Monday, January 25, 2010

Brian Burke and NTCs: Pick a lane

Two quotes from Brian Burke:

"I will not ask Tomas Kaberle to waive his no-trade. I think a big part of being successful is your players knowing that they're treated fairly. Organizational fairness to me is a huge component of what we do... I said we're not going to ask him to waive it. I won't, with any player... That to me goes well beyond as far as our ability to attract free agents, to get people to come here, that notion that players know they'll be treated fairly rises above any deal or offer I might get on one player." - January 14, 2010

"I think (no trade clauses are) still a big problem. We have one, and that's for J.S. Giguere and that's because his son has medical problems and needs to be near UCLA medical school. As well as he's played for us and what a great guy he was, had it been for any other reason, I still wouldn't have done it. I think they're coach killers and they put the player in a bad spot more often than they help him. Once a team decides they don't want you and you say, 'I've got a no-trade,' then I say, 'fine, sit up here near me.' To me, I don't think they accomplish what they're intended to accomplish. So we have very few of them and we intend to keep it that way." - January 18, 2008
OK, so explain this to me like I'm a hockeybuzz subscriber...

If Brian Burke doesn't give out no-trade clauses (except in the case of extraordinary personal circumstances, like Giguere's son), then why would it matter whether potential free agents thought he would honor one?

This is kind of a big deal. Trading Tomas Kaberle is the Leafs last chance to do anything resembling an honest rebuild. Is Burke really going to pass up that opportunity just to reassure potential free agents that he's willing to honor a clause that he himself won't offer them?

Am I missing something? The ship is sinking. It can't still be all about posturing and personal PR, can it?

Update: Some really good discussion in the comments, including some possible explanations for Burke's apparent contradiction. I'm not completely sold yet, but at least I've got something to think about. Keep 'em coming.


  1. It's not specifically about honouring NTC's so much as it's about being a trustworthy GM in general. If you were a player and Burke was trading people with NTC's, would you trust him to be fair with contract negotiations, even if you didn't want an NTC?

  2. Burke knows a great player at great value when he's got one.


  3. @ReeceP...

    If I was a free agent who thought that simply asking a player to waive a NTC was untrustworthy, I'd have to scratch most of the teams in the NHL off my list.

  4. An NTC is something that the player negotiates to have included in his contract, presumably in lieu of more money. Why do we think it's fair to ask a guy to later turn around and just give up something that's part of his contract? We wouldn't expect him to take $500K less just because the Leafs are a bad team right now.

    Burke is still dealing with JFJ's mess, but just because he didn't create the mess doesn't make it okay for him to ignore commitments the team made before he got here.

  5. Why would you want to play for a GM that cared more about whether or not some dude that doesn't play for him trusts him than he does actually building a team that can win?

  6. The ship is sinking? That suggests there was a ship to begin with.

  7. "Explain this to me like I'm a hockeybuzz subscriber."

    ... I love you.

  8. I don't think the two quotes are at odds with each other. Burke doesn't believe NTCs accomplish what people hope, and he would not give them out except in outstanding circumstances

    Kaberle, however, has one as part of his contract, and perhaps Burke views asking a player to waive his NTC as asking the player to void part of his contract.

    Of course, Burke might also just want Kaberle to stick around too.

  9. @Noah

    Burke has to ask for a list of teams, it's his duty. It's Kaberle's right to give a list of zero teams, in which case the case is closed. But Burke must ask; as mentioned, it's not his right, it's his duty. It's why he's paid millions.

  10. @Carson...

    Fair enough. But as I see it, an NTC gives the player a right to veto any trade -- or not to veto, if the player chooses. Simply asking a player whether he would waive it isn't violating anything.

    If Burke asks, and Kaberle says no, fine. But what's wrong with asking?

  11. Hopefully Kaberle gets some common sense and asks for a trade to a contender himself.

    I mean honestly, here we have one of the best puck moving defensemen in the NHL on a decent contract, and for some reason he wants to stay on the hell-hole that is the Toronto Maple Leafs roster. This is ridiculous.

    His misplaced sense of morale is not going to lead him anywhere. If he's smart he'll ask Burke to trade him somewhere like Washington where he could be the final piece of a Stanley Cup winning team in the near future.

