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Roberts staying in Florida

Panthers GM says almost no chance for Leafs trade
Demise of deal frees up Toronto to sign Mike Peca
Jul. 12, 2006. 01:00 AM

The Maple Leafs will not be welcoming Gary Roberts back next season, which will free up the cap room they would need to acquire Michael Peca.

Panthers GM Mike Keenan told reporters in Florida yesterday that there's almost no chance he'll grant Roberts his request to be traded to the Leafs for the final year of his two-year deal.

"I don't know if it's dead, but we're not making any progress and we've pretty much put it to rest as far as we're concerned," Keenan said. "The expectation is that he'll be back in a Panther uniform. His agent (Rick Curran) confirmed that he is going to play hockey next year. He's going to have to deal with that from a family perspective."

Roberts asked for the trade to Toronto to be closer to his 16-year-old daughter, Jordan, who attends a local boarding school. Roberts and Jordan's mother, Tammy, divorced when Roberts was playing for the Leafs and Tammy has since moved back to Calgary. Roberts is remarried and has an infant son.

Keenan originally said he would try to accommodate Roberts, but sources said he was concerned that giving in to Roberts would set a dangerous precedent. After all, Roberts negotiated a two-year deal last summer worth $2.25 million (all figures U.S.) a season that included a no-trade clause. He was also instrumental in helping to get a two-year deal with the Panthers for former Leaf and good friend Joe Nieuwendyk.

The demise of Roberts' return certainly opens the door for the Leafs to pursue Peca, who has stated he wants to play for Toronto next season.

The Leafs have about $38 million committed to salaries and qualifying offers for next season and need at least two more defencemen and two more forwards to fill out their roster. Even though the salary cap is $44 million, they don't want to go over $42 million.

Peca would have to take a pay cut this season to about $2.5 million from $4 million last season . He apparently has told the Leafs he would play here on a one-year deal.

The thinking is that he feels he's still worthy of more money and is eager to prove it over one season. He's certain to be noticed for his play if he is in Toronto.

Coincidentally, if Peca were to sign with the Leafs, he would be on the same team — perhaps even the same line — as Darcy Tucker, whose hit on Peca in the 2002 playoffs knocked him out of the series and prompted reconstructive knee surgery.

It's believed that, despite their history, Peca would not have a problem playing on the same team as Tucker.

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Roberts is staying in Florida

Canadian Press
7/25/2006 6:48:28 PM

Keenan said that forward Gary Roberts will be back with the team next season. Roberts sought a trade to Toronto earlier this off-season to be closer to his daughter, who will attend school in the city.

"We certainly had some discussions about some private issues, some family issues, with him and now we're moving forward at this point," Keenan said. "Gary will be at training camp in Florida come September."

Roberts, 40, has one year and $2.25 million remaining on the contract he signed with Florida before the 2005-06 season.
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