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2011 NHL Trade Deadline: Tracking The Kaberle Trade Rumors On Twitter

Will this smooth skating be ssen on the Leafs' blueline again?
Will this smooth skating be ssen on the Leafs' blueline again?

The Tomas Kaberle Trade Rumors Saga is on its way to its denouement. After two years of wondering if the Czech defenceman will be moved as part of the Leafs' rebuilding efforts we will have a final answer within the next 10 days. Either Kaberle will waive his no trade clause by the February 28th trade deadline and bid farewell to the only NHL home that he has ever known or he will resolutely remain in Toronto until the end of the season. Of course, that just means that we will be onto the debate about whether Kaberle will re-sign in Toronto or test the open market.

In the interim, the immediacy of Twitter has been both a bane and a boon for Leafs fans. In addition to every word Brian Burke has said on the matter being parsed - ironic because all negotiations were supposed to be kept hush hush by all parties - we have been subject to every Tom, Dick, and Harry 'insider' wannabe posting their 'scoops'. I might also categorize the media's rumour peddling as a bane. More often than not, it seems like the media is being used to negotiate and pressure the other side. It certainly is a tool that Brian Burke has been using to the full extent:

"My guess is if we found something that was attractive and went back to the agent, Tomas might be receptive to that, but that's far from clear or far from done. We're just going to keep knocking on doors. The fact that he has a no-trade doesn't prohibit me from talking to other teams about potential trades, which we've done."

Has he been peddling Kaberle to other teams? Or is this a way for him to regain some leverage he might have lost when Nick Kypreos, among others, reported that Boston was the only team Kaberle was currently willing to consider.

You can watch the full interview on NHL Live after the jump.

Tracking the story through Twitter among the MSM has been interesting. Darren Dreger kicked things off by saying that the deal was all but done save for some cap manoeuvring:

Failing a complete meltdown - which has scuttled at least one previous trade involving the Toronto Maple Leafs, Tomas Kaberle, and the Boston Bruins - there's strong belief that Kaberle will be traded to Boston. It's unlikely the deal gets done today, but sources say it's close and say the deal doesn't hinge on Kaberle signing an extension with the Bruins. The dynamics of the trade haven't been entirely worked out and sources indicate the Leafs are waiting for Boston to put the final pieces of the puzzle in place - a process which may take another day or two to finalize.

Joe Haggerty stepped in to report that the deals in place would include Toronto and Chicago:

The package is believed to be Blake Wheeler and a draft pick headed to the Leafs, and that package of players/prospects would net the B’s the puck-moving defenseman/power play quarterback that Boston desperately needs.


Hockey sources have indicated to there’s a second, salary-cap clearing deal being moved into place to give Boston some cap flexibility. The B’s are discussing sending rugged defenseman Mark Stuart to the Chicago Blackhawks, who are looking for a little more toughness around their net.

This prompted TSN's Insider Bob McKenzie to deal with the nutters that were suggesting that the Leafs might get their first rounder back or Tuukka Rask (it's true, I checked his mentions...cuckoo!) but he also shot down the suggestion that Blake Wheeler won't be part of the deal and that the Leafs' faithful should turn their eyes towards Providence:

As to BOS radio report, my take, FWIW: 0 chance Kaberle deal today; Wheeler not part of it but likely to move elsewhere if Kaberle deal done.

If I were a Leaf fan, I would be more focused on young players/prospects in the Bruin system (Providence of the AHL). But that's just me. :)

Those two tweets sent fans to look at players like Jordan Caron and Joe Colborne and wondering whether any picks would be include. Where do the Leafs stand? Last night, Darren Dreger provided an update:

Burke may be talking to a number of different teams who have expressed interest in Kaberle, but unless there is a sudden change of heart in the player, the Boston Bruins remain the clear front-runner.

The dynamics of a deal are still being discussed so it is accurate to say the deal isn't done, but there is a deal likely to be made involving a traditional combination of a draft pick or a top prospect or both. Sources say there's a willingness from the Bruins to pay such a premium.

If he goes, the Bruins will add one of the premier offensive defencemen of the post-lockout era:

2010 - Tomas Kaberle 58 3 35 38 -2 16 0 0 1 99 3.0%

 Those totals are good enough to put him at 7th in points by a defencemen and 4th in assists.

So we're left refreshing Twitter, having our hearts leap in our chest every time a flood of updates come through, and chasing down information to see what every MSM reporter is passing along. There are 10 days left until the deadline but it looks like things are coming together quickly. Last night Mark Stuart was a healthy scratch against the New York Islanders. If a deal isn't done on Friday it'll be interesting to see if Kaberle plays against the Ottawa Senators, in which case Leafs fans can give him a proper send off, or if he will be scratched to prevent injuries. Either way, there is light at the end of the that there will soon be a resolution. Will it ultimately be worth it? That may take years to determine.