    I think that what Burke is doing is a little weak, but I understand the basic concept of what he's trying to accomplish. Kaberle has to take the initiative in this situation, I think.

  12. @Carson and @Pal Hal Pall and @DownGoesBrown . . .

    If Burke asks, Kaberle has two choices:

    1. say yes, and give up something he negotiated for in his contract

    2. say no and become public enemy number 1 in the largest hockey market in the world

    Because of the media insanity around the Leafs, there's no way he can say no and not then be drawn and quartered, just for wanting something that is rightfully his based on his contract.

  13. Assuming contract pay/terms are equal, I'm guesstimating that a player would want to play for a GM that he and his agent can trust. Burke's doing his best to establish that reputation since he's basically painted himself into a corner where his acquisitions needs to come from the FA or US college pool.

    Also..regardless of what Burke says in public, I'd be shocked if he doesn't speak to Kaberle's agent to gauge their appetite for a trade.

  14. @DP and @Noah...

    That's a great point. It's possible Burke just wants everything done in private, and this is a smokescreen so that Kaberle won't get savaged if he ultimately decides to stay.

    But here's the flip side: Burke's not closing the door on a trade. He just says he won't ask.

    So what if Kaberle does decide to waive? Now, instead of making a tough decision to help the team, he looks like he wanted out. Hasn't Burke basically washed his hands of it and made it all about Kaberle?

  15. @DBG

    Not at all ! It's the same situation as Sundin, and Sundin was butchered for 'selfishly' not willing to waive his NTC.
    If Kaberle leaves, they'll frame it as a "he realized that Toronto was in a rebuilding process and he wants to play for a contender and he thought the best way he could contribute was to agree to waive his NTC and allow Burke to trade him for assets".

    There will be some boos for sure..but I think the general sentiment will be positive.

  16. "...Because of the media insanity around the Leafs, there's no way he can say no and not then be drawn and quartered, just for wanting something that is rightfully his based on his contract..."

    That is simply not true. Fletcher had a deal worked out for Carter, everyone knows this, and Kaberle refused to go. Kabby was hardly "drawn and quartered."

    As for notions of Burke doing this as a decoy just so he can privately ask Tomas to waive, well, that is laughable. For one thing, Burke isn't that smart. And secondly, it's not in his nature to publicly say something and then contradict himself privately. He makes a point of saying what he means and meaning what he says, and he makes sure as many people hear it as possible. That's who he his.

    Like another poster wrote, it is his DUTY to rebuild this team, and getting young assets for Kaberle is part of that process. Shame on Burke for not getting this done.

  17. Would Burke trade for a guy with a NTC/NMC? Assuming he could land a deal with a team who has a player willing to waive his NTC/NMC, would that constitute a violation of Burke's principles? Or would that be an "out" that he'd try to rationalize.

    Given the current circumstances, you wouldn't find anyone of sound mind to waive to go to Toronto so that question is purely hypothetical.

    NMC/NTCs may not be granted for a very, very long time here in Ottawa after that Heately bullshit. Hopefully the next CBA has a clause to dissolve a NTC/NMC if the player requests movement.

  18. On a related note, it's interesting to see Burke quoted as saying the playoffs were always the goal from the beginning of the season whereas he was on the record in, I think, late November stating 'I never said the playoffs were our goal'.

    Mouth side 1 meet mouth side 2.

  19. @DGB 11:59

    I think you nailed it with the smokescreen.

    Remember this. A little, itty-bitty bit of proof of Burke saying one thing and doing another.

  20. Two points:

    1. Maybe I'm being semantic, but I think there's a difference between asking Kaberle and asking Kaberle's agent about a trade. My guess is Burke asks the agent for a list of teams that Kaberle would be willing to go to and if a deal can be made, it will be made.

    2. As for it affecting potential UFA signings isn't the issue moot? If Burke won't give out NTCs going forward, UFAs don't have to worry about an NTC not being honoured by the Leafs.

  21. @pettycamp . . .

    Does "everyone" know about the Carter deal, or mostly just the hard-core fans?

