Leafs GM has centre on Christmas list
Is Brian Burke busy working the phones?
As the NHL’s Dec. 19 Christmas roster freeze approaches, the talk is the Toronto GM has been trying to land a top centre — with the Maple Leafs attempting to stay in the playoff race.
As was reported in this space last week, the belief is Burke has already laid the groundwork to deal for Dallas centre Brad Richards. But it is expected the Stars won’t deal Richards until the Feb. 29 trade deadline approaches.
There’s talk the Leafs could be talking to Anaheim GM Bob Murray, who wouldn’t mind shaking up the Ducks. Anaheim would likely want a defenceman in any deal.
Time is ticking since Burke has a self-imposed trade deadline of 10 days before the Christmas freeze.
“They may need a centre, but I don’t know who is going to give him one,” said a league executive. “Plus, he doesn’t have a whole lot of assets to trade.”
THIS ’N’ THAT
The roster for Canada’s national junior team will be announced Monday. Officials from Hockey Canada are waiting for an answer, but they will likely be loaned D Brayden Schenn from the Kings. He is on a two-week conditioning stint with the AHL’s Manchester Monarchs. If Schenn ends up back in the WHL this year, he could be dealt from Brandon to Portland so he can get a run at playing in the Memorial Cup. A player not eligible: Edmonton C Taylor Hall. He didn’t attend the mandatory summer camp. Scouts wonder if the Oilers would like a “do-over” on that decision … There is no timetable for Boston C Marc Savard’s return from post-concussion syndrome, but he’s skating with the team and will be ready in the near future, which means Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli is going to have to make a move. The Bruins could bury a contract in the minors, but if they decide to move a blueliner, there are plenty of teams looking for help on defence.
RUMOURS DU JOUR
If the Rangers decide to go get a centre, and they’re expected to make a move for Richards before the trade deadline, they may deal D Matt Gilroy as part of package. The 26-year-old has a cap hit of $1.75 million and will be an RFA next summer. He’s been passed on the depth chart by Steve Eminger and Michael Sauer. Gilroy is young enough that he could bring return. GM Glen Sather can’t afford to wait much longer … The Blue Jackets are still looking for an offensive blueliner, especially with the club in contention. Columbus GM Scott Howson could have an interest in the Senators’ Chris Campoli … Pittsburgh GM Ray Shero will likely go shopping for a Top 6 winger. Don’t be surprised if the Penguins make a pitch for Florida LW Cory Stillman. He’s going to be part of the cash cleanup by Panthers’ GM Dale Tallon and has Stanley Cup rings from Tampa (2004) and Carolina (2006) … The Oilers might be willing to move C Andrew Cogliano and D Ladislav Smid.
Have a nice Sunday.