Leafs standing pat?

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:39 AM ET

There will be little time for John Ferguson to try to improve the Maple Leafs once the Olympic break is over, but the team's general manager won't make a trade for the sake of making one.

In fact, even though the Leafs are in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, one point back of the Montreal Canadiens and the final playoff berth, Ferguson would be content to do nothing once the NHL trade freeze is lifted at midnight on Feb. 27. Just over a week later, at 3 p.m. on March 9, the NHL trade wickets will close for the season.

"There is no, for lack of a better word, requirement, that we change this club," Ferguson said. "We have areas we have to improve without adding people -- our overall discipline, some areas of team play, better efforts from some of our individuals. A couple of guys are having seasons that we expected more from."

Ferguson didn't name names. However, putting people such as Ed Belfour, Mats Sundin and Jeff O'Neill in that category would be right. On the other side, there are a number of Leafs who have done well. Darcy Tucker, with 23 goals, is one off his career high and should meet his goal of 30. Alexei Ponikarovsky has taken his game one step higher. Rookies Kyle Wellwood, Alex Steen and the trio of Staffan Kronwall, Andy Wozniewski and Jay Harrison have shown they can perform admirably in more regular roles.

Though some won't agree with the assessment, Ferguson sees a team that is capable of much more.

"We felt encouraged when we put together the six-game (winning) streak that led to us getting nine games over (.500, a streak that ended in early January)," Ferguson said. "We have given a lot of those games back. Our effort level for the most part has been pretty solid, but we need more. We need more from a number of individuals, but also collectively."

The Leafs lost 12 of 15 games before they scattered for the break Saturday night and won't practise again until Feb. 22.

Ferguson, mostly handicapped by the $39-million US salary cap, will be trying to figure if he can pull something out of the fire before March 9.

"There is a lot to be proud of here, but we are far from content and far from satisfied," Ferguson said. "We understand we need to be better."


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