In the event of Tomas Kaberle waiving his NTC on March 4th, I'd be willing to bet that his fellow countryman, and teammate, Pavel Kubina, would follow suit.
If the Leafs' top two offensive defensemen are subtracted from the lineup, not only will a wealthy amount of skill and potential be included to their farm system, but it'll pave the way for a top 5 pick at the 2009 Draft.
Kaberle, who currently has 3 goals and 26 points, is on pace for yet another 50-point season. His countryman, Kubina, is on pace for an impressive 16 goals and 40 points.
Considering these stats, it's no secret just how impactful Kaberle decision will be regarding his NTC.
Kubina, who also has a NTC, first joined the Leafs in the summer of 2006. Among his list of possible suitors, Kubina chose the city of Toronto largely due to one reason only…
Initially, Kaberle was stubborn towards the subject of waiving his NTC and abandoning his contract to the Leafs. Insert a newly implemented –and much needed – rebuilding plan, and Kaberle's views are suddenly different. While he would be content with staying in Toronto, Kaberle told reporters that he'd be willing to listen to Burke if he proposed a trade to him. Carrying a 4.25 million dollar contract, you can bet there will be tons of interest for the services of #15.
Kubina, on the other hand, comes with a 5 million dollar price tag. Not terribly overpaid considering some of the contracts that were dished out last summer, but it's still a hefty contract to submerge into a lineup. Still, that didn't stop the San Jose Sharks at last year's Trade Deadline. Kubina's decision – one that I finally stopped shedding tears over – vetoed a trade that could have potentially brought Steve Bernier and a draft pick to the Leafs.
Oh, how depressing that Trade Deadline truly was.
But now, perhaps from the pity of the hockey gods, Kaberle is open to trade talks. And if he is willing to move, don't be surprised if Kubina follows suit. After all, Kubina is 31 years of age and has nothing to gain by playing for the Leafs' organization at this point.
In a season where reaching the playoffs was the primary goal, it's understandable how a player doesn't want to abandon his club, and team followers, to pursue another team. Now, however, things have changed. The majority of the Leafs' fan base is rooting for a chance at selecting John Tavares, and considering how crappy the Isles have played this season, the Leafs are going to have to turn it down a notch if they wish to grasp that holy, godly, and miraculous 1st overall pick.
So, I think I speak for all of Leafs Nation when I say:
Please, Kaberle? Please!?