Leafs to shop Gunnarsson?

In a perfect world, Burke would like to use his blue liner surplus as bait for a possible trade for forward help. Gunnarsson is a likely candidate and will be showcased while playing with Phaneuf.

Franson has an encouraging upside and would seem to be in the team’s long-term plans. Aulie, meanwhile, is just a phone call away, especially if Gardiner has some hiccups once the regular season kicks off and the bullets start flying for real.

Komisarek, who has been less-than-advertised since signing as a free agent in 2009, has looked quicker during camp. The thinking is that his veteran influence makes him an ideal partner for Gardiner.

Gardiner showed some warts in his game on Saturday, the second of back-to-back outings against the Red Wings. But it was his fine performance 24 hours earlier at Joe Louis Arena on Friday that showed just how promising he can be, scoring a goal and an assist against a very strong Detroit lineup.

“I have to say he’s been the surprise of camp,” Wilson said. “He certainly has earned a spot.”

How long the smooth-skating Gardiner stays with the parent club remains to be seen. Either way, given what we’ve seen so far, his natural talents alone makes the Beauchemin trade seem like a coup for the Leafs.