It's no secret the Toronto Maple Leafs have got a lot thinner on the blue line in the past couple of weeks, shipping out Francois Beauchemin and fan favourite Tomas Kaberle. Beauchemin's value has turned out to be quite good for Toronto, as Lupul has made his presence known on the top line alongside Phil Kessel (assists on Kessel's last four goals). The Leafs can also look forward to the future play of Jake Gardiner, having a solid year at the University of Wisconsin.
By trading Kaberle to the Boston Bruins, the Leafs have potentially saved valuable money against the cap for next season. Kaberle currently makes $4.5-million this season and will easily want $5.5 to $6-million per on a new contract next year. Maybe it's a good thing the Leafs didn't hold on to him and get caught up in contract negotiations next season (something I feel they couldn't afford) with Phaneuf and Komisarek making big money and Clarke MacArthur wanting to re-sign for around $3-million per year.
Now, on to what GM Brian Burke is going to do next?
He won't talk about it publicly, but many people feel he is going to try and add a defenseman before the deadline that can step into the lineup and have an immediate impact...Brent Seabrook anybody? YES, Brent Seabrook is who I believe Mr. Burke may attempt to add on the blue line. He's a free agent at season's end, and I don't believe the Chicago Blackhawks have the money to re-sign the Olympic gold medalist. It will most likely come at a costly price, but Burke has made a deal with Stan Bowman before (Viktor Stalberg for Kris Versteeg) and it wouldn't shock me if he made another one this week. It might be time to part ways with a young, up and coming prospect...let's say Nazem Kadri? Personally, I think Jerry D'Amigo is going to pan out to be a better NHL player than Kadri and he may be a player that the Hawks want in a package for a player of Seabrook's caliber and potential. Along with Kadri, Tyler Bozak could be another name thrown around, or defenseman Carl Gunnarsson. But, it's unlikely that Burke moves Gunnarsson because they are thin as it is on defense and he was arguably their best d-man aside from Kaberle last season.