And The Next Contestant Is. . . .
Wonder what, exactly, an NHL team can get for a third round pick these day?
Leaf GM Brian Burke sounded pretty confident Monday night that he can flip the third rounder he received as part of the package for Kris Versteeg and get some immediate help, and not some over-the-hill veteran, either.
We shall watch and learn.
Until that happens, it's pretty clear Clarke MacArthur and Tomas Kaberle are going to command most of the attention as far as Leafs possibly heading out of town before the Feb. 28th trade deadline.
Kaberle, well, we've been over and over and over that one, haven't we? Even if he does waive his no trade rather than mimic Mats Sundin and the rest of the long-departed Muskoka Five, it's not like he's going to reap an enormous harvest if he's dealt.
For starters, he's a rental. Second, he's the regular point man on the 24th best power play in hockey. Third, he doesn't have a big shot, which allows teams to play well off him. He's not having a great year. Decent to pretty good, sure, but nothing extraordinary. Finally, he's looking for a big, new contract, something that's going to pay him in excess of $5 million per season, probably on the east coast.
This is not an extraordinary deadline commodity. And he may not waive his no-trade anyway.
Please just let this be over. Personally, I'd prefer another Peter Forsberg comeback to another round of Kaberle trade speculation.
MacArthur's a different animal. The Leafs want to keep him. More to the point, they want to re-sign him, probably to a two- or three-year deal, probably something along the lines of Nik Kulemin's contract.
The two sides are talking now, with MacArthur having apparently dumped his old agent in favour of Don Meehan of Newport Sports. Meehan's a dealmaker, always has been, so the guessing is that by the 28th there's a new deal for MacArthur.
But if it doesn't look like that will happen, the Leafs will move him. In other words, there's either 13 days to get a new contract in place, or MacArthur will almost certainly be on the move. With a salary of $1.1 million this season, and with the winger set to be only a restricted free agent this summer after being unrestricted last season, he's probably a more attractive commodity than Kaberle.
And who would have thought that in September?