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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Kaberle trade a 3-way payoff for Leafs

Liles, Colborne and Biggs all courtesy of TK trade

When one views the bounty reaped from the Tomas Kaberle rental (he's a free agent now), it makes you wonder how much the Buds rebuilding was set back by Sundin's refusal to be traded to a Stanley Cup contender. TK himself orchestrated his move to Boston, and for that, plus a decade of stellar, hardworking performances, Maple Leafs fans have a lot to be thankful about. It could have ended bitter and ugly, yet everything came up smelling roses, for both teams.

New Leafs D-man Liles is a strong replacement for Kaberle, with more upside potential to click with a fast young team. If he doesn't click here, with a contract expiring, he can be moved at the trade deadline for a younger player.

Colborne is a big young centre who is likely to start with the Marlies but see some NHL time this year. I like this kid, he may be ready sooner than most think.

Colborne came directly in the TK trade, while John-Michael Liles was picked up with the Bruins' 2nd round 2012 pick, the bonus Toronto received when Boston reached the Cup final.

Now, how does Biggs figure in the Kaberle trade? Toronto traded their own 2nd round pick (39th overall), plus the first round pick from Boston (30th, as Cup winner) that came in the Kaberle trade, to Anaheim for their first round, 22nd overall pick. Thus Burkie was able to grab a coveted 1st rounder without giving up a single roster player or any future draft picks, just this year's 2nd rounder was all it took.

Thank you Tomas !!!

Potential Toronto Maple Leaf 2011-2012 lineup:

Lupul - New Guy - Kessel
Kulemin - Grabovski - Armstrong
Kadri - Bozak - Frattin
Crabb - Brent - Boyce

(If MacArthur re-signs, he'll get 1st crack at his 2nd line spot, however, after the season he just had, other teams are likely to offer him more money and a longer term than Toronto)

Aulie / Phaneuf
Liles / Schenn
Gunnarsson / Komisarek

James Reimer
Mark Owuya

As you can see by the above, the Maple Leafs are set on defence, and have a massive need for a first line centre. They also require another one or two big league forwards, and may or may not require a proven NHL goalie to back up Reimer. Any of Owuya, Scrivens of Rynass could earn that spot in camp, but if Optimus Reim falters or gets injured, are these other guys ready to carry the Leafs into the 2nd round of the NHL playoffs?

Look for Burke to add a centre and a winger first, then see which goalies are hanging around hoping for a reasonable offer. There are enough names out there that some should still be unsigned in August. Heck, if Jiggy gets no offers, the Buds may wanna give him another shot, but only for perhaps 1.2 or 1.3 mil, on a one or two year deal.

I'm liking the Marlies already, and when Burke strengthens the big club further, that will create even more competition on the farm, with exciting seasons ahead at both AHL and NHL levels.

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