Burke: No truth to rumour about draft negotiations with Tampa Staff

5/13/2009 10:14:34 PM

Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke appeared on Toronto radio station AM 640 on Wednesday afternoon to dismiss rumours he was looking to move up in the NHL Entry Draft by making a deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

In recent days, there had been much speculation that involved Tampa receiving Toronto's seventh pick in exchange for the Lightning's second pick and forward Ryan Malone, who has four years and $17 million remaining on his existing contract.

Burke flatly denied the rumours.

"First off, Malone's under contract to the Lightning," Burke told TSN's Darren Dreger on AM 640. "If a team had interest in him, they're not at liberty to discuss.

"I would ask our fans to say, 'okay, does it make sense for anyone to acquire $17 million in salary to move five places in the entry draft?' And the answer is no. That's a trade that has never been discussed."

There had also been talk that the Leafs would be willing to part with defencemen Luke Schenn and Tomas Kaberle in order to flip picks.

Burke said he spoke with Lightning GM and executive vice president Brian Lawton, who said he had nothing to do with either rumour, and Burke again stressed that such a move would not be practical for the Maple Leafs.
"Luke Schenn and Tomas Kaberle - two top-two defencemen - to move five places...does that make any sense to anybody? The answer is no. It's a lot of noise, it's a lot of aggravation and when you actually analyze what's proposed or what's available or what the rumour is, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense, either one of them."

Burke then reiterated that the odds of Schenn leaving town are extremely slim, as the team will be looking to build around a younger core of players like the 19-year-old blueliner.
"I see Schenn as a vital part of everything that we're trying to do here and I told him that," Burke told the radio station. "I said, 'Luke, you don't have to sit around and worry about getting a phone call from me that you're going anywhere because that's a very remote possibility.'"

The Leafs GM then bristled playfully at all the attention that is already being put on potential dealings.
"It's only May," Burke added with a laugh. "I can't imagine what this will be like once it gets closer."
Schenn and Lightning centre Steven Stamkos were at a Nike training event in Toronto on Wednesday and shared how the news of the trade rumour surfaced.

''Steven called to say he heard on the radio that I was coming to Tampa Bay, and he made a gem saying his general manager (Brian Lawton) just called to ask what type of guy I was,'' laughed Schenn. ''Then Brian (Burke) literally called me two minutes later and said I'm not getting traded and if anyone asks, tell them I told you that.''

Stamkos viewed Schenn as someone Toronto needs to hold on to.

''They were just rumours and I was trying to give Luke grief that I had a place ready to go (and that) he was coming to Tampa. But I think they'd be wise to keep him in Toronto,'' Stamkos stated. ''He's a guy that you can build a team around and if I was a betting man, I'd bet that he stays in Toronto.''