Leafs’ loss prompts more trade talk

The Leafs performance in Thursday’s 3-2 loss to Columbus was disturbing enough to prompt serious talk among observers that it’s time for GM Brian Burke to make a trade to help his troubled team.

Burke, of course, does not listen to media rants and won’t be swayed by them. But Thursday’s disappointment certainly carried the point home in large part because it further deflated an almost flat hope that this roster can do very much to rescue a playoff berth.

So, with 46 games left on the schedule, and little belief outside the dressing room that this roster can salvage at least a drive for the playoffs, the focus turns to what can be done to bolster that belief.

Burke readily admits he’ll improve the club if the right trade can be had, much like the house cleaning the GM performed at the end of last January to turn things around.

Thanks to those deals, the Leafs became one of the youngest teams in the NHL. It was a good platform to build on, but one that comes with the inconsistencies seen this year, and capsulized in Thursday’s loss.

What happened Thursday — a turnover laden game that also featured a dreadful second period and a bad night for defensemen — was not the product of a younger roster.

Those turnovers came from its most expensive and experienced players — Mike Komisarek, François Beauchemin and Phil Kessel.

There were four unbelievable turnovers in all; one went off the post, and two went into the net. Kristian Huselius bagged two goals as a result and R.J. Umberger got the game winner on the power play early in the third to seal the win.

The score flattered the Leafs since they combined turnovers with a second period in which they admitted they “let off the pedal” and were outshot 11-3 in the process.

So, the Leafs are making it painfully obvious they are not the sum of the parts Burke thought were good enough collectively to challenge for a playoff spot.