The rumors of the Rangers connection Tomas Kaberle do not seem to be fading away as quickly as many of the other ones have this season. Kaberle rumors are certainly nothing new in general, or in connection with the Rangers as this saga of him being traded has gone on for the better part of three years now with nothing ever happening.
The general mood seems to be more desperation to make the move because of how abysmal the Rangers power play has been of late and the theory that a power play quarterback like Kaberle can fix that. Kaberle has the history and qualifications to be considered a top flight power play quarterback. This season he has three goals and 36 points in 54 games played with the Maple Leafs, while most important to Rangers fans he has 21 assists with the man advantage.
During a Twitter discussion last night with Christian of Blue Seat Blogs and George Ays of Tracking The Rangers (and at Blueshirt Banter) among others, about a multitude of topics, but one of the main ones being adding Kaberle. I agree with both Christian and George that Kaberle has the ability to make the Rangers better this year and a bigger threat come playoff time. There is also, as Christian points out, the invaluable experience that could be gained for the Rangers young players by experiencing a deep run into the playoffs, even if the team likely would not with the whole thing. The sentiment of that is absolutely true as players must experience the playoffs before they learn how to truly win in those big moments.
My issue with the move is not that he would not improve the power play, but whether he truly makes the difference in the team advancing deep in the playoffs to be worth the bounty Brian Burke is going to try and get for him. Speaking of the cost, this morning Arthur Staple of Newsday writes about what is believed to be cost of acquiring Kaberle. Staple says that Toronto general manger Brian Burke is looking for three pieces as a return for his 32-year-old defenseman.
Sources say that the Leafs would want at least three pieces back -- a current NHLer, a prospect and possibly a first-round pick in return for Kaberle.
Obviously, if that is the cost the discussion must end with Glen Sather hanging up the phone on his good buddy Burke. Burke has always overvalued Kaberle in his trade discussions, which is precisely why Tomas is still in Toronto today. There is the possibility that with Kaberle being a free agent this summer Burke will be forced to lower his demands as the deadline approaches to ensure getting something for him, rather than lose him for nothing. Even if the price tag does come down, I believe the Rangers are better off just letting the season play out than detracting pieces from the future to possibly end up with a first round exit. Is trading for a player who has not played a meaningful game in years really going to get them over the hump?
I am left to think back to the last trade with Toronto in which we gave them a second round pick for Nik Antropov, and while Antropov played well in his time in New York, the team still lost in the first round and ended up short a second round pick. The Rangers are finally building the right way and it was never about this year, so let’s take a step back from the push to make moves to win it all while mortgaging potential future pieces. Tinkering moves like a faceoff specialist are one thing, but what Burke wants for Kaberle is another.