Luke Schenn is a Maple Leaf, but that could change.
Leafs general manager Brian Burke said on Friday night he has assured the 22-year-old defenceman that no trade involving him is imminent.
That does not mean a deal won’t happen before the NHL’s trade deadline of Feb. 27.
“I talked to Luke today and (told him) we are not in trade discussions with him,” Burke said. “I told Luke that is not a guarantee that he would not be traded or that something would not materialize, but we are not in discussions with any team about him right now. We have not offered him to anybody. I don’t know where the rumours started, but I told him it is not happening.”
The scuttlebutt this week has had Burke interested in Philadelphia Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk, with Schenn a strong possibility to join his little brother Brayden in Philly if a trade is consummated between the clubs. With size and Stanley Cup playoffs experience, the 6-foot-3, 200-pound van Riemsdyk, just 22 years old, is the kind of player Burke covets.
Burke’s would love to make his team better in the coming weeks, his trade history says he gets deals done long before the deadline. The acquisitions of Dion Phaneuf and Joffrey Lupul are good examples.
Will Burke have to sacrifice some Leafs he might otherwise want to keep if a trade is made? Other players linked to the Leafs in speculation include Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan of the Anaheim Ducks and Zach Parise of the New Jersey Devils.
“We’ll see,” Burke said. “It’s hard to answer a hypothetical question. I even hate talking about this stuff to you guys because that could change as soon as I walk in (to his private box in Buffalo) and the phone rings.
“We are getting a lot of calls and we are listening, but that is very different than offering a player. That’s the danger when you say right now nothing is close. That could change with a phone call, or in 24 hours.
“The group has been focused and had some success recently and we are happy with the way we are going. But as a GM, your job is to improve your hockey club. You field those calls 24/7, 365 days a year, but right now nothing is imminent.”
Burke does not think that with the current collective bargaining agreement about to expire, it could impact the kind of contracts being moved.
“Not a factor in my mind, no. We’re all hopeful we will make a deal with union and start the season on time. We are not operating on any other basis right now.”