    Certainly everyone knows about Sundin refusing to waive, and he got hammered despite being fan favourite, long-serving captain, near the end of his career, etc. And things seemed a bit less desperate back then

  22. DGB - Here's another head scratcher about Burke.

    He apparently won't ask a guy to waive an NTC out of so-called integrity issues, but if the media are to be believed, Burke will bury a competent NHLer in the minors...

  23. @THM 12:35

    Technically, he didn't lie : "I do not contemplate an offer sheet on Phil Kessel at this time".

    He didn't put forth an offer sheet..he made a trade.'s semantics. But he did wind up telling the truth.

  24. @MF37...

    Good point.

    "If you sign with the Leafs and you have a NTC, we will never even ask you to waive it. But we would send you to the Marlies and effectively end your NHL career because we mismanaged our cap situation. Sign here."

  25. I see a very clear line in the sand with this whole Kaberle situation.

    Burke is no idiot! He knows the value Kaberle present to the Leafs, both as a player and a "tradable asset" (for trade purposes)

    - As a player: great puck moving D-man, phenominal outlet passer, all around good set-up man

    - As an asset: really our only player who is consistently an all-star (Kessle may be one day, but not yet)

    Now on the NTC front, the big differnce here is that Burke is above all a man of his word. I can't think of any situation where he has lied, and the example THM is poorly thought out, as DP pointed out.

    Being a man of integrity, he is honoring the contracts that are on his team. Kaberle has himself a limited NTC, but that goes out the window in the summer. So by Burke saying that he will not ask TK to waive the NTC, I don't think he will, nor should he OBLIGATED to do so. HOWEVER, come summer time, when that NTC is no longer in effect, that is a totally different story. Which is the underlying point that I think Burke is implying. He will not ask TK to waive, but if TK wants some control over where he goes, then TK had better step up, because come summer time, he doesn't have a say in what happens.

  26. Sounds to me like Burke already knows Kaberle won't waive. I'm sure they've already discussed it, Burke didn't wake up yesterday in a cold sweat when he realized his team isn't going to make the playoffs and he can't trade his best defenseman.

  27. @MF37
    As for byrying a contract in the minors, he's not doing the contract an injustice, the guy is still getting his money to play hockey, just not for the Leafs. That is stipulated in theire contract as a real posibility if they don't perform to standard, otherwise they would be given NMC. It would be different if he was doing it to a guy who had a NMC.

    As for burying "competent NHLers", when has he done that?

  28. @Lucid...

    True, burying a guy in the minors (which Burke has never done, but has talked about doing several times) doesn't violate a contract. But neither does asking a guy to waive his NTC.

    That's where I get lost in all of this. Burke obviously can't force any player to waive a no-trade. But why can't he ask? There's nothing in any NTC that says the team can't still explore trades and present options back to the player.

    I guess I don't see where he's even violating the spirit of the clause. It sounds like he'd just be doing his job.


    Interesting. Hadn't thought of that.

  29. @lucid

    re-read my post. I said, "If the media are to be believed..."

    I also think DGB has the nuance right on this. Asking a player to provide a list of teams they'd accept a trade to isn't an violation of a NTC (and there is gobs of precedence for it throughtout the NHL).

  30. @MF37 / DGB

    I agree, I don't personally think that asking it is a violation of the contract. Having said that, I also don't think that NOT asking is grounds to be thought as not doing his job.

    It's not as if he didn't explore the trade route when he had the chance (Kessle for Kaberle + 1st, if memory serves me correctly).

    Not to mention the backlash that would come from him admitting he did ask. From the media, the other players and the fans.

    Having said all of that, I'm not totally opposed to the idea of TK getting traded. He was supposed to be the back bone of our PP, and he damn sure isn't a the backbone of our shutdown D. Trading TK can't possibly make our PP worse can it?

  31. My example of Burke misdirecting (cf. "nuances" per DGB's comment & main post) classified as 'poorly thought out' followed by calling Burke a man of integrity... wow.

  32. I'm impressed with how constructive and thoughtful the comments are in this discussion compared to, say, Drunk Jays Fans.

  33. @THM

    Can you please explain how Burke was "misdirecting" people when he said: "I do not contemplate an offer sheet on Phil Kessel at this time"?

    From my perspective this is a 100% truthful statement, without a shred of misdirection, but am curious as to how you see it as so.

