General manager Dave Nonis began the de-construction of the Leafs on Sunday by trading Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli to the Nashville Predators. It's the first move to cash in ahead of the March 2 trade deadline and the first of many that will be made before the 2015-16 Leafs gather for training camp.
"We're going to make moves whenever they come about that we think can help us," said Nonis, whose future is in doubt with the Leafs headed toward their second straight season without a playoff appearance. "Whether there's a lot more between now and the deadline or not, I really couldn't tell you. It's not like we're trying to move out our whole roster, that's not the case.
"But if there are deals that will help us to move the team forward, then we would look to do them."
Forwards Daniel Winnik and David Booth, each on a one-year deal, could be traded within the next two weeks, as could veteran centre Olli Jokinen, acquired from Nashville but likely not long for Toronto.
Jokinen has only six points this season but could be worth something given that his contract is up at the end of the season, especially if the Leafs retain part of his salary to get a deal done.
"Our plans with Olli would be to get him playing, get his game to the highest possible level," Nonis said. "I wouldn't be surprised if there are playoff teams that will be calling us before the 2nd to see if we'd move him."
Even considering the Leafs' recent failures, which include a March 2014 collapse and one this season that cost Randy Carlyle his job, there are plenty of players who could draw interest. Centre Nazem Kadri is a restricted free agent this summer, and core players like Phil Kessel, captain Dion Phaneuf and Joffrey Lupul may be out the door if the organization commits to a long-term rebuild.
No one's off-limits, Nonis said, with perhaps the exception of impressive 20-year-old defenceman Morgan Rielly.
"If we're trying to put together a young group that can grow together and have a chance to win, you'd have a harder time moving the younger players," Nonis said. "For us to move Morgan Rielly right now, unless it was something that makes so much sense in terms of rebuilding a team, you just wouldn't do. I wouldn't say untouchable ... but obviously there's some players that would be very difficult for us to move."
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