Leafs stalked by trade rumours
TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency
|Maple Leafs forward Mikhail Grabovski skates during the warmup prior to facing the Canadiens at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Que., Feb. 24, 2011. (JOCELYN MALETTE/QMI Agency)
TORONTO - In one corner of the Maple Leafs dressing room on Monday afternoon, Mikhail Grabovski was addressing trade rumours.
In another corner, Clarke MacArthur had just stopped doing the same.
Nearly a month has to pass before the NHL's trade deadline comes on Feb. 27, but with the all-star break finished, speculation will start to thicken in earnest.
The issue is a little more pressing for Grabovski, who is due to be an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He's not involved in serious contract talks with general manager Brian Burke, but Grabovski shrugged off the idea that he could be moved as part of a package, given Burke's desire to add another centre.
But Grabovski knows nothing is guaranteed.
"It's my home right now, you know?" Grabovski said. "If they want me here, I appreciate it. My job is to work hard and give my best on the ice.
"I think more about hockey than about my future. I know if I play well, I can stay with the same team."
Grabovski was named the NHL's first star of the week after he had five points in the Leafs' two wins against the New York Islanders. He is making $3.1 million US this season, with a $2.9-million salary cap hit.
MacArthur is resigned to the scuttlebutt, as he was a year ago when he did not have a contract for this season.
"There is always something every day," MacArthur said. "Usually if I don't hear it, I get a text message from someone saying they heard a rumour. It's tiring, it's hard on you, but it is a part of the job.
"(Rumours) suck, but what are you going to do? If you look close, I have a few grey hairs."
Coach Ron Wilson isn't thrilled with the rumours. The Leafs have been linked to several players, including Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan of the Anaheim Ducks, Ales Hemsky of the Edmonton Oilers, Tuomo Ruutu of the Carolina Hurricanes and Ryan Clowe of the San Jose Sharks.
Everyone in the NHL figures Burke will make a trade at some point. In the meanwhile, gossip will rule the day.
"They are all rumours and I don't put much stock in them," Wilson said. "It is hard to keep that away from those guys. They hear it. If they don't read and watch TV, they get asked. I can't ban you guys from the room -- if I could I would, so they would not be asked any of these silly questions."