Maple Leafs are in for nail-biting final seven weeks | Hockey | CBC Sports

Hockey Night in CanadaMaple Leafs are in for nail-biting final seven weeks

Posted: Sunday, February 19, 2012 | 03:40 PM

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Mikhail Grabovski has recovered from a slow start, but the Toronto Maple Leafs will have to decide whether he is worth a long-term extension, and at what pay rate. (Derek Gee/Associated Press) Mikhail Grabovski has recovered from a slow start, but the Toronto Maple Leafs will have to decide whether he is worth a long-term extension, and at what pay rate. (Derek Gee/Associated Press)

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With the Feb. 27 NHL trade deadline fast approaching, we have taken a look at the situations with each of the seven Canadian clubs over the past week. The Toronto Maple Leafs are the final team to slip into our hot seat on Sunday.
With the Feb. 27 NHL trade deadline fast approaching, we have taken a look at the situations with each of the seven Canadian clubs over the past week. The Toronto Maple Leafs are the final team to slip into our hot seat on Sunday.

The Situation: The Maple Leafs, along with the Florida Panthers are the only two teams that haven't made an appearance in the postseason since the 2004-05 lockout ... Toronto appeared on its way to ending that dubious honour until a recent tailspin that saw them drop five of six outings. This slump has given life to teams like the Capitals, Jets, Islanders, Canadiens and Lightning. Only six points separate this group from Toronto ... The Maple Leafs have been a second-half team in recent seasons, but they have played few pressure-packed meaningful games in February, March and April, so it will be interesting to see how they get on ... The Maple Leafs have been included in just about every piece of speculation when it comes to available players around the league, but they're not dealing from a position of strength ... Most of the talk centres around centre Mikhail Grabovski, a pending unrestricted free agent, and young defenceman Luke Schenn. Toronto would like to sign Grabovski to an extension, but the 28-year-old Grabovski hasn't helped his cause lately with no points in six games.

Playoff hopes: The Maple Leafs occupy eighth spot in the East, one point in front of Washington and two ahead of Winnipeg. The ninth-place Capitals have one game in hand, while the Jets have played one more game than Toronto. The Maple Leafs begin a key four-game homestand on Tuesday that includes a big tilt versus the Capitals on Saturday.

Schedule: 23 games remaining (12 home, 11 road)

At Home: New Jersey, San Jose, Washington, Florida, Boston, Philadelphia, N.Y. Islanders, N.Y. Rangers, Carolina, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Tampa Bay.

On the Road: Chicago, Montreal, Pittsburgh, Washington, Florida, Tampa Bay, Ottawa, Boston, New Jersey, Buffalo, Montreal.

Restricted free agents: Nikolai Kulemin, Jay Rosehill, Cody Franson, Keith Aulie.

Unrestricted free agents: Mikhail Grabovski, Joey Crabb, Darryl Boyce, Jonas Gustavsson.

No-trade clauses: Tim Connolly (modified), Joffrey Lupul (modified), Mike Komisarek (modified), John-Michael Liles (modified).

Cap space: $1.3 million.

On the farm: Joe Colborne has size at 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds, but not much NHL experience. He played nine games for the Maple Leafs earlier this season and exhibited promise with a goal and three assists. More importantly, Toronto went 5-3-1 with him in the lineup. The 22-year-old from Calgary has 16 goals and 35 points in 42 games with the Toronto Marlies in the AHL this season.

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