Deveaux on deck

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:39 AM ET

Maple Leafs general manager Cliff Fletcher is keeping his eye open for toughness across the NHL, but the guy he is looking for might be right under his nose.

Andre Deveaux, signed in July, leads the Toronto Marlies with six goals and has a team-high 45 penalty minutes. The 6-foot-4, 217-pound centre is creeping closer to getting a shot with the Leafs, Fletcher said. Deveaux has spent the past four seasons in the minors after playing junior in Belleville and Owen Sound.

"If he keeps playing like that, he will get his chance, for sure," Fletcher said. "He is getting opportunities to play in a role he has never had before and is responding well. We're watching his progress closely. He is definitely tough enough to play in the NHL."

With the way the Montreal Canadiens tried to manhandle the Leafs on Saturday -- even Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau called it the "most embarrassing game I've ever been associated with" -- Toronto could use a beefy presence.

"A little extra toughness probably would be a positive, but it has to be in the form of somebody who can play some hockey," Fletcher said. "As our team develops, it probably will become more of a priority."

NOT TRADING FINGER

Fletcher denied a report in the New York Post yesterday that he is shopping defenceman Jeff Finger, who signed a four-year, $14-million US deal with Toronto in July. Finger has two assists in eight games.

"It's amazing how rumours go, but I have not talked to anybody about Jeff Finger, period," Fletcher said.

SEEKING KYLE

The Leafs' western trip includes a date on Saturday with ex-Leaf Kyle Wellwood, who had a brief stint in the minors, and the Vancouver Canucks.

"He is back where he should be and doing what he does best, which is scoring goals," said Matt Stajan, who keeps in touch with Wellwood via text messages. "He almost was on his way to Europe to play when he got sent down. But he has done a good job of reviving his career. I'm glad to see he is doing well."


Videos

Photos