. There will be players who will be available at that time. So there are a lot of things that can happen before July 1."