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Maple Leafs want “decoration not detonation” with trade deadline approaching

Jan 25, 2012, 10:18 PM EDT

Brian Burke Getty Images

After six years that more or less followed a pattern of disappointment, something just feels different about the Toronto Maple Leafs now.

Sure, the Buds made a late and ultimately futile charge toward the postseason last year, but the 2011-12 campaign smacks of honest-to-goodness progress. That’s not to say that the Maple Leafs are without their blemishes, but for the first time since the lockout, it seems like they boast a squad suitable enough to be dangerous in the playoffs.

If you ask Burke, a playoff run is pretty pointless if you don’t have a real shot to make noise.

With that in mind, GM Brian Burke’s trade objectives are likely shifting from the future to the present. In more direct terms, it means that the Maple Leafs are primed to be buyers instead of sellers.

The Maple Leafs just hope that Burke opts for a slight change in makeup rather than a bold makeover, as The Toronto Sun’s Lance Hornby reports.

“We do like the group,” Burke said. “It’s a group that cares about each other (witness Joffrey Lupul tossing aside two Islanders to help an over-matched Phil Kessel). The work ethic is excellent.”

That brings the discussion to PHT readers: do you think that the Maple Leafs are good enough to make a run with small moves or would Burke need to land a blockbuster to truly morph Toronto into contenders? Share your thoughts in the comments.

  1. punkrulz24 - Jan 25, 2012 at 11:07 PM

    I think I’m game for the Schenn for JvR trade. Perhaps it would be mutually beneficial for both teams. Flyers need a more solid defense and perhaps the Leafs can give JvR more of a solid push for him to be explosive all year round, not just during the playoffs. I want to see him flourish as a player.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jan 25, 2012 at 11:24 PM

      What is it with these rumours? I’ve done the internet equivalent of screaming this until I’m blue in the face: that trade makes no sense for Toronto seeing as we need a centre. Burke is in no way desperate to deal Schenn, who’s technically his #1 asset. If Schenn goes it’ll likely be in a trade for Getzlaf or another top centreman.

      • habsman - Jan 25, 2012 at 11:45 PM

        Mojo, (Leaf fan and Bruin appologist)

        Schenn for Getzlaf?

        Why not trade Grabovski for Malkin and two #1’s?

        You might be puffing up Schenn’s value just a tad.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jan 25, 2012 at 11:57 PM

        I never said it would be a straight-up swap. I said he could go “in a trade.” Trading him straight-up might work if the deal were for Gomez, but I think Burke is looking for a player who scores at least once a year.

      • habsman - Jan 26, 2012 at 12:12 AM

        Don’t think you’re hurting my feelings with the Gomez dig. I’d take Grant Lundrigan for him.

  2. bcisleman - Jan 25, 2012 at 11:50 PM

    Lupul toss two Islanders aside? Maybe not so much. What I did see on that play was Kessel trying to pick a fight with Travis (junior hockey nick The Hammer) Hamonic and Hammer doing his best to avoid having to pummel the little twirp onto Hempstead Turnpike.

  3. bcisleman - Jan 25, 2012 at 11:54 PM

    BTW, the Leafs are an improved team, but lets not get carried away. They are a bubble team. They may or may not make the playoffs. If they do, it will likely be as the 7th or 8th seed and they’ll likely face the Bs or the Rangers. Odds are they’ll lose to either team…although if they are playing the Rangers, I’ll be in the odd position of rooting for them.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jan 25, 2012 at 11:59 PM

      Except for their last meeting they’ve done pretty well against the Rangers. There’d be some potential for an upset there. If they play the Bruins they’ll go 4-and-out.

      • bcisleman - Jan 27, 2012 at 12:19 AM

        Always POTENTIAL for an upset in the playoffs, but I don’t think either Reimer or Monster can beat HL or TT.

    • habsman - Jan 26, 2012 at 12:06 AM

      I saw the game as well. They were bumping Kessel all game. He got frustrated at the end and started flailing (Bitch slapping) away at Hamonic. I was sure he was going to break a nail.

      The Leafs are soft now after dropping Orr. That and the fact they have about 5 guys with serious concussion histories will leave them out of the playoffs for the 4th year of Burke’s (Barney Rubble) rebuild.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jan 26, 2012 at 12:43 AM

        Habs fans have no right to call any team in the league soft except their own.

  4. broadstbully33 - Jan 26, 2012 at 9:30 AM

    schenn for jvr straight up is not even close to a fair deal for philly….save jvr and package him for we ber…schenn is worth a 2nd and prospect at best …. no one wants ur garbage toronto

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