Barring a last minute change of heart, the Maple Leafs will not make a final decision concerning Tie Domi and Ed Belfour until next week.
The Leafs are expected to kick some tires around the NHL entry draft in Vancouver this weekend to see if there is any interest in the two veterans as part of a potential deal, perhaps for a goalie.
"It makes sense," one NHL executive said yesterday. "Why would (they) cut ties with those guys without seeing if they have any kind of worth, however minimal, on the market?
"It makes sense for them to take their time and explore all their options."
The Leafs have until June 30 to buy out the final year of Domi's contract. That also is the deadline for the team to terminate Belfour's deal, a move it is expected to make should there be no takers.
Reached in Vancouver yesterday, general manager John Ferguson refused to comment on the Belfour and Domi situations.
Coming off a sub-par year on the ice and back surgery off of it, Belfour's uncertain future likely will cause teams to shy away until they're sure he can play. But in the minds of the Toronto hierarchy, it doesn't hurt to try and peddle him, even if the odds are heavily against that happening.
"We'll respect whatever decision Toronto makes,"Belfour's agent,Ron Salcer, said last night. "It's in their hands.
"Ed's doing very well since the surgery.He's going to therapy every day in Dallas and he's making great strides."
Belfour, who went under the knife several months ago, is slated to return to the ice next month.
"He has shown marked improvement," Salcer said. "He really wants to play next season."
Domi, meanwhile, has drawn interest from the Dallas Stars and Pittsburgh Penguins the past several years.
In preparation for the draft, Ferguson met with his amateur scouting staff yesterday in Vancouver. Along with discussing potential trades, there also was talk concerning who might be available when the Leafs pick at No. 13.
Many NHL scouts feel the talent level drops off after the top 12, potentially leaving the Leafs on the outside looking in.
"I've actually been getting calls from teams below us looking to move up to 13," Ferguson said. "As for the teams in the top seven or eight, they have, for the most part, been receiving calls, not making them."