The Toronto Maple Leafs have already made one significant trade, sending Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli to Nashville last week.
Whether they make more deals prior to the March 2 deadline is the main topic of conversation these days in Toronto, where any hope of making the playoffs has been extinguished amid reports the Leafs could be on the verge of a full roster makeover.
“It wears on you,” Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf said, per the Toronto Sun. “It has not been a good month-and-a-half for us. We know where we’re at.
“We’ll be asked lots of questions and there will be lots of rumors. That’s not easy to deal with. You can feel it in the dressing room. You’re talking about guys’ lives, their jobs and careers. It definitely takes a toll on your room.”
About the only Leaf that seems untouchable at this point is defenseman Morgan Rielly. Maybe James van Riemsdyk, too.
The others — including Phaneuf, Phil Kessel, Joffrey Lupul, Tyler Bozak — could all be dealt, either at the deadline or this summer.
The future is also uncertain for a couple of pending restricted free agents, Nazem Kadri and Jonathan Bernier.
“I love living here and love being a Leaf, but if I’m not in the plans, I’m not in the plans,” said Lupul.
What those plans actually are could become more apparent in the next week.
Related: Lupul loathes idea of Toronto tear-down
The Toronto Maple Leafs had the lead. Victory was in their grasp. But a victory eluded them once again, and that’s now seven straight losses.
On Wednesday, the Leafs lost by a final score of 2-1 in the shootout to the New Jersey Devils, despite a go-ahead goal from James van Riemsdyk with just over eight minutes remaining in regulation. The lead didn’t last six minutes, as the Devils tied it up on a goal from Adam Larsson to send the game into overtime.
Cory Schneider made 29 saves for the victory. He also didn’t allow a goal in the shootout.
For the Leafs, they do move one point ahead of the Ottawa Senators into sixth in the Atlantic Division thanks to the single point. But the losing continues. They held the edge in shots against the Devils on Wednesday, and the edge in shot attempts, according to hockeystats.ca.
Mike Hoffman, Erik Karlsson and Mika Zibanejad scored first period goals for Ottawa, who out-shot the Toronto Maple Leafs 12-9 in the opening frame
Karlsson added his second of the night in the third period, the eventual game-winner, as the Senators handed the Leafs their sixth straight regulation loss.
The Leafs have scored just five goals in the six games.
“I scratch my head when I talk about that first period. That was totally done by ourselves, to ourselves, to a team that played last night,” said Leafs interim head coach, Peter Horachek. “It’s a strange situation. We’ve got to correct that for sure.”
Craig Anderson made 37 saves improving to 13-11-7 on the season.
David Clarkson snapped a 14-game drought scoring his first goal since Dec. 20 in the loss.
Nazem Kadri, who has reportedly begun contract talks with the Leafs, netted his 13th of the season while James van Riemsdyk had the other goal for Toronto.
James Reimer saw his record drop to 6-9-0 with a 22 save performance.
“We didn’t have a good start,” said Reimer. “Obviously you can’t get down 3-0 and expect to win in this league.”