More Leafs moves on the way

Leafs GM Brian Burke is looking to add another defenceman via trade. (QMI Agency/Jack Boland)

Leafs GM Brian Burke is looking to add another defenceman via trade. (QMI Agency/Jack Boland)

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:07 AM ET

TORONTO - The major surgery, as Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke put it, has been done.

But Burke hasn’t sewn up the patient quite yet.

With the National Hockey League trade deadline looming on Monday, Burke has a couple of things to strike off his to-do list. He wants to trade for a defenceman, preferably one who has an offensive bent, and he wants to sign winger Clarke MacArthur, the Leafs’ leading scorer, to a contract extension.

Burke told reporters, after addressing approximately 300 fans during a question-and-answer period at the MasterCardCentre, that his wish was to add a defenceman as soon as possible, and perhaps in time for a home game Tuesday night against the New York Islanders.

As of late Monday night, no trade appeared to be imminent.

“We have a couple of things going, and I don’t know if anything is going to come of it or not,” said Burke, who was swarmed by fans and gladly signed autographs.

“We’re trying to put a player in the lineup to help us soon as possible. Our priority is to add a defenceman.”

Some defencemen who are thought to be available are Dennis Wideman of the Florida Panthers, John-Michael Liles of the Colorado Avalanche and Zach Bogosian of the Atlanta Thrashers, and Burke has at least a third-round pick, acquired from the Philadelphia Flyers, in play. With the way some players involved in deals have caught observers off-guard — see James Neal, Erik Johnson and Chris Stewart — Burke could have something entirely different up his monogrammed sleeve.

His desire to re-sign MacArthur is no secret. Don Meehan, the agent for MacArthur, said on Monday night that he will meet with Burke on Tuesday or Wednesday.

MacArthur has a career-best 45 points in 59 games and is slated to be a restricted free agent after making $1.1-million US this season.

“From my point of view, they are well-intentioned, and we are as well,” Meehan said. “Clarke is happy to be in Toronto. He has arbitration rights, but if you asked if we could get a deal done in a week’s time, I have no idea.”

If a new contract isn’t in place before the deadline, MacArthur could be moved. It’s early in the process.

“We have not quantified it yet,” Burke said. “I know he would like to stay, and I think he would be crazy not to. We have not put an amount on it yet. That will happen this week.”

One player who will not be traded for anyone is defenceman Luke Schenn. The 21-year-old, as teammate Colby Armstrong said on Monday, seems like he has been around forever. Burke has no desire to send his best defenceman packing.

“We have had 20 trade overtures on Luke since I got here (in November of 2008), including a couple of good-sized ones,” Burke said. “I just think this is a player who is developing into something special right in front of our eyes. He has leadership skills, and he is not going anywhere while I am here.”

A defenceman is a pressing need. Tomas Kaberle and Francois Beauchemin, whether they were liked by fans and other observers, were two veterans whose presence and ability to chew up minutes are missed. Kaberle and forward Kris Versteeg, who also has been traded, spent lots of time feeding others from the point on the power play, and the Leafs need a guy who can do that.

Forward Tim Brent might get some power-play point time against the Isles if no trade is made.

With Kaberle, Beauchemin and Versteeg already gone, and another deal in the making, Burke can’t envision how his Blackberry will be vibrating much on deadline day. Most of what he wanted to do has been done.

“I don’t think the 28th will be that busy for us,” Burke said. “It will be for the league, but as everyone knows, I try to get out in front of that day.”


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