  34. The answer to your query, Lucid, is in your question.

    From your perspective indeed, 6 months after the article was written. From anyone's perspective at this point, including every person who read, embedded in that article, this passage:

    "Burke acknowledged that acquiring the second-round pick did open up more options for the team, but he denied that Kessel was part of his future plans.

    "We are not going to (make an offer)," Burke said. "That's not the plan now, no."

    Otherwise, I'm really stuck on the definition of misdirection!

  35. @THM

    I do understand how you can read that article and the way it is worded, I can see how one would think there was some misguidance with his words. However, the misguidance stems from the media outlet that wrote that article and not from Brian Burke himself, and that is the key difference.

    If you watch the actual video that the acticle quotes from.

    Burke is asked about having traded for the pick. Asnwers with his "chain of events" quote.

    This quote:
    "We are not going to (make an offer)," Burke said. "That's not the plan now, no."

    Was not entirely true, Burke was asked if he was "ready to make an offer to a guy like a Phil Kessle", meaning an offer sheet, not a trade offer. (You don't offer the player the trade proposal).

    But even if you want to say that I am jumping to conculsions there, if you watch the interview further, Burke gets asked "are you looking at dealing picks for a forward", Burke response "Right now, yes."

    It is a classic case of only providing certain details to make a compelling argument, from the side of the person who wrote that article. Burke never alluded to the idea that the offer sheet was his intention, he was transparent in admitting to conversations with Chiarelli over a long period of time and was also very clear on wanting to trade picks to the player because the offer sheet was not a garuntee.

    Once again, from the person who wrote the article, I'll agree on the misguidance, but there was none from Brian Burke if you went right to the source for your information. Which, I believe, has always been the case with BB.

  36. Lots of work put into that defense of a guy who knows how to play the media. Burke homerism at its best. I'm sure the non-offer sheet was your perspective back in August when you first read that article. All those guys on TSN and Sportsnet should've maybe read the article word for word then or at least consulted you.

    On the matter of honesty and integrity, I wonder what Burkie's response to a question such as this would be. "Did you say, do or suggest anything that may have infuenced the actions of your team and coach towards Steve Moore"?

  37. Yeah, the whole situation really sounds like Kaberle said to BB, "yeah, I'm not going anywhere. I want to be part of the rebuild" and BB is saying "ok, how can I make the best out of this" (besides, obviously, keeping a good player.) So Burke is going to the media and playing the "honorable general" card--the man who wont tread on the men under his command.

    He's a big civil war buff; no doubt he has the whole stoic self-sacrifice, for-the-good-of-the-soldier speech memorized. Keeping up appearances. Smart move, in my opinion.

  38. I just think Burke does not means "asking" when he says asking. He means that he will not do as Trader Cliff did back in 2007-2008, when he forced McCabe to leave.
    He is basically saying "If he doesn't want to leave, he is not leaving, I will not try do coerce him in any unfairly way."
    But I really think he cares about how people think he is trustworthy otherwise he would already waived Finger and his bad contract...

  39. Easy answer: he's not asking him to waive his no-trade clause, because he doesn't need to

    From a Mirtle interview with Burke last week:

    "...he has a no trade – but if our team misses the playoffs, the no trade disappears from when the draft begins until the middle of the summer, I think it's August 15th. So at that point, the player is subject to be traded to 29 other teams. He loses any control he might have over that process."

    So, he does nothing at the deadline, works out a deal after the season with whoever he wants and trades him at the draft.

    Burke gets to paint himself as the NHL's model of integrity (which he loves to do), he can still get good value for Kaberle (because his piling up points on a cheap contract) and he never has to so much as speak to Kaberle's agent ever again.

    Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

  40. @Jamie...

    I don't think that works, and here's why: Kaberle is worth far more at the deadline than he would be in the summer.

    For one, buyers will usually pay more at the deadline than any other time of year. And in Kaberle's case, if you trade for him now you get him for two playoff runs instead of just one, at only a little bit more total money.

    Besides, we heard the same theory last year and Burke came up empty trying to move him all summer.

    If that's Burke's game, he's sacrificing a lot of trade value just to look good.

