Two Leafs looking ahead

ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:30 PM ET

Garnet Exelby has spent enough nights in the press box to learn a thing or two — and none of it to do with filing on deadline.

A healthy scratch for 30 games this season and a pending unrestricted free agent this summer, there is more than a good chance he won’t be around for a second year as a Maple Leaf.

“We’ll see what the options are on July 1,” the veteran defenceman said, referring to the start of the NHL free agency period. “It’s been a little frustrating, up and down as far as not getting in the lineup.

“Next year will work itself out next year. I can’t sit and sweat about it — just go home and take some time off and see what the options are.”

Exelby, who came to Toronto from Atlanta in the deal that sent Pavel Kubina to the Thrashers, has alternated in and out of the lineup with Jeff Finger, his roommate on the road. It’s a possibility that neither of them will be on the Leafs’ roster come next season.

“Obviously it’s been a frustrating year individually and as a team,” said Exelby, who scored his first goal in more than two years last week against the Buffalo Sabres. “I can’t say I will go to a certain place or I won’t come back. I just want to play and contribute to a team somewhere.”

Another player who could be playing his final home game as a Maple Leaf Tuesday night against the Flyers is veteran forward Wayne Primeau. Though he has been in and out of the lineup as a healthy scratch the past couple of weeks, coach Ron Wilson says Primeau will be in on Tuesday.

“We’ll see how the summer goes, hopefully not,” Primeau said when asked if he’s thought about his career as a Leaf ending. “There’s been more downs than I would have liked. I would have liked to make the playoffs in Toronto.”

In 57 games as a Leaf, mostly centring the fourth line, Primeau has three goals and five assists.

rob.longley@sunmedia.ca


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