Tomas Kaberle Traded To Boston

It’s finally, finally over.  Really.  The Toronto Maple Leafs have reportedly traded Tomas Kaberle to the Boston Bruins for prospect Joe Colborne, the Bruins’ first-round pick in 2011 and a Bruins’ conditional draft pick.

For the Leafs, it’s a good return for a player with an expiring contract and for the Bruins it’s another piece in what looks like a pretty impressive hockey team, and some offensive help for the Bruins’ defense..  The Leafs, who had no first-round pick just a few days ago, now have two.

Kaberle has played his entire NHL career with Toronto since coming into the NHL in 1998.

EDIT: The moves continue for Boston. They’ve traded Blake Wheeler and Mark Stuart to Atlanta for Rich Peverley and Boris Valabik.

While the Internet collapses under the weight of these developments, we’ll try and analyze the situation a bit.

The Kaberle trade comes after seemingly endless speculation and wait.  And we’re not just talking about over the last few days.

The Bruins and Leafs almost hammered out a trade that would see Kaberle play in Beantown back in 2009.  That deal, which fell apart on draft day, would have seen Kaberle and the Leafs first-round pick that year (which turned out to be Nazem Kadri) head to Boston in exchange for Phil Kessel.

If you take the Kessel trade that actually happened into account when considering today’s trade, this is what you’re now left with:

Phil Kessel, Joe Colborne (the Bruins’ first-round pick in 2008), the Bruins’ first-round pick in 2011 and a conditional draft pick end up in Toronto.

Tomas Kaberle, a 2010 first-round pick (Tyler Seguin), a 2010 second-round pick (Jared Knight) and a 2011 first-round pick are in Boston.

Of course, hindsight is 20/20, so looking at a trade that way doesn’t really mean much, but it’s still interesting.

It does, however, look like both teams benefit from this trade.

While the Leafs get a needed draft pick, Kaberle will provide some much-needed offense to a Boston blue line that includes Zdeno Chara, Steven Kampfer, Dennis Seidenberg, Andrew Ference, Mark Stuart, Adam McQuaid and Johnny Boychuk [EDIT] and now Boris Valabik.  Kaberle’s 38 points make him the leading point scorer on the Bruins’ defense.

Boston currently leads the Northeast Division and they sit third in the Eastern Conference.  That means that, in all likelihood, Kaberle will get the chance to participate in the playoffs for the first time since 2004.

The Bruins’ salary situation is another point to consider.

According to CapGeek, the maximum cap hit that they could acquire at this point is $2,522,705.  Kaberle has an annual cap hit of $4,250,000, which means his has $1,165,323 in salary remaining this year.  That leaves many wondering if the Bruins will try to shed some salary after this trade.  Blake Wheeler‘s name has come up a few times. EDIT: He has been traded along with Mark Stuart.  See above.

Burke traded with two of the Eastern Conference’s most powerful teams this week in Boston and Philadelphia.  How will the rest of the conference respond?  Will Kaberle pay off for Boston?  Will he just be a rental for the Bruins or will he re-sign this summer?  Does this trade mean the Leafs are now officially “sellers” or is the last playoff spot still a hope?

Despite all the questions, at least this whole situation is finally over.  It’s been a busy couple of days leading up to the deadline.  The Score’s Trade Tracker 2011 has all the deals listed.