Eric Staal addresses Toronto trade speculation

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The Maple Leafs are in Carolina to play the Hurricanes tonight, and you know what that means – Eric Staal trade talk!

You might remember a couple of weeks ago when Toronto radio personality Bill Watters reported a Staal-to-the-Leafs trade was imminent.

‘Canes general manager Jim Rutherford quickly denied the report, but Staal was still asked about it yesterday by the traveling Toronto media.

“To be honest I wasn’t that worried about it,” said Staal, as per the Toronto Sun. “Those are things that are out of my control. If it comes to me, I’ll deal with the situation when it arises.

“It’s obviously nice that Jim said what he said. He’s a guy I have the most respect for and someone I won a Stanley Cup with.

“This is a great organization. I’ve won a Stanley Cup here. I’ve started a family here. I’ve got some good people to work with. Obviously it’s been a tough season for not only myself but for everyone here. Any time that is the case there are rumours that start and everything that goes along with it. But for me, I’m just going to continue to work, continue to try to improve as a player and know that there are better days ahead.”

Staal continues to struggle in Carolina, with just seven goals in 38 games. In his last six games, he hasn’t registered a single point.

For Leafs fans, the prospect of Staal between Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul is a tempting one to ponder. No disrespect to Tyler Bozak, who’s been much better this season – he’s not in Staal’s league though. That goes for every center on the Leafs.

In all likelihood the whole thing was just a myth. But we’re a hockey blog. Trade rumors pay the bills.