Brian Burke and the Toronto Maple Leafs sit alongside the Ottawa Senators as a team that absolutely decided to go into “sell mode” as the trade deadline approaches. The outspoken GM moved forward Kris Versteeg along with defensemen Francois Beauchemin and Tomas Kaberle in a flurry of trade activity.
While those moves netted them picks, prospects and winger Joffrey Lupul, their blueline is now quite barren without Beuchemin and Kaberle.
James Mirtle reports that Burke will try to make his fifth trade in two weeks to help plug a hole or two in the team’s defense corps, although it sounds like he’s interested in making more moves in general. Burke also said that he will try to come to a compromise on a new contract with surprisingly effective forward Clarke MacArthur, who seems to be flourishing in Toronto.
The Leafs have a considerable hole on the blueline without Beauchemin and Kaberle, as youngsters Carl Gunnarsson and Keith Aulie are playing big minutes in the top four and struggling veterans Brett Lebda and Mike Komisarek have had to take on larger roles on the third pairing.
“We’ve done a major surgery as far as what we need to do, but we still have got a couple things we’d like to do,” Burke said.
Burke also talked today about getting a new deal done for winger Clarke MacArthur, who could be dealt if his salary demands are too high. MacArthur will be a restricted free agent on July 1.
“We haven’t quantified [MacArthur’s value] yet,” Burke said. “I know he’s said he’d like to stay. I think he’d be crazy not to. Play in a city like this with linemates like that. But we haven’t monetized it yet or put amounts on [his new deal] – that’s going to happen this week.
Burke said that he often tries to get most of his work done before the trade deadline comes, so don’t be surprised if Toronto continues the interesting run of teams making moves before February 28th. If something does happen, we’ll let you know.