  41. Keep up serious posts.

  42. I'll tell you this much... this whole notion of taking on bad contracts only to bury them in the minors seems hard to believe. Let's say Burke gets a high pick from Edmonton to take on Horcoff's ridiculous contract. Yes, he and Lowe would never be trading partners, but this is a hypothetical.
    Horcoff can't be bought out, because he'll be on the Leafs salary cap for the next 10+ years! And he can't be buried on the Marlies because that center spot belongs to Kadri very soon or some other young player who needs to develop down there. So exactly where does Burke fit in all these "bad" contracts he's rumored to acquire?

  43. this whole notion of taking on bad contracts only to bury them in the minors seems hard to believe.

    While Olaf Kolzig wasn't put in the minors he, along with his salary, was effectively acquired for a tag-along 4th round pick. Tampa got what is probably best described as "some guy".

    While not the same thing, it's analagous.

  44. I'm very skeptical of Burke's willingness to bury someone in the minors. If he was willing, wouldn't any of the following players have already served a stint there : Wallin, Exelby, Wallin, Finger, Wallin, Toskala, Wallin, Blake, Wallin ?

  45. @DP

    you forgot wallin

  46. a bit off topic but can someone please explain to me why we need to trade Kaberle? He is good is that not a fact? How is a draft pick better than Kaberle. A draft pick could be Sean Haggerty it could be John Macintyre, it could be joe sacco. Cox says his time has expired. What does that mean? you're only allowed to have a good player for x amount of years? he doesn't want to go. he is a really good player and on the offensive side of things he is a superstar d-man. He controls the play, he never panics, he makes ridiculous passes etc. We have room for 5 other bruising d-men. why is Kaberle so important to trade? Oh and he also gets paid peanuts. so what's the problem? someone please give me a good argument for trading him because i'm confused.

  47. My bad..I'm not sure how his 0 goals in 35 games escaped me.

    DGB..I'm not sure if you take requests, but I'd love to see an article that's a Tale of the Tape between Wallin and Wall-E. I'm pretty you'll come to the same conclusion I have...I'd rather have the machine that cleans trash than the machine that is trash.

  48. I think Burke's point is that while he does not like NTC's, he doesn't want to be seen as a GM that will renege on a deal.

    A perfect example has to be the agreement with Gustavsson, where Burke must have promised him he'd also sign Wallin and not release him or send him to the minors, regardless of how godawful he is.

    This should help attract future shitty free agents, as they will know that no matter how much they suck, they'll have a spot on the team...

  49. @chuck diesel

    You trade him at this year's deadline to maximize value. His value will never be higher than it is right now, and he will be not be an elite player anymore when the Leafs finally do become competitive again. Keeping him only delays the rebuild.

  50. pettycamp but don't you think he has like 7 years left? he doesn't exactly rely on physical prowess so that can't fail him. He is very Leetch like in that way and Leetch played til he was very old.How long do you expect this rebuild to last? I actually don't have a problem trading him for a guy like Kessel or Jeff Carter (ie young and already good) but for draft picks.. makes me scared.. especially if it's a late pick what's the point.

  51. @chuck diesel

    absolutely - if they can only get picks, they should keep him. But if they're getting a proven forward with upside, and a top draft pick, I agree with moving him.
    As for how long the rebuild will take? We'll both be dead, my friend.

  52. @Chuck...

    You certianly don't have to trade Kaberle. But there's a good case for at least considering it, including:

    - You need more picks and prospects, and he's the only tradable asset who'll bring anything significant

    - He may have several years left in his career, but he'll be on the decline soon -- his prime is now. The Leafs aren't ready to win anything right now, so it makes sense for them (and for him) to move him when his value is high.

    - Much of his trade value is tied to his great contract, but that only has one more year on it. Tomas Kaberle at $4.5M is a guy every team in the league would love to have. Kaberle at $6.5M... probably not.

    Again, none of that means Burke has to move him if the offers aren't there. But he won't know what the offers are if he refuses to even consider a trade without Kaberle pushing him for it.

  53. 52 comments!! is that a record DGB?

    Hey let me ask you guys this
    Sundin refused to waive his NTC and was cheered when he came back.

    McCabe waived his and he gets booed unmercifully when he plays here.

