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As mentioned by our own Jeff Blair this morning, the next 24 hours in Toronto will be heavy on the Brad Richards trade speculation with the Dallas Stars in town to face the Maple Leafs (7 p.m. Sportsnet).

Let's be honest, the blue and white have a rather glaring hole down the middle and Richards has done a nice job resurrecting his career as an offensive threat in the Lone Star State.

Richards's $7.8-million per season deal ends in July but ownership issues have prevented GM Joe Nieuwendyk from exploring an extension with his top pivot. Should that limbo remain as the trading deadline nears, one would think the Stars would consider making a move instead of losing Richards for nothing.

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Of course, The Leafs don't really have anything to offer the Stars, save for a puck-moving defenceman who controls his own destiny thanks to the dreaded no-movement clause and some cap space.

So all the trade talk today is likely pure speculation that will never come to pass, but we encourage everyone to play along and start thinking about trades Brian Burke could attempt to turn the team around. It's a nice distraction after a tough loss in Montreal Saturday night.

Mirtle is doing the game day skate thing and will file to this space later. Until then, the links:

Mirtle talks to Tyler Bozak about his unimpressive offensive stats this season.

In case you missed it, Mirtle also wrote about Don Cherry sticking up for Kadri.

Toronto Star reporter Paul Hunter on the Leafs increasing their blocked shot numbers.

Hunter reported yesterday that Jean-Sebastien Giguere may return early from his groin injury.

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Toronto Sun reporter Lance Hornby writes the Leafs are working on cutting down the giveaways. This is a fine idea.

Know your enemy: Mike Heika of the Dallas News says the Stars are excited to play in a hockey hotbed.

The blog Defending Big D says this is the perfect road trip for the Stars to get rolling on the road.

Puckin' Eh compares Kadri to the other forwards the Leafs have selected in the first round of the draft. It has been a long time since I thought about Brandon Convery.

Edmonton Oilers blog The Copper and Blue break the numbers down on the worst penalty killing teams since the lockout. The Leafs are in the top six three times.

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