Maple Leafs pressure Bryan McCabe: report

The Toronto Maple Leafs reportedly want to sever ties with high-priced defenceman Bryan McCabe.

The Toronto Maple Leafs reportedly want to sever ties with high-priced defenceman Bryan McCabe. 

McCabe, 33, is slated to make $6.15 million US next season and $4.15 million US in each of the final two seasons of the five-year, $29-million US contract he signed with Toronto on June 29, 2006.

But the Toronto Star reported Thursday that the Maple Leafs have been trying to convince McCabe to waive the no-movement clause in his pact.

"We have asked [Ian Pulver, McCabe's agent] about teams they would accept a trade to," Maple Leafs interim general manager Cliff Fletcher told the Star. "But they said they would not accept a trade and that we should buy Bryan out."

To buy him out, Toronto would have to pay two-thirds of what he is owed and, according to TSN, a $2-million US bonus due him on Sept. 15. 

But Fletcher reportedly told Pulver, through assistant GM Jeff Jackson, that he has no intention of buying out the defenceman.

"That is where it stands," Fletcher said. "There is a long time before camp and we will see if we can resolve this closer to camp."

'They're trying to shake things up a bit'

Fletcher paid $6 million US to buy out veteran forward Darcy Tucker on Wednesday, and further cleaned house by putting goaltender Andrew Raycroft and forward Kyle Wellwood on waivers.

"They're trying to shake things up a bit," said Wellwood, who was claimed by the Vancouver Canucks.

Fletcher also granted the Montreal Canadiens exclusive rights to negotiate with captain Mats Sundin, who becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

"If he decided he did not want to go to Montreal, there is nothing precluding him from signing with us," Fletcher said.

McCabe played a career-low 54 games last season, posting five goals and 18 assists for 23 points with 81 penalty minutes.

He was sidelined six games with a groin injury in October and 22 games following surgery on his left hand, which was broken in three places as he was checked into the boards by Canadiens forward Andrei Kostitsyn in a 4-1 loss at Montreal last Dec. 15.

McCabe, a native of St. Catharines, Ont., has compiled 115 goals and 418 points with 1,574 penalty minutes in 917 games over 12 NHL seasons with the New York Islanders, Canucks, Chicago Blackhawks and Maple Leafs.

He was drafted in the second round (40th overall) by New York in 1993.

With files from the Canadian Press