    What kind of message is that sending to Tomas Kaberle?

    Think about it.

  54. @Meat...

    I'd say the message is "score into the other team's net".

    And the record for most comments was in the "Win a Copy Of the Leafs Annual" post, but that doesn't count since it was a contest. The true champ is the flowchart. Still 20 or so to go to beat that.

  55. I think McCabe was the unofficial leader of the Muskola pack who collectively refused to waive at the deadline a couple years ago.
    McCabe was the poster boy for the whole selfish, me-first, sense of entitlement that has been rotting this franchise from the inside long before this pitiful season started. That's why McCabe, Tucker, and Raycroft had to go first when Fletch began the housecleaning. Burke seems to think that rotten stench is gone but he's wrong... it's merely been transferred to people like Blake and Stempniak.

  56. Hey DGB, sorry to go offtopic but I thought you might find this funny: Kerry Fraser in his "last game in vancouver" whatever that means just waved off a shorthanded tying goal in buffalo v vancouver. The net came off hinges like a half second after the puck went in so he probably thought they scored when it was off hinges. He then justified it by giving buffalo ANOTHER penalty to go 3v5 against sedins. The homefield announcers and the guys between games all say it was a godawful call and Lindy Ruff nearly exploded.

    An ignominious end to a terrible career.

  57. It's entirely possible that Burke simply changed his mind between 2008 and 2010. Very likely? Probably not, but not outside the realm of possibility either.

    Why doesn't Somebody ask him?

  58. Brian Burke just needs to shut the fuck up. Him and Ronnie Baby need to take a month long hiatus from the media. They need all the time and energy they can possible scrape together, and put it into the team. I hope they are working 14 hour days, 7 days a week. Leafs are in a recession, and their "braintrust" (god-awful word)needs to cut back on frivilous time-wasters such as: Press conferences, post-game media scrums, practice day media scrums, media scrums (general), gameday interviews, phone interviews, email interviews, interviews (general), LeafsTV, and interacting with the media in general in any shape, form or fashion.
    I really worry about the amount of time and preparation put into media commitments by Burke, and how that time and preparation could be better used. And Wilson's barbs are starting to sound rehearsed.

    -Maple Leaf Mole

  59. Yeah DGB, I am with you. I don't see why asking Kaberle for a trade is wrong. Kaberle is a professional hockey player. He knows about contracts, rebuilds much better than any one of us fans. He knows that it is a logical move to try to trade himself now. As such, this is not a personal decision on behalf of Burke, it's just logic. In fact it's a bit of a compliment. If Kaberle sucked this year then his trade value does down.

    Besides, just because someone asks for a NTC does not necessarily mean that they don't want a trade. In a NTC you trade $ for personal stability. Personal stability may be an asset at one point in time but situations change. For example, if you sign a NTC cause you want stability for the wife and kids, you may think differently if that situation changes (divorce, the kids want to move, the extended family moves it's a good idea to move to be closer to grandparents... whatever). You sign a NTC cause you LOVE Toronto, but years later you look around and realise that you only have a few years to win a Cup.

    I see asking Kaberle if he was interested in a trade (assuming it's handled properly) as the classy thing to do. NTC means Kaberle is "Master of his Domain' (ha) give him the power and the chance to pick his own destiny. Don't assume that you know his situation.

    All this being said, you have to handle it properly. Sometimes how we handle personal situations has longer term consequences for the overall reputation of the team. I think this is what Burke was alluding to before. Basically Burke said that he didn't want to be a dick, cause that hurts the team's reputation. He is saying that if you get a good reputation as treating your people fairly, that is a bargaining chip down the road. Asking someone if they wish to move is not a dick move... handled properly it's a very kind one.
    By not offering Kaberle a trade, you are almost insulting to his intelligence, and you don't give him that chance to leave in a classy, positive way if he in fact does want out.

  60. I agree with Steve. I think Burke already knows that asking Kaberle to waive his no-trade would be fruitless, because the media's only been asking him about it every other damn day. I expect that as soon as Kaberle's answer changes from "I just like it here. Can't you people understand that? WHY WON'T YOU LEAVE ME ALONE" to "Ok, fine, you win, I might consider waiving for the good of the team, etc., and I need some goddamn peace and quiet" Burke will be all over him.

