Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Leafs GM Nonis Says All Is Quiet on the Trade Front Two Days before NHL Draft

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Leafs GM Nonis Says All Is Quiet on the Trade Front Two Days before NHL Draft

Article excerpt

Nonis: All quiet on trade front

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SHORT HILLS, N.J. - Dave Nonis is trying to make a deal at the NHL draft, but the Toronto Maple Leafs general manager is finding the landscape for trading has become more difficult.

The constraints of the salary cap dropping from US$70.2 million to $64.3 million could make it harder to make trades this weekend, even for big-budget teams like the Maple Leafs. Some big-name players are available in talks, according to Nonis, but the interest isn't there.

"I think it's the financial aspect of making a deal and the realization that everyone is coming to, which is, it's hard to make some of these things fit," he said. "The cap jumping down, it has a significant impact on what teams can do."

What the Maple Leafs would like to do is find upgrades to a team that made the playoffs and lost in the first round to the eventual Eastern Conference-champion Boston Bruins. Though Nonis wouldn't comment on centre Vincent Lecavalier, having $19 million in cap space could make Toronto a landing spot for a prominent player, either through a trade or free agency.

"If we can make it fit," Nonis said. "We're no different than any other team. We have to operate within that same framework, and that six million bucks coming off the table makes it a lot more difficult than most people would expect. I think that everybody is starting to come to the realization that it'll be difficult to do."

As difficult as it might be to pull off a bevy of trades, Nonis said he won't make moves just for the sake of change. He's looking for upgrades.

"We've had some players that took a pretty significant step forward last year, and I'm happy with the group in general, the core group," Nonis said. "I think it's going in the right direction."

At the centre of that core group is captain Dion Phaneuf, a subject of some trade rumours this week. Nonis said Phaneuf hasn't been a player generating a lot of talk and implied he's not eager to get rid of the defenceman. …

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