Maple Leafs phones ringing as NHL trade talk heats up

Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Dave Nonis (left) says he has definitely been fielding more...

Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Dave Nonis (left) says he has definitely been fielding more calls with the GM meetings starting Wednesday. (MARK BLINCH/Reuters)

Mike Zeisberger, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:48 AM ET

TORONTO - As the weather outside heats up, so have the trade discussions being held on the cell phone of Dave Nonis.

“There have definitely been more calls in the past week,” said Nonis on Tuesday evening, speaking from New York.

And why wouldn’t there be? With the NHL’s entry draft less than three weeks away and free-agent frenzy poised to be unleashed on July 1, teams know that the next month is key in any rebuilding — or, in some cases, retooling — endeavours.

But the real groundwork for potential deals comes during the GM’s meetings in the Big Apple on Wednesday. As Nonis points out, “no matter how many times you’ve talked on the phone, face time with your colleagues always seems to speed things up.”

There are plenty of big names said to be on the market — the Joe Thorntons, the Patrick Marleaus, the Ryan Keslers, the Brad Stuarts, just to name a few. And when it became known that the Leafs had kicked tires on Thornton, among others, the Internet blew up.

“We’d like to do some things with our roster,” said Nonis, whose decision, in collaboration with incoming team president Brendan Shanahan, to bring back Randy Carlyle suggested that management feels much of the accountability for the team’s late-season swoon rests on the shoulders of the players. The Leafs did relieve Carlyle’s assistants of their jobs last month.

But before those blue-and-white jerseys with names like THORNTON and KESLER are stitched up and found dangling from the hangers at RealSports, Nonis put the Leafs goals moving forward into perspective.


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