Will Leafs' Pony ride out of town at trade deadline?
Almost 6,000 fans crammed into the GM Centre in Oshawa to watch the Maple Leafs practice on Sunday in another testament to the undying popularity of the team and its players.
For a few Leafs, though, the practice that charmed local hockey fans and raised $10,000 for the Eastview Boys and Girls Club could have been their last hurrah in Toronto.
It’s expected that at some point over the next three days leading up to the March 3 NHL trade deadline, at least one, and probably more, Leafs could be dealt to new clubs.
For Leafs like Alex Ponikarovsky and Lee Stempniak –who have the highest trade value on the team – the Olympic roster freeze lifted at midnight Sunday night, and they might not make it to Tuesday’s game against Carolina.
Leaf GM Brian Burke has reiterated over the past several weeks he will be both buyer and seller at the deadline, so it promises to be an intriguing and busy three days.
Ponikarovsky remains the Leafs’ most moveable asset – a big winger who will easily set a career high in goals and points this season, and one who will have produced 20-goal seasons in four of the past five years since the lockout.
“No, we haven’t had the talk,” Ponikarovsky said when asked if he’s been told he’ll be traded. “It’s just rumours for now, that’s about it.”
Tomas Kaberle, back from playing for the Czech Republic at the Olympics, was not aware of any change in his trade situation.