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Kaberle trade talk begins anew Add to ...

Another year, another round of Tomas Kaberle trade talks.

This time around, however, Kaberle is set to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer, meaning the Toronto Maple Leafs will receive no compensation if he signs with another team come July 1.

A new contract for the veteran defenceman remains unlikely, however, and Leafs GM Brian Burke and Kaberle's agent Rich Curran are expected to discuss this week which teams Kaberle will accept a deal to before the Feb. 28 trade deadline.

For his part, Kaberle said he hasn't yet been involved in any of those talks.

"I haven't heard anything about that yet," he said. "Obviously if something comes up, you guys going to be the first to know. Every year is the same, you know? There's going to be a lot of talk, especially towards the end.

"Like I said, if something comes up, you guys going to know about it. I'm just going to focus on the games."

In his 12th NHL season, Kaberle has spent his entire career in Toronto and will play his 870th game as a Leaf tonight against the Florida Panthers. He is eighth all-time in games played, fifth in assists and 11th in points recorded as a Leaf.

Kaberle refused to comment on if he'll be willing to waive his no-trade clause.

"Like I said, if something comes up, we can talk," he said. "That's what my agent's for and I just worry about the hockey games."

Wilson, Kessel back with Leafs

Both coach Ron Wilson and winger Phil Kessel returned to the team today for the first time since the all-star break. Wilson was in Hershey, Pa., yesterday to be a part of the AHL Hall of Fame ceremonies for his late father, Larry, while Kessel was in Raleigh, N.C., for the NHL all-star game.

Wilson said it was a touching moment for his family, who remembered his father's on-ice accomplishments 32 years after his death. Larry Wilson played briefly for the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks and had a lengthy career in the AHL with the Buffalo Bisons.

His son was only in his early 20s and playing for the Leafs when he died at the age of 48, suffering an apparent heart attack while out for a run.

"The American League just did a phenomenal job," Wilson said (audio) of the induction ceremony, where his uncle Johnny Wilson, a former Red Wings forward who won four Stanley Cups in Detroit, spoke for the family.

Wilson wasn't in the mood to discuss a recent poll in which NHL players pegged him as the coach they'd least like to play for.

"Well it's an anonymous poll," Wilson said. "So I personally don't put much creedence into things like that."

Kessel, meanwhile, wasn't all that talkative either (as per usual) but said he enjoyed his all-start experience despite being the last man standing in last Friday's all-star draft.

"I had a good time down there," Kessel said. "It was all fun. I said it like 100 times, I don't care [about going last], to tell you the truth. It didn't bother me at all. Obviously I was honoured just to be there. It was a good experience for me."

Leafs lineup

MacArthur - Grabovski - Kulemin Crabb - Bozak - Kessel Armstrong - Boyce - Versteeg Rosehill - Brent - Brown

Beauchemin - Phaneuf Kaberle - Schenn Gunnarsson - Komisarek

Giguere (starter) Reimer

Panthers lineup (based on last game)

Booth - Santorelli - Olesz Dvorak - Reasoner - Stillman Frolik - Weiss - Higgins Hordichuk - Matthias - Dadonov

Allen - Wideman Ellerby - Kulikov Garrison - Weaver

Clemmensen (starter) Vokoun

 

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