    If there's one thing Burke is good at, it's lawyerly doublespeak. It's certainly not going to weigh on him if he says now that he won't ask Kaberle to waive, but still trades him before the deadline, and even if that does come about because Burke did finally ask Kaberle to waive, Burke probably already knows how he's going to justify it to the media & fans. Don't forget, this is the man who very easily explained away his "I would never sign another team's RFA" when the Oilers signed Penner from his Ducks, then used the threat of an RFA offer to get the Bruins to trade him Kessel, not to mention somehow reconciling his "I would never trade for a man who reneged on a long-term committment" comment on Heatley with his previous trade for Chris Pronger. Still not entirely sure how he pulled that latter one off. I think people just lost interest, 'cause everyone knew he wasn't trading for Heatley anyway.

    We'll see just how much these "principled stances" of Burke's are worth some year when it's past his "self-imposed holiday deadline" but before the NHL's Christmas trade freeze and he gets a dynamite offer for, say, Jason Blake that's only on the table until Christmas. It's easy to say you're not going to trade a guy too close to Christmas when there's no trade activity then anyway. Virtually everything Burke says comes with an unspoken "BUT..." at the end of it.

  61. I wouldn't ask Kaberle to waive it. He actually took a pay cut to get his NTC, and it should be honoured. Its not like Mc Cabe, who took a massive a salary that he didn't deserve and a NMC to go with it.

  62. @Llama...

    I guess that's the issue. Does honoring an NTC mean never even asking?

    As I see it, Burke isn't doing anything wrong if goes to Kaberle with a list of teams that want to deal for him. If Kaberle thinks it over and decides he wants to stay, fine. Contract honored.

    But maybe Kaberle says yes. After all, as Marcie points out, things can change over the years. Kaberle asked for an NTC because he wanted to be in control. He still is. Why not ask?

  63. Here's what I think. IF you give a guy a NTC, then you should not be asking him to waive it later. Burke is not the one who gave it to him, so in the sense of his "duty" to improve the team and all that, yeah, he should at least ask.

    Burke is probably thinking institutionally. That is to say it doesn't matter that it was JFJ who gave him the contract, it was the Leafs and now he is the Leafs, and he has to honour it.

    So it would be dishonourable if he personally was the one who had given Kaberle that clause. He still needs to say he won't bug him, but he can ask without really violating his principles.

    I'm almost a lawyer myself you see, so I can understand where he's coming from on this. ;)

  64. Think of it like this...

    If Burke pushes Kaberle for a trade and it goes badly, you guys will eat him alive and *never* forgive him.

    If Kaberle askes to be traded and it goes badly then Burke can legitimately say that the long-suffering, aging, player asked for a chance to go to a contender and the request was honored out of respect. Then Kaberle can be branded a selfish traitor who bailed in your hour of need.

    I think Burke is in a catch-22 and nothing he does this season will make the fans happy.

  65. All the big teams right now were built off a few strong draft picks in a row. Toronto needs draft picks badly for a rebuild, hopefully Burke gets rid of a bunch of guys for draft picks this year. And they all need to practice. Fundamentals like passing, and receiving passes. It's really painful to watch Toronto hockey right now.

    I think it would be worth giving up basically any player they have right now for high draft picks. Maybe not Gustavsson. Should see if Boston wants Tyler Bozak! Just don't play him anymore to keep his PPG up.

  66. Chris said...

    All the big teams right now were built off a few strong draft picks in a row.

    The top 6 teams in the league as of this morning are SJ, CHI, WSH, NJ, BUF, and PIT. Three of those teams went the tanking route, but only one has won the Cup.

    And it can't be mentioned enough that the biggest piece of Pittsburgh's Cup was acquired via a draft lottery following the lockout. Pittsburgh didn't so much tank for Crosby so much as they were awarded him in the Lotto 649.

    The pro-tanking argument is rooted in pure fantasy. Drafting well doesn't mean drafting first every year for 5 years. You need to abe ble to maximize every single pick you have at your disposal, and that's what San Jose, Jersey and Buffalo have been doing, and it's what Detroit has done for years.

