Leafs will rid themselves of free agents, too

LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:43 AM ET

Before signing anyone at noon today, the Maple Leafs will be cutting some players adrift as unrestricted free agents.

Unless there's a change of heart later this summer, forwards Yanic Perreault, Travis Green, Jeff O'Neill, Bates Battaglia, Michael Peca and goaltender Jean-Sebastien Aubin are finished in Toronto.

"We've had discussions with some of them the past few days," general manager John Ferguson said last night. "We don't contemplate anything before July 1, but that's not to say we won't be talking again after July 1."

In the past few days, the six players or their agents have cast doubt on them returning.

In the case of Aubin, he became redundant when the Leafs traded for Vesa Toskala to partner with Andrew Raycroft. Aubin had a record of 12-5-5 here in two years but the Leafs didn't see him as a No. 1 goaltender.

"I haven't heard much from Toronto since the end of the season and I don't expect them to call now," Aubin said yesterday.

He's hoping to get another one-way deal, but the 29-year-old most likely will have to fight back from the minors.

"I have to deal with what happened," Aubin said.

"I had chances last year. The team went in another direction."

Agent Don Meehan has not ruled out clients Peca or Green returning. O'Neill had wanted to play close to home for the Leafs when a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes was arranged in 2005, so it's possible he'll retire rather than move again.

The loss of Perreault would be a puzzler, however, given his specialty on faceoffs and the fact they traded defenceman Brendan Bell to Phoenix to obtain him at the deadline.\


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