Boyd biding his time

Maple Leafs' Boyd Devereaux (right) celebrates his goal against the Hurricanes with Matt Stajan on...

Maple Leafs' Boyd Devereaux (right) celebrates his goal against the Hurricanes with Matt Stajan on Tuesday. (Sun Media/Stan Behal)

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:54 AM ET

With the Maple Leafs brass looking on, Cinderella story Boyd Devereaux has cashed in on his scoring opportunities during Toronto's late-season playoff push.

It appears Devereaux might be cash in off the ice as well.

Having scored three goals in the past three games, Devereaux was happy and relieved at the news the Leafs have started preliminary contract talks with his agent, J.P. Barry.

In a rag-to-riches season in which he has found his scoring touch at the right time, the fact that the Leafs are showing interest in retaining him is icing on Devereaux's cake.

"It's very exciting that things are moving in that direction," Devereaux, 28, said yesterday as he and his teammates prepared for a big game in Atlanta against the Thrashers tonight.

"It's certainly great to hear."

A modest one-way deal, presumably for one season, is the likely winfall for Devereaux, although talks are said to be in the early stages. Devereaux makes $450,000 US this season.

Either way, any kind of job security would be welcomed by the veteran forward.

Last fall, Devereaux found himself without a team. Upon being released from the camp of the Detroit Red Wings, he wondered if his National Hockey League career was coming to an end.

"It was a weird time," he said. "I was back in Kitchener, thinking about resuming skating with the Rangers, my junior team. I was even thinking I might go to Europe to play."

Devereaux wound up accepting Toronto's offer to join the American Hockey League's Marlies, paying his dues on the farm before a rash of injuries to the Leafs resulted in a call-up.

"Give him credit," general manager John Ferguson said. "He made a decision when he first signed with us that he wanted to rekindle his NHL career. It's not like things came easy to him in the AHL. He didn't start out the way we had envisioned but he took advantage of his opportunities."

Having won three of their past four games, the Leafs are in tough against a Thrashers side that is an offensive powderkeg waiting to blow up.

"Ilya Kovalchuk and Marian Hossa are two of the best players in the league and Keith Tkachuk is one of the hardest guys to play against," forward John Pohl said.

Pohl, Devereaux and Chad Kilger are among those who have picked up the offensive slack from captain Mats Sundin, who has one goal in the past 14 games.

"The playoff races are just crazy," said Kilger, a two-goal scorer in Toronto's 6-1 spanking of the Carolina Hurricanes Tuesday.

"Things change every day."


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