Dion Phaneuf Phil Kessel

The Score: Brendan Shanahan has been authorized to rebuild the Toronto Maple Leafs; Phil Kessel, and Dion Phaneuf not in plans. Will they be traded at the March 2, 2015 NHL trade deadline or will it be better for the team to trade their core pieces in the off-season?

Shanahan received approval from the Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment board to initiate such a process in a recent meeting. Management is believed to have targeted the likes of Morgan Rielly, William Nylander, Jonathan Bernier, Nazem Kadri, James van Riemsdyk and Jake Gardiner as core players to build around.

The goal of management is to trade Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf at some point before the March 2 trade deadline or in the offseason in exchange for top prospects and draft picks.

Cathal Kelly of the Globe and Mail writes:

New Leafs president Brendan Shanahan was hired with a mandate to remake the team. From very early on, he’d realized that if the club aspired to be a Stanley Cup contender, it required a major overhaul.

But he needed the evidence of the season to persuade his employers fully. After the Leafs’ recent slide out of contention, the club’s given him that.

Then he needed the board to endorse his vision of a barren short term in the interests of a competitive future. In that meeting, he got that as well.

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