March 17, 2010

The New Deal

I've spent the past few days in Delhi thinking about Tomas Kaberle. And Tyler Bozak. (Who's not thinking about Bozak?) And Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf, of course. Along with Nikolai Kulemin, Viktor Stalberg, and the streaking Mikhail Grabovski. Luca Caputi and Luke Schenn, too. But mainly about Tomas Kaberle. And that shouldn't surprise you; not in the least.

India is no hockey hotbed. I haven't watched the Maple Leafs in action since February 2. I know, I should be counting my blessings. But I miss the poor bastards. Especially #15. Who, by all accounts, is playing some of the worst hockey of his life. In nine games since play resumed after the Olympics (Gold!!1), Kaberle is a -6, and has one meagre assist to his name. His -16 rating this season is by far the worst of his career. And it's no coincidence that the Leafs' power play has suffered along with Tomas, and now ranks 28th in the league at 15.3%. Kaberle, like many before him, clearly doesn't react well to uncertainty surrounding his future.

But you know me. I have trouble letting go. I'm not ready to concede that the Maple Leafs will be a better team without Tomas Kaberle, regardless of what comes back in return for his services. The Toronto Maple Leafs need Tomas Kaberle. The Toronto Maple Leafs' power play desperately needs Tomas Kaberle. Which is why I refuse to discuss what might happen this summer when Kaberle's no-trade clause temporarily goes out the window. Because Kaberle, 32-years old, must be re-signed.

Five years, $23.75 million; a cap-hit of $4.750 million per season. The new deal, front-loaded, would kick in at the start of the 2011/2012 season, after Kaberle plays out his current contract - one year remaining at $4.250 million.

2011/2012: $6.500 million
2012/2013: $6.000 million
2013/2014: $4.00 million
2014/2015: $3.625 million
2015/2016: $3.625 million

Obviously, no no-trade clause. Thanks to John Ferguson Jr., no-trade clauses can go to hell. Instead, a list of five cities/teams, of Kaberle's choosing, where he can never be traded. Hockey purgatory. For example: the New York Islanders, Florida Panthers, Atlanta Thrashers, Edmonton Oilers, and, of course, the Ottawa Senators.

Be true to yourself: can you really say no to Kaberle at a cap-hit of $4.750 million a season? I guess it all depends on how much you value the fluid breakout passes, immaculate rushes, and incredible -- like you won't believe -- cross-ice passes.

Think about it: if an NHL general manager was willing to take Jason Blake's contract off Toronto's hands, Kaberle's new deal could hardly be called an albatross. Kaberle would get what he desires: stability, and a Maple Leaf still on his sweater. And we (or is it just me?) would get what we want: #15 in the blue and white for, hopefully, the remainder of his career. (Which will include, Inshallah, a return to the playoffs!!1 I've heard nothing but good things about the post-season.)


"Dave Schultz" said...

it's not just you.

seankelly said...

I like him, but I don't know about 5 years. I can see him getting resigned, but will he be worth 4.75 when he's 37/38? The one argument made about getting rid of Blake's contract doesn't really work when you consider we had to take a much larger (though appropriate for us) contract back in Giggy. I doubt such fortuitous circumstances would occur again. Still, I doubt we'd be able to get Kaberle for any less than 4 or 5 years though, so if he is going to come back, I wouldn't be surprised to see a deal like this.

One question... at his age would we still be hit by the cap if he retires before his contract is up?

eyebleaf said...

@ Schultz: I love you.

@ seankelly: I believe Kaberle will be worth $3.625 million at 37/38. As for your question, if we sign him to this type of deal this off-season, when he's 32, if he retired, he'd come off the cap; we wouldn't take the hit. I believe the age is 35/36, at the time of signing, we're your stuck with the contract against the cap.

general borschevsky said...

Are you ever coming back? Boy are you missed. Kabby 4 Life.

blurr1974 said...

I like it.

Still pro-trade, but as an overly sentimental fella, I can't deny the appeal of seeing a genuine "good guy" start and end his career, all in the same uni...

Miss your POV, hurry back!

Coach Willie said...

I don't think there will be salary cap available to sign Kaberle. Currently the Leafs have 16 players committed for next season for almost $50 million in cap dollars. Now a Kaberle extension doesn't kick in until the 2011-12 season but their younger players will be paid eligible for increases and you can't have half your salary cap going to defensemen. The Leafs need to drop some salary dollars from their defense which is the main reason Kaberle has to go.

eyebleaf said...

@ blurr: Here's to being overly sentimental. Cheers.

@ Coach Willie: There's a simple solution to the financial conundrum: get rid of Jeff Finger. Anyway, anyhow. There's your salary dropped from defence.

Natascia said...

you rock.