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Kris Versteeg of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Paul Bereswill/2010 Getty Images)
Kris Versteeg of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Paul Bereswill/2010 Getty Images)

Versteeg shrugs off trade rumours Add to ...

Most of the excitement in the Toronto Maple Leafs dressing room this morning surrounded Joffrey Lupul, the newest addition, but on the other side of the room, Kris Versteeg was musing about his own name being thrown into the trade mix.

With defenceman Francois Beauchemin dealt back to the Anaheim Ducks, Versteeg is considered one of the next key players GM Brian Burke could move before the Feb. 28 deadline.

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"You try and keep the TV off as much as possible," Versteeg said. "You're in Toronto, it's hard to ignore everything when you're getting asked about it, but you do got to go out there and just try to play your game."

Always a joker, Versteeg then quipped that he's usually watching "x-rated stuff" than any trade rumour shows.

The Leafs winger denied one report that he is unhappy in Toronto and wants to move on, although it's clear that - as with Beauchemin - there's substance to the rumours that he is being shopped around.

Burke is likely looking for a centre with some size, as Versteeg hasn't been able to fill the top-line role that coach Ron Wilson had initially envisioned for him.

"I don't know too much," Versteeg said. "Obviously from getting asked questions and everything, something might happen. You've got to take it as a compliment at times, too, if teams do want you to go help. But at the same time, it's almost funny when you hear people [in the media]talk, there are times when they think I'm older than I really am.

"It's only my third full year in the league, I'm 24 years old and when they talk it's almost like I'm 30 years old and has done it all. And I haven't done anything yet I feel like. It's kind of funny."

Versteeg has bounced around quite a bit in his career already, dating back to his junior days when he played for three teams in his last two years in the WHL. Part of the problem is that Versteeg is such a character, and his "out there" personality clashed at times with conservative coaches and GMs in the past.

The Leafs are the third NHL organization he's been a part of since being drafted by the Bruins in 2004, and while he's been solid enough in terms of point production and chipping in on the power play, Lupul's arrival may mean Versteeg's relegated to a third-line role full time.

"I've been through a lot already in my career," Versteeg said. "Just another thing. Now it's just you're going to have to deal with until trade deadline. Who knows what happens? I've liked it here, I've had fun here and I guess whatever happens, happens."

 

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