I'm putting out my official and final prediction that kaberle will NOT be moved ... but here is my reasoning why he should...
First off .. he was a team worst -16 among defenders last season. This team moving forward, in Burke's mold, is a defense first team. In my eyes, in the right situation with the right pairing, Kaberle is adequate in his own end, but I don't feel confident enough that he can maintain defensive stability for 82 games, and his point production wont outweigh the liability he presents from time to time in our end when there are defense first players available on the roster. This, in addition to the fact that the forward group will inevitably have a difficult time scoring from time to time leads me to think that a more defensive minded forward is right for his roster spot.
Second, he was last in defensemen who finished the season with the team. Even Gunnarsson who played just over half the games of Kaberle had more hits. This team is going to rely heavily on defenders and goaltending, and a big part of defending is intimidation, and there are not too many forwards who fear Kaberle, and rightfully so with only 44 hits in 82 games. (On a side note - even in his "off year" Luke Schenn dished out 173 hits in 79 games).
A team defense of pairings;
Beauchemin - Phaneuf
Komisarek - Gunnarsson
Schenn - Lebda/Finger
- would make any team in the league realize that at any point in time there is one or more defenders waiting to leave an imprint of their shoulder pads in their chest and would be more intimidating than one with Kaberle in it.
Third, Tomas was second among Leafs' roster defenders in giveaways. Only Beauchemin had more. However, what Beauchemin gave up in giveaways, he made up for in doubling Kaberle's hits and leading the defense in blocked shots. Kaberle was ranked 3rd in blocked shots among defenders but with only 98 blocked shots in 82 games, he was one of the worst blocked shots per game among all Leafs defenders.
Fourth, the Sundin-Syndrome that many in Leafs nation fear is completely justified. Kaberle surely knows, hears and frets about the rumours he has heard about over the last 3+ years. That justifiably would take a tole on any human and I have my doubts that Kaberle would sign an extension without a no movement clause at any reasonable dollar figure with Toronto and I don't see Burke spending another 5+ million on a defender especially in Luke Schenn and Carl Gunnarsson's contract years.
Fifth, the return will not be anywhere near as good if there is a point down the road where Kaberle accepts a trade and the Leafs find someone still interested. If Burke doesn't accept a trade now, the return will not even come close to approaching the return desired by Leafs fans at this point.
That is my reasoning on why Kaberle SHOULD be traded. To summarize, this team is moving forward, and his style is not what this team needs. Sure, every team can use at least one reliable puck moving defenseman, but I don't believe that the other aspects of Kaberle's game fit the style this team is taken. I also am of the belief that the likes of Schenn, Beauchemin, Phaneuf and Gunnarsson can adequately fill the void of zone-clearing passes left by Kaberle given the time and opportunity to adjust to that role.
Here's hoping I'm wrong and he brings in that 2nd line forward depth + prospect/pick that he is reasonably worth, but I have my doubts...