Hockey

Leafs' McCabe considers other teams: report

Maple Leafs defenceman Bryan McCabe, who has a no-movement clause, has softened his stance on being traded, general manager Cliff Fletcher told the Toronto Star.

Head coach Ron Wilson and the Toronto Maple Leafs have already started planning for life without captain Mats Sundin.

And it now appears they can start doing the same with regards to much-maligned defenceman Bryan McCabe.

McCabe, who has a no-movement clause, has softened his stance on being traded, general manager Cliff Fletcher told the Toronto Star.

"Bryan is starting to think about possibly getting his career started somewhere else," Fletcher said. "We'll leave him alone. He's going to get back to us in a couple of weeks.

"I'm really confident it's going to be resolved amicably before training camp [in September]."

Fletcher would like to shed some payroll. McCabe, 33, is slated to earn $6.15 million US next season and $4.15 million in each of the final two seasons of a five-year, $29-million deal.

Fletcher has said previously the team has no interest in buying out McCabe, something the player's agent Ian Pulver suggested to the Star earlier in the summer. But that would cost the team two-thirds of what the blue-liner is owed, plus a $2-million bonus due Sept. 15.

So far this off-season, Fletcher has bought out other underachievers, forward Darcy Tucker and goaltender Andrew Raycroft, while centre Kyle Wellwood was placed on waivers and later claimed by Vancouver.

McCabe has scored 115 goals and has 418 points in 917 NHL games over 12 seasons with the New York Islanders, Vancouver, Chicago and Toronto.

As for Sundin, he remains non-committal about playing next season or retiring.

This week, Wilson said Sundin's winger Nik Antropov would be among "lots of guys" the first-year Leafs bench boss hopes to audition for the No. 1 centre job should Sundin not return.