Bell's okay with being trade bait

MIKE ZEISBERGER

, Last Updated: 9:37 AM ET

Brendan Bell is not surprised that the Maple Leafs have been shopping him around.

In fact, he is fully aware that Toronto management has been kicking tires throughout the league in order to gauge any potential interest in Bell's talents.

With the Leafs enjoying a surplus on the blue line, at least one eastern conference team has been contacted by Toronto concerning Bell, the 65th overall pick in the 2001 entry draft.

"Am I shocked? By no means. From the get-go, I knew the position that I'm in," Bell said yesterday after participating in the Leafs morning skate at the Air Canada Centre.

Bell was a healthy scratch for the sixth consecutive game last night, a reflection of the healthy state of the Leafs defence corps.

Tomas Kaberle, Bryan McCabe, Hal Gill and Pavel Kubina provide a veteran presence at the back end while youngsters Ian White and Carlo Colaiacovo have earned their spots through fine play.

Down on the farm, Andy Wozniewski and Staffan Kronwall have returned from injury to bolster a Toronto Marlie blue line that already featured Jay Harrison.

There is little doubt that defence is where the organization features the most depth, making Bell expendable if the right trading partner can be found.

"I know the position I'm in concerning waiver rights," he said. "I know they have to put me on (them) if they try to send me down to the Marlies.

"Hey, I've been walking a thin line here all year.

"I'm happy where my game is. Sure, I'd like to be playing every day, but at least I'm here.

"It shows I'm more than capable of playing at this level.

"Back at training camp there was a group of us young defencemen all fighting for two or three spots with the Leafs. I know this is all part of it. I know how the game works."

Bell has one goal and four assists in 27 games this season.

"I'm happy here," Bell, 23 said.

"But it's in management's hands. I have no control over that."


Videos

Photos