Big winger Nik Antropov and checking centre Dominic Moore are looking at new addresses in deadline deals for high draft picks today, while smaller trades are in the works as Brian Burke's remake of the Maple Leafs begins in earnest.
Chicago and Pittsburgh are two teams looking for affordable help up front, the Penguins for size, the Hawks perhaps in need of Moore's 55% faceoff percentage to play behind Jonathan Toews, while Detroit always is looking to add depth for a Cup run. General manager Burke said he had multiple discussions yesterday with Minnesota Wild counterpart Doug Risebrough, but didn't go into details.
"Most of what's been proposed (with all teams) involves picks," Burke said between periods at the Air Canada Centre last night. "One team has proposed that another player be involved with one (of Moore and Antropov), but that's not going to happen.
"Most of the deals thrown at us involve carrying money into 2010-11 and I have no interest in that (with the salary cap set to drop in two seasons)."
Burke is shooting to get a first-rounder for Antropov and one Western Conference GM thinks he will, but a high second-rounder is more likely. Antropov was drafted by the Leafs 11 years ago and survived years of doubt and injury to make his home here and raise a family."
"I don't know what's going to happen," Antropov's agent Don Meehan said. "I've had no discussions with Brian."
Moore, having a career year, could fetch a second- or high third-rounder. Both were pulled from the lineup before last night's game against the Devils.
"They've been put into deals that haven't been consummated, but may, and we didn't see any point running any risk of injury," Burke said.
Moore's fate as a Leaf seemingly was sealed when contract talks broke off between Burke and agent Larry Kelly.
It was believed a late-afternoon counter-offer by Kelly lowered the $2.5 million per year they wanted and inched towards the reported Leafs offer of $5 million for three years or $1.7 million a season.
"The gap is considerable." Burke maintained. "I'm not attributing blame there. It's not unusual that those views don't converge, but it's more than I'm prepared to pay. At some point it will become public and you guys can see who is being realistic."
Moore was "cautiously optimistic" earlier in the day that he could stay with his hometown team after the 3 p.m. cutoff.
"I've stated all along that there's no place I'd rather be," Moore said. "Decisions have to made on both sides of the table."
Both players were at the rink, Antropov chatting with Russian-speaking pal Alexei Ponikarovsky.
"Your first NHL club is always exciting, you make the team and you're here for a long time," said Ponikarovsky, who stands a lesser chance of being moved today. "In some ways it's reflective, but life goes on and you have to move on."
Burke has steeled his resolve to put the Leafs back on the road to respectability.
"I've tried to manage everyone's expectations," Burke said. "I don't think there's going to be a major makeover (today). It's going to take some time.
"I'm not a big deadline guy. I've always tried to put my team together before Christmas.
"The year we won the Cup (2007 in Anaheim), the only (deadline) transaction I made was for Brad May and no one stopped the presses for that one."