Hagman drawing trade interest

ROB LONGLEY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:30 AM ET

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Maple Leafs forward Niklas Hagman hasn’t been hot just on the ice in the past couple of weeks.

The veteran Finn, who notched a pair of goals in Tampa Bay on Wednesday and leads the Leafs in goal-scoring, has been attracting some warmth from general managers around the league in terms of trade interest.

“A lot of teams have called, Nik’s been playing really well,” Leafs senior vice-president of hockey operations, Dave Nonis, said Thursday while watching the team’s practice in preparation for Friday’s game against the Florida Panthers.

“We’ve been listening. There’s a big different between listening and shopping him. But we would listen to any offer that we thought might make the team better.”

Given that Hagman is still wearing blue and white, there obviously hasn’t been an offer that has blown away Nonis or his boss, Brian Burke. But with 11 goals in 21 games, he is showing the sniper’s touch the team has always felt he possessed.

“He’s a dangerous player with good hands,” Nonis said. “He’s been a big part of things turning around for us lately.”

In his first year as a Leaf, Hagman scored 22 goals but was limited to 65 games after he shook off the effect of two concussions. Lately though, he has been on fire. With his pair on Wednesday, Hagman has scored five goals in his past five games and had a key shootout goal against Washington on Saturday.

“He came back with a definite sense of purpose,” Leafs coach Ron Wilson said, referring to a one-game benching of Hagman earlier in the season.

“He was hesitant in a lot of situations, maybe thinking about the possibility of getting hit. But he has played a lot better since. He scores a lot of goals by just getting him the puck and getting him to shoot the puck at the right time.”

Meanwhile, Wilson expects the return to the lineup of another prominent player by sometime next week.

Defenceman Mike Komisarek, who suffered a torn quadriceps injury on Nov. 10 against Minnesota, could return as early as Monday’s home game against the Buffalo Sabres.


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