TORONTO – No guarantees were forthcoming from Brian Burke.
But the Leafs President and General Manager managed to keep the air clear as it pertained to the rumour mill surrounding 22-year-old Luke Schenn.
"Basically what he told me is he's not offering me to anyone," Schenn told TSN.ca, "but sometimes I guess the odd team will call. He said he's not going to guarantee anyone they're not going to be traded and that's totally understandable. To me, that's part of the business."
Now in his fourth NHL season, Schenn is no stranger to the circus-like frenzy leading up to the NHL's annual trade deadline. But this time around, the white noise caught him by surprise, rumours bubbling of an imminent trade to Philadelphia only months after he'd signed a five-year deal to remain in Toronto.
"I think at the start it maybe caught me a little bit off-guard just because you always thought of yourself being a piece of the puzzle," he said. "The one day I think it was on the front of TSN and NHL.com that I was getting traded for [James] Van Riemsdyk. It's been pretty steady here since it feels like probably a month and a half or couple months almost."
Jarring at first, the daily barrage of speculation – distracting no doubt – eventually became somewhat amusing. One day he was rumoured to be joining his brother Brayden with the Flyers, another day not so much. The flickering continued for the better part of two months, concluding with a dark deadline day on Monday afternoon.
"I think towards the end it turned into more of a joke," Schenn grinned. "Hearing about it everyday I was kind of starting to laugh about it. Even I talked to my brother or my buddies or my dad or whoever and it kind of turned into more a joke, like 'really they're talking about it again?'
"I think it was trending on Twitter for a bit. Obviously you realize that there's talk and it's serious, but at the same time it's a bit ridiculous."
Schenn has struggled to find his game at points this season, the pressures of that new, hefty contract likely gnawing gently in the back of his mind. Trade talk was just another jab at the confidence, an unsuspecting jolt to the system.
By mid-January the chatter nearly bubbled over and it was then during a trip to Buffalo that Burke pulled Schenn aside for the first of many conversations detailing the situation.
"Burkie's been awesome to me, not leading me in the dark," Schenn said. "He's been honest with me. He's a guy that you want to play for just because he's a pretty straight shooter; there's no grey area."
As TSN's Darren Dreger first reported, the Leafs could have dealt Schenn – among others – for a first round pick, but opted to push for the playoffs with the current team intact. It's an outcome the Saskatchewan native is certainly pleased with.
"For me, it's nice just to know he still thinks of you as part of the future, but at the same time he can't guarantee anyone [is] not going to be traded and I understand that," Schenn concluded. "Whether you're in the Western Hockey League or AHL or NHL, it's all the same. If a trade comes up you can't refuse, you're going to have to trade that guy."