Dreger: Burke hopes to start dealing after freeze

Darren Dreger

12/16/2008 9:20:16 PM

Brian Burke hopes to make his first trade as President and General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs as soon as the National Hockey League's holiday roster freeze lifts on Dec. 27.

Burke says he has nothing going on right now, but continues to receive calls from rival general managers eager to unload their 'mistakes' - players Burke describes as either having too much term remaining on their contract, too much money, or both.

Burke's shopping list is long and although his assessment of the Maple Leafs is far from complete, there's only one untouchable - 19 year old defenceman Luke Schenn. As long as Schenn's name isn't included in any trade inquiries, Burke will listen to all offers.

Toronto's top priority and most immediate goal is acquiring size to play the physical game Burke insists his teams play. 

And while the Leafs continue to compete hard, Burke says his team isn't big enough to play that style.

A legitimate NHL heavyweight is also among Burke's most wanted, but there are none available at the moment and unless one surfaces soon, Toronto will consider adding two middleweights to shoulder the load.

Burke also intends on actively pursuing what the free agent market offers.

The Maple Leafs will show interest in college players like Boston University defenceman Matt Gilroy who will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of his college season.

Burke is unlikely to give Gilroy the one-way contract he is sure to seek, but Toronto will be in the mix and will also consider other college free agents such as University of Denver forward Tyler Bozak.

Supplementing the NHL Entry Draft with young free agent signings will help take care of Toronto's future.  As for the present, Burke wants "presence" on the ice and the process of addressing that will begin later this month.