Maple Leafs general manager John Ferguson is not averse to a no-trade contract to keep defenceman Bryan McCabe in Toronto.
McCabe, soon to be an unrestricted free agent, dropped huge hints earlier this week that he's looking for such a provision in his next deal, either with the Leafs, or as some suspect, a New York-area team.
"It's not surprising he would seek that," Ferguson said yesterday from Moncton, where he is scouting the Memorial Cup. "That will be part of the negotiation. But at the same time, you can't go a la carte with everything (granting too many favourable clauses)."
Two months ago, McCabe scoffed at the notion he would look exclusively at the three New York teams because his wife was from Long Island, but now says family issues will play a big role in his decision, particularly a stable home base, thus the no-trade request. Though he didn't sustain his excellent start through the second half of the year, McCabe's 68 points were a career high and he's seeking somewhere between $4 million to $5 million US on a multi-year pact.
The Leafs have exclusive rights with agent Jeff Solomon until July 1. Ferguson did not dispute McCabe's comment that talks were "moving in the right direction".
"We have always had interest in keeping Bryan," Ferguson said.
SON OF FOG TO BOSTON?
Ray Shero, son of the late Freddie (The Fog) Shero of Flyers fame, is emerging as the top candidate to be the next general manager of the Boston Bruins. Both Boston dailies had stories this week that the 43-year-old has flown with his family to Boston for a meeting with club president Harry Sinden.
Charlie Jacobs, the Bruins' executive vice-president, is heading the search and is said to be very much in favour of the Nashville Predators assistant GM.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Blues coach Mike Kitchen, an ex-Leafs assistant, likely will not know his fate until the club hires a new general manager. New owner Dave Checketts remains quiet on the possible hiring of goalie-turned-MSG Network broadcaster John Davidson as GM, still a hot rumour in New York ... The Leafs will be operating their first hockey school, two one-week sessions in late July at Lakeshore Lions Arena. It's open to novice, atom, and peewee-aged boys and girls. For more info, call 416-815-5482 or visit www.leafshockeyschool.com.