Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke said today he may be about to pull the trigger on yet another deal, one that would bring in a defenceman to replace the departed Francois Beauchemin and Tomas Kaberle.
Speaking after a Family Day event where he took questions from fans in attendance, Burke told the media how close he is to making his fifth trade in less than two weeks.
"We're trying to add by tomorrow if we can," Burke said. "We're trying to put a player in the lineup as soon as possible.
"We've had some discussions about forwards that we have to consider, but it's not our priority. Our priority will be to add a defenceman."
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.
"If not, if he doesn't agree to something that makes sense, then we're going to listen [to offers] It's not a guarantee that he's not going to be here, but we're certainly going to listen. It's not an easy player to quantify. It's a player who's averaged roughly 40 points his whole career and now he's on pace for 80 or whatever it is. It's not easy to quantify what a player like that's worth."
- Burke on what the Leafs will do on the deadline: "I don't think the 28th will be that busy for us. It'll be a busy day for the league, though. There's a lot of activity on that day. As everyone knows, I try and get out in front of that day. Deals of the magnitude of the deals that we've made are really hard to make on short notice with a whole bunch of people milling around."
- Expect both Colby Armstrong (eye) and Mike Brown (shoulder) to be back in the lineup tomorrow against the New York Islanders after a few games away. Joey Crabb and Christian Hanson could be the odd men out.
- Lebda took a puck off the leg in practice and left in considerable pain, but it's not considered to be serious enough to cause him to miss any time. Assistant coach Tim Hunter said the injury was only a bruise.
- Nothing's certain as to what will happen with goaltender Jonas Gustavsson, but my guess is he's the backup for James Reimer tomorrow and Ben Scrivens goes back to the Marlies. Gustavsson could resume his conditioning stint in the minors when the Marlies have some games later in the week.