Leafs not shopping Mats

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:14 AM ET

BUFFALO -- There will be no quick fixes for the Maple Leafs come the Feb. 26 trade deadline, interim general manager Cliff Fletcher said yesterday.

"What we've been telling people around the league is that we're not going to make a trade for a rent a player," said Fletcher at the HSBC Arena, where his Leafs faced the Buffalo Sabres last night.

"We are looking long term. That doesn't mean we wouldn't look at a guy who might help us now. But he also would have to be someone that would help us down the road."

The player who obviously would bring the Leafs the most lucrative package of draft picks and prospects they covet is captain Mats Sundin, who celebrated his 37th birthday yesterday.

Sundin has sounded like a broken record in the past couple of months, constantly insisting he does not want to waive his no-trade deal. But that has not stopped Fletcher from fielding calls about the big Swede, according to a rival general manager.

"My belief is (Sundin) will only waive his no-trade to go to certain teams," the GM told Sun Media yesterday.

Whatever the case, it is believed Fletcher would have to be blown away by an offer before even approaching Sundin about a possible move.

"Teams know he's an elite player," Fletcher said. "They know he's unrestricted at the end of the season.

"I can tell you this. I haven't called anyone about (Mats)."

While trade talks have increased the past few days, they are expected to heat up at the GMs meetings Feb. 18-20 in Naples, Fla.

"There are a lot of teams bunched closely in the standings who don't know if they are buyers or sellers yet," Fletcher said, adding that part of his mandate is to stockpile draft picks and prospects.

"Jiri Tlusty and Anton Stralman look like good young players and (Nikolai) Kulemin is a bright prospect signed by John (Ferguson). But we need to build up those resources."


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