The latest on Tomas Kaberle, Peter Forsberg and Rob Blake.
CBC’s HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA: During the Satellite Hotstove second intermission segment featuring Al Strachan, Rick Westhead and Scott Morrison the following was discussed:
– Strachan claims Philadelphia Flyers GM Paul Holmgren is presently in Sweden to meet with Peter Forsberg, and the Flyers could be prepared to offer Forsberg $2.3 million per season for this season and next. Morrison claims Holmgren’s not the only GM visiting Sweden, as Vancouver Canucks GM Dave Nonis is also among several others there mainly on scouting assignment. Morrison claims one team is prepared to offer Forsberg a three-year contract while another could be offering between $4-$5 million per season.
Rick Westhead suggests Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Tomas Kaberle might be of more interest to some teams than Mats Sundin due to his current contract, naming Carolina and Montreal as teams that might have interest in him. Morrison however believes other Leafs will be moved before Kaberle, suggesting the Leafs would prefer to retain him. Morrison also claimed Leafs ownership could make money available to interim GM Cliff Fletcher to potentially buy out some contracts in June.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I will say this about the potential bidding war for Forsberg: at least if he’s unable to finish his career due to injury his salary can be written off against the cap. That being said, he’s still a risk for if he’s only able to play at half speed he could end up eating valuable cap space that could’ve gone to a better players. Evidently some teams are willing to take that gamble. Regarding Kaberle, I concur with Morrison that the Leafs would prefer to move other players rather than him. Buyouts might be the only way Fletcher can dump some salary, although it’ll still count against their cap at two-thirds the remaining value spread over twice the remaining tenure.
Tomas Kaberle would be a solid acquisition if Gainey could put together a decent package but once again it would take quite a few players and/or prospects, draft picks to convince Cliff Fletcher to move his best defenseman especially when he is signed to an affordable contract (he has 3 years remaining on a 4yr/$17 million deal with a reasonable cap hit of only $4.25 million).