Finally, after years of trade deadline speculation and almost-deals that never went through, Tomas Kaberle is leaving the Toronto Maple Leafs.
On Friday, Brian Burke sent the 12-year Leafs veteran defenseman to the Boston Bruins in exchange for prospect Joe Colborne, Boston's first round pick this June and a conditional second round pick. The deal was reported by several different sources. According to TSN, the conditional pick is based on if Kaberle re-signs in Boston or if the B's win the Stanley Cup.
The deal was made possible thanks to a separate trade between Boston and the Atlanta Thrashers. Boston sent Blake Wheeler and defenseman Mark Stuart to Atlanta in exchange for Rich Peverley and young defenseman Boris Valabik.
Peter Chiarelli and the Bruins now have the defenseman they need to become a legitimate contender in the Eastern Conference. He immediately improves the B's 14th ranked power play, as Kaberle is considered one of the best power play quarterbacks in the business. At even strength, he's a mobile, puck-moving defenseman that will no doubt help a B's blue line that's been bailed out by Tim Thomas quite a bit this season.
Kaberle is a free agent at the end of the season. He had to waive his no-trade clause to go to Boston.
For the Leafs, the rebuild is officially underway now, despite what Burke may say to the contrary. Colborne is a very nice prospect, selected 16th overall by the Bruins in 2008. Hockey'sFuture.com had him listed at No. 2 in the Boston organization behind only Tyler Seguin.
In the last two weeks, the Leafs have added two first round picks (from Philadelphia and Boston), two other picks, prospects Colborne and Jake Gardiner and NHL forward Joffrey Lupul. Not too bad at all.