Trade talk heats up

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 2:09 PM ET

Curtis Joseph has prepared himself to be shipped out of Phoenix in the next 36 hours.

And one gets the sense that Ed Belfour is poised for a change of scenery, too, should that come to pass.

Belfour, the man who replaced Joseph in goal for the Maple Leafs back in 2002, recently hinted in private that last night's game might be his final outing in a Toronto jersey.

And while he won't admit such a thing publicly, he was quite coy with reporters after turning in a solid effort in the Leafs 5-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens.

Asked if Leafs management had approached him about waiving the no-trade clause in his contract, the veteran goaltender would not give a straight answer.

"I don't talk about things like that," said Belfour, whose $2 million US buyout clause for 2006-07 could be a significant roadblock for any interested teams.

Belfour hopes to be a Leaf through tomorrow's 3 p.m. trade deadline but added that "weirder things have happened."

INTRIGUED

It has been well documented in the past week that the Edmonton Oilers are intrigued by Belfour, but only as a third or fourth alternative. There are also reports that the Vancouver Canucks might have some interest.

"If someone makes us a significant offer, we'll listen," Leafs general manager John Ferguson said when asked if he would consider moving Belfour.

"But there will be no Band-Aid solutions. We are looking long term."

The Oilers are making no secret that Joseph might be the guy who is the ideal fit to solve their goaltending woes.

"If Curtis is available and the deal is reasonable, we definitely have interest.

He has a history here," Oilers general manager Kevin Lowe told the Edmonton Sun yesterday.

Joseph admits hearing his name linked with the Oilers, Canucks and Ottawa Senators.

"If it's Edmonton, I certainly know some people there," Joseph said in a phone interview from Detroit before his Coyotes beat the Red Wings 5-2 last night.

Joseph was with the Oilers until 1999 when he left to join the Maple Leafs.

"I understand my situation in Phoenix. If we were closer to the playoffs, it might be a different story. But why shouldn't the Coyotes get something for me? I'm a free agent in the summer, so I could always re-sign with Phoenix."

Minnesota's Dwayne Roloson could be an alternative for either the Oilers or Tampa. There were also rumours last night that the Lightning might take a look at Chicago's Nikolai Khabibulin, who led Tampa to a Stanley Cup in 2004.

Meanwhile, the Montreal Canadiens are said to be intrigued by former Leafs forward Alyn McCauley, now with the San Jose Sharks.


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