We’re just 1 game into the ‘post-Kaberle Toronto Maple Leafs era’ and I’m already becoming a bit concerned with his departure. Tomas Kaberle’s skills at quarterbacking the powerplay are undeniable and the Maple Leaf PP looked shockingly disjointed in their 1-0 shootout loss to the Ottawa Senators. Granted this is one game I’m talking about and hopefully it’s not a sign of things to come. Here’s a more in-depth look at the trade, including the Boston Bruins’ perspective:
– Tomas Kaberle: The 32-year old veteran had spent his entire 11+ year career with the Maple Leafs until Friday’s trade. His best offensive season came in 2005-06 when he recorded 67 points. While the 60+ point seasons are probably going to remain a thing of the past, Kaberle is still one of the best puck-moving defensemen in the entire league.
Boston Bruin’s blogger Mark Marino (The Hub of Hockey) provided me with his opinion on Kaberle: “With the addition of Tomas Kaberle, the Bruins goal of reaching the Cup Finals got that much better. They were already a top-5 team in the NHL in goals-for, but barely in the top-half of the league in power play percentage. When they dealt Dennis Wideman to the Florida Panthers this past offseason, they never replaced that puck mover in the back-end — Kaberle now helps in all those aspects of the Bruins’ voids.”
While it will be difficult to replace Kaberle’s puckhandling skills, Leaf fans have to be happy with getting as much as they did in return for a player that was likely to walk at the end of the season and leave Toronto empty-handed.
– Boston’s 1st Round Pick in 2011 Entry Draft: The Maple Leafs would much rather have received their ‘Phil Kessel’ 1st round pick back in exchange for Kaberle but a 1st round pick is still a great asset to have. Boston’s pick will likely end up being somewhere between 20th-25th.
– Joe Colborne: 21 year-old Colborne is an exciting prospect and will add some size (6’5″!) and speed to Toronto’s farm system. Boston selected Colborne 16th overall in the first round of the 2008 entry draft. Last season Joe notched 41 points in 39 games with the University of Denver in the WCHA. In his first game with the Toronto Marlies, Colborne scored in regulation as well as in the shootout giving Leaf fans a lot to look forward to from this young forward.
Mark Marino had this to say about Colborne: “Colborne, 6-foot-5, is an interesting one here in Boston. He had a very, very good training camp and rookie game (missed the second game with a broken nose) and looked to be one of the ‘big three’ to make the B’s NHL roster — along with Tyler Seguin and Jordan Caron. But naturally, with his progression from NCAA to AHL, it was going to take some time for big kid to crack the lineup in Boston. A large frame, but not very physical, Colborne has good hands, great vision, and a very bright future ahead of him. He could very well become a top-6 forward in the NHL is he keeps progressing. He had 26 points (12 goals) in 55 games for the P-Bruins this season, but was also a minus-16 — the worst among all forwards on the team.”
– Boston’s 2nd Round Pick in 2011 Entry Draft: This pick is conditional and will go to Toronto if Boston reaches the Stanley Cup Finals or if Kaberle resigns with the Bruins. While the former is not likely, the latter is a definite possibility because Kaberle essentially chose Boston as the #1 team he wanted to be traded to.
It’s unclear which team gained the most from the Kaberle trade. Clearly Boston’s defense has improved dramatically with the addition of Kaberle and they are poised for a strong playoff run. Toronto has added what they hope will be at least 2 more pieces to the puzzle for their future success.
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