  67. Mr. Koolaide aka BlueBudsJanuary 27, 2010 at 4:02 PM

    Think one thing we really need to explore is exactly to whom is Burke speaking here: "...he has a no trade – but if our team misses the playoffs, the no trade disappears from when the draft begins until the middle of the summer, I think it's August 15th. So at that point, the player is subject to be traded to 29 other teams. He loses any control he might have over that process."

    Now to think this point wasn't brought up to the Kaberle camp or even if that idea isn't in the back of Kaberle's mind, considering that they will not qualify for the post season this year is something we really need to think about.

    Put yourself in Kaberle's shoes. Say you want to be a Leaf, you know your one of the best players on the team that could net some serious return; you know Burke as the GM has to do his job, after all, pro hockey is a business and as such need to make tough and beneficial decisions for the organization.

    If I was holding a NTC, now keep in mind that a no trade clause does not mean you will never be traded, it just means as Burke said it, you have control over the process, ie if you want to go you can if not you can nix the deal; but the kicker in Kaberle's contract is that if they do not make the playoffs - which they will not, you seriously have to ask yourself, would you rather have some say in your situation or would you hope and pray come the 15th you're still a Leaf?

    I am sure by this point (I'm betting it already happened), a conversation between Kaberle and Burke took place. I'm sure it went something like Burke letting Kaberle know that he is getting offers, he wants to move him and will in the off season. He respects the contract and would rather Kaberle tell him which teams (a double figure number which means 10 or more but I'm guessing 15 is what Burke wants from him) and Burke will do his best to land him on one of those teams. Kaberle knows as most of us do, is that Burke will ship him out to the team that eventually offers the best return, whether that team is a team on that list before the trade deadline, the draft or if worse comes to worse, and failing making a viable trade for the team of Kaberle's liking, after Aug 1st thus going to any of the other 29 teams who offers the best package if one becomes available of Burke's liking.

    As much as we think why would Burke say one thing and do something else, one should really be asking, if I'm Thomas Kaberle, why would I give up control of my destiny and not submit a list of teams? If you recall last year, Burke thought he had Kessel for Kaberle and that was before Aug. 1st when Kaberle's NTC was still in effect. I believe Burke had a list of teams as he does now, of teams Kaberle would accept a trade to, its just a matter if Burke gets the package he wants and who he wants from what teams on that list. Its only smart if you ask me. One other thing that missed trade proved is that things in Toronto can be kept secret and that Burke really is and has the players interests in mind.

    So in short, if you were Kaberle, what do you think you would do given the situation? Also by Burke doing all this song and dance, is there any doubt that its really just out of respect or protection of said player? I think the chips will always be on Burke's side as most GM know exactly what Kaberle brings and the good far out weight the bad. Whether Kaberle moves in March, June or Aug, the net return will be about the same, either he's gonna be the final piece to your championship team now or he will be that piece that will be or could of been.

  68. ... it was stuck on 67 comments ... I couldn't let that stand

  69. This is a simple situation that a lot of people are reading too much into.

    Kaberle obviously doesn't want to waive his NTC for whatever reason.

    If Burke comes out and says as much, then the media/fans crucify Kaberle exactly the same way they did Sundin when Fletcher said to the effect 'I'll leave that decision up to Mats'.

    If Burke says he just won't ask ANYBODY to waive a NTC, the media/fans kind of scratch their head a bit and if they're going to be mad at anybody, it will be Burke, certainly not Kaberle.

    Now ask yourself, from a player's perspective, what are you going to prefer? Do you want a GM who protects his player's like that, or a guy *cough*Fletchet*cough* who completely throws them under the bus and effectively kills them in the media, simply for exercising a clause in their contract that both sides negotiated in good faith?

  70. @Mike:
    I agree with you 100% except the part about where you say: Kaberle obviously doesn't want to waive his NTC. He may not want to be made public that he will or wont but given last years draft day blotched Kessel trade indicates that he is willing to wave it. Its all a matter of to whom he will accept a trade to and if those teams want/need or have something we want or need.

  71. Isn't it ironic then, that Burke was able to pick up Giggy in a trade today. It would seem that his reputation to honour NTC's and treat players fairly has encouraged Giggy to waive his NTC to join Burke and the Leafs.