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February 18, 2017 | 10:58am ET
Leafs continue to look long-term

Toronto has gained a significant amount of attention in the past couple weeks concerning the trade deadline.

Will they add? Will they go after Matt Duchene or Gabriel Landeskog? Are they sellers?

The speculation covers just about everything when it comes to this hockey club.

One thing that is for sure, they are now in the now; they're looking for a long-term situation. If that helps them go for a playoff run this season, great, but the longevity of their self-imposed plan is the first priority.

Head Coach Mike Babcock told Leafs Lunch today:

"What I'd tell you is we've got a long-term plan here," Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock said on 'Leafs Lunch' on TSN 1050 in Toronto on Friday. "We feel like we'd do anything we could to get in the playoffs that doesn't get in the way of our long-term plan.

"I'm no different than anyone else. People can speculate, but the reality is, you look at our group, and I think this is our group moving ahead. What we can do in the offseason to help ourselves -- that's a big job for our management team. But right now, if anybody is looking for us to be the news on trade deadline day, I'd find something else to do."

So if they decide to make a move; what does that look like?

Sporstnet's Elliotte Friedman offered his opinion and some additional information during 'Sportsnet Today' on The Fan 590 on Friday.

"The one thing about Landeskog is that his term goes for a while. Duchene has two more years, which means he would expire at about the time they would have to pay both (Auston) Matthews and (Mitch) Marner," Friedman said. "I really think they aren't going to do anything unless it fits the long-term image of what they're thinking. I don't think they're adding to do a big-time short-term rental that's going to cost them a ton. I just don't think they're interested in doing that. If there is a defenseman out there who has some term left, I think they would do it. There aren't a lot of those. If there is someone who can help them out for a while, I think they would do it."

The Maple Leafs have been linked to Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Brian Boyle, a pending unrestricted free agent, as well as St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, whose contract is also up at the end of the season.


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