Report: Leafs' Blake would be open to a trade Staff

5/10/2008 9:12:58 AM

One day after being nominated for the 2008 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for his fight with cancer, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Jason Blake is questioning whether he wants to return to the Blue and White.

According to a report in the Toronto Star, Blake would welcome a trade if one came along.

"I don't know," Blake told the Star when asked if he wanted to return to Toronto.

"It's a long time from now until the beginning of the year. We'll see. It was obviously a frustrating year, the most frustrating year I've had in the NHL."

The Star asked Blake if he would put up a fuss if he were traded, he said: "Oh no, not at all, if that's the route."

Despite battling a rare form of cancer, Blake played all 82 games with the Leafs last year. However, Blake struggled mightily this year reproduce the success that prompted Toronto to sign him to a five-year $20 million contract during the offseason. After scoring 40 goals with the New York Islanders in 2006-07, his production fell dramatically this year to just 15 goals with the Leafs.

His large outstanding contract notwithstanding, Blake had been rumoured to be a potential buyout target for the Leafs. But according to the report, Leafs interim GM Cliff Fletcher refuted that notion. But Fletcher also left the door open for the possibility of a trade.

"We're not thinking of buying him out, he's got four years left on his contract and he's a part of our team," said Fletcher.

"Now, he's no different from any other player on the team, if there's a trade made available to us that would interest us, we'd pursue it."

It's been a tumultuous season for the Maple Leafs. Toronto missed the playoffs for the third straight season, a development that cost both GM John Ferguson and head coach Paul Maurice their jobs. Blake recognizes changes need to be made in the organization.

"It's the hockey capital of the world, they (the fans) want to see the Leafs do well," said Blake.

"When you're not making the playoffs consistently, something has to change.

"I couldn't agree more. I don't know what's going to happen."