Burke says only 'slim' chance of trade before deadline

Christmas will likely come early for the Maple Leafs in the form of no phone call to pack bags for a trade.

Though general manager Brian Burke’s personal holiday roster freeze will not be in effect until after Thursday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers, Burke told the Toronto Sun this morning there was only a “slim” chance of making a deal by then. The National Hockey League’s official halt on trades and waivers does not begin until midnight Dec. 19, lasting through Dec. 27, but Burke likes to have his teams play under as little stress as possible this month.

“Obviously, we want to win games so no one has to worry about a move or something like that,” winger Clark MacArthur said on Thursday morning. “It’s better that he’s given us more time and it’s a good thing that you can settle in and relax for the holidays. But our focus is to get some wins here and settle down before the break.”

Burke usually sets his own freeze date weeks in advance and keeps his word, even though the Leafs losing six of their past nine might have prompted a lot of incoming calls from rival GMs.