Ever since the 2009 NHL entry draft, when the Bruins and Maple Leafs reportedly had a deal fall apart at the last minute that would've sent Leafs defenseman Tomas Kaberle and draft picks to Boston for Phil Kessel and draft picks, the Bruins and Kaberle have been linked in trade rumors. Kessel ended up going to Toronto in a later deal that saw the Bruins get Toronto's first- and second-round picks in 2010 -- which turned into Tyler Seguin with the No. 2 overall pick and Jared Knight in the second round -- as well as Toronto's 2011 first round pick. Kaberle remained a Leaf.
But now with Kaberle’s no-trade clause set to kick back in Aug. 15, the window to trade the puck-moving blueliner is closing and rumors of Kaberle heading to Boston will once again start to run rampant.
ESPN.com’s Scott Burnside tweeted Monday that the number of teams interested in Kaberle is "in double-digits". Sources tell ESPNBoston.com that indeed the Bruins are one of those teams interested in Kaberle.
One name to watch from the Bruins' end is Marc Savard, who has been the center of trade rumors all summer. At the draft this past June, reports surfaced that Savard had actually waived his no-trade clause, enabling the Bruins to deal him to the Ottawa Senators or the Maple Leafs. But a source close to Savard told ESPNBoston.com recently that "never happened". And Leafs GM Brian Burke was on the record in late June saying he was not interested in trading for Savard.
But while Savard may not have given the green light to a trade then, another source said the Bruins' leading scorer in three of the last four seasons might be willing to do so now because of the constant trade rumors. According to this source, Savard has purposely laid low, but is not happy that’s he’s been a part of trade talk after signing what many consider a "cap friendly" seven-year extension in December that has an annual cap-hit of $4 million. According to this source, while Savard wants to stay in Boston and "loves being a Bruin", he "probably would" accept a deal to either the Leafs or Senators now.
Another factor that could come into play is the fact that the league is now investigating Savard’s new deal in the wake of an arbitrator voiding Ilya Kovalchuck’s 17-year, $102 million contract.
Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli has remained mum on his interest in Kaberle and won't comment on the Savard speculation only to say last month that "Savard wants to be a Bruin and is working hard to prepare for next season". But with the Bruins in excess of $3 million over the $59.4 million NHL salary cap -- not including the plan to put Marco Sturm on long-term injury reserve -- and the logjam at the center position, the Savard rumors will continue until he's either dealt or the team says it won't trade him.
The Kaberle situation will also stir the pot until he is either dealt this week or his no-trade clause kicks back in on Sunday. Both players, of course, can still be dealt at any time if they request a trade or give their teams permission to deal them.
Until Sunday, expect plenty of Kaberle and Savard rumors.