With the trade deadline just over a month away, the whispers are beginning to turn to roars in Toronto, as deadline day will surely bring some excitement to the franchise, and it’s fans, who are eager to see a new version of this team take shape.
And while these next four weeks are suppose to be a time when speculation and excitement reaches a fever pitch, news coming out of Toronto today surely have brought them down a notch.
Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke announced today that defenseman Tomas Kaberle, one of the main pieces in this year’s sell off for Toronto, will be out for up to four weeks with a broken bone in his hand.
And the timing simply couldn’t be worse.
While it’s never a great time for your number one blueliner to go down to injury, the timing of the latest injury could hurt the Maple Leafs going forward, particularly at the trade deadline.
With deadline day four weeks from this Tuesday, it is conceivable that Kaberle, the Leafs lone All Star representative from this year, will be out up until that date, which could hinder any deal. There is also the trend of injured Leafs who have missed their scheduled return dates, with injuries taking longer than usual to heal.
There are several ramifications that could come from an injury to Tomas Kaberle.
First of all, perhaps the most obvious, is the fact that a deal doesn’t take place.
While this is unlikely, if the Leafs can’t prove Kaberle is healthy, or will be in short time, there may not be many playoff bound teams willing to offer up a lot in return for Kaberle.
On the flip side, an injury to Kaberle may help the stock of fellow Czech-born defender Pavel Kubina, also tabbed as one of the most desirable Leafs that may be available.
The injury to Kaberle will force Kubina, one of Toronto’s most experienced players, to play even more important minutes, and be counted on in crucial situations. All of this could bump Kubina’s value up quite a bit within the next four weeks.
Despite their on-ice futility, there is never a dull moment in Leafs Nation these days.
For the record, the Maple Leafs have recalled Swedish defenseman Anton Stralman from the Toronto Marlies. Stralman will be counted on to provide a sound two-way game, and may even see some time on the Leafs powerplay.
Just a reminder that the Leafs are in action tonight and will play host to the Penguins. More importantly, perhaps, is the banner raising of Doug Gilmour, one of the team’s most beloved players and captains in team history. “Dougie” will always be remembered as one of the hardest working players to ever pull on the Blue ad White. His honour tonight is truly deserved.
The Hockey Writers is:
1) A top-tier hockey media company delivering a top-notch, in-depth look at the NHL
2) A collective of some of the best hockey writers anywhere
3) A multimedia provider with daily podcasts and YouTube shows
4) Well-respected and widely-cited NHL prospect and draft resource