Nonis: Leafs will not be shopping UFAs

Dave Nonis. (CP/Chris Young)

Dave Nonis doesn’t expect the Toronto Maple Leafs to move any of their upcoming unrestricted free agents at the trade deadline.

With his team in the midst of a playoff race, the Leafs general manager believes there is more value in keeping players such as forwards Clarke MacArthur and Tyler Bozak, whose contracts are set to expire after the season.

“We’ve got some UFAs people have asked about,” Nonis told Bob McCown and Stephen Brunt Tuesday on Prime Time Sports. “If we’re willing to pay a pick for a rental, why wouldn’t you be willing to keep your unrestricted players if you think they’re going to help you win?

“We’re not sold on selling guys who are unsigned. We’re prepared to keep them and we could look to add some pieces along the way.”

With five losses in a row, many have wondered whether the Leafs will be buyers or sellers at the April 3 trade deadline.

According to Nonis, that depends on what is made available on the trade market.

“We’re going to be in the mix with a bunch of teams,” said Nonis. “I’ve been asked if we’re going to be buyers or sellers and I think there’s a possibility of both … We could be moving players out, we could move some picks to bring players in. It’s going to be determined on what’s available to us.”

The Leafs plan to stay active but based on conversations they have had, Nonis does not foresee any moves coming in the short term.

Making their first playoff appearance since 2003-04 remains a priority but will not make a short-term move that could hinder the team’s future success.

“Would we move (Matt) Frattin and (Nazem) Kadri for older groups of players?” Nonis said. “That just wouldn’t make any sense to us. If we can add a piece that can help us get in than we would look to do it.”

One area Nonis is still keeping an eye is goaltending.

They have been pleased with the play of both James Reimer and Ben Scrivens this season but still could use a veteran netminder between the pipes.

“We think we have two capable NHL goaltenders but the one thing we don’t have is experience,” he said. “We’ve had a few goals in certain games that aren’t talent-related, they’re experience-related. By and large, goaltending has not been a problem for us. Both are giving us quality goaltending. That’s the one area we still want to be cognizant of and that’s our lack of experience in net.”

If we go past deadline with these goaltenders, it won’t be a setback for our team at all. If there’s an ability to improve our team in net, I don’t think you can say we’re not going to look it at because we would. But we’re not pounding the pavement saying our goaltending isn’t good enough.”

Heading into Tuesday’s action, the Leafs have a 15-12-2 record and sit in seventh place in the Eastern Conference

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