Dave Nonis doesn’t expect the Toronto Maple Leafs to be busy at the trade deadline, but if the team does make a move, it likely won’t be to acquire a rental player.
“I don’t anticipate us making any major moves,” Nonis told the Toronto Sun. “And I definitely don’t see us getting involved in a rent-a-player transaction that sees us move resources for someone we only have for a handful of weeks.”
The Leafs general manager says he’s only looking to make deals that will be good for the team long-term.
“You’re always looking to get better,” Nonis said. “But it has to be a hockey deal. It has to make sense long term while helping us now as well.”
The Leafs currently sit in fifth place in the Eastern Conference and were one of the hottest teams in the NHL—going 11-2-1 over a 14-game stretch—heading into the two-week Olympic hiatus. This despite being unable to put their ideal roster on the ice for much of the season due to various injuries and suspensions.
“Injuries happen. But we haven’t really had the opportunity to ice the team we envisioned last summer,” Nonis said. “We are getting closer to that. Now Randy [Carlyle] and the coaching staff has to tinker and find where everyone fits in.”
Nonis sees the expected return of centre Dave Bolland to the Leafs lineup as one reason for holding off on a big-splash deal. The GM is also aware that teams are sometimes forced to overpay for players and assets on deadline day.
“No question that perception and price are inflated,” he said. “Deadline prices definitely are different than summer prices.”
Nonis added that he isn’t more inclined to trade a player off his roster just because he might be a pending free agent. “Like I said, if it’s a hockey deal that makes sense long term, fine. But the fact that you might lose that player over the summer isn’t motivation to move them.”
The Leafs made just one minor move at the deadline last year, acquiring veteran blueliner Ryan O’Byrne from the Avalanche for a fourth-round pick. The team also made a push to complete deals for high-profile goalies Miikka Kiprusoff and Roberto Luongo that didn’t come to fruition.
So far this season the Leafs have made a handful of minor trades. They sent defenceman Mark Fraser to the Oilers for Cameron Abney and Teemu Hartikainen in January; they sent John-Michael Liles to Carolina in exchange for Tim Gleason on New Year’s Day; they got Peter Holland and Brad Staubitz from the Ducks for Jesse Blacker and two draft picks back in November; and, just prior to the regular season, they shipped Joe Colborne to the Flames for a conditional fourth-rounder.
The 2014 NHL Trade Deadline is at 3 p.m. EST / Noon PST on March 5.