Just under 6,000 fans crammed into the GM Centre in Oshawa to watch the Leafs practice yesterday in another testament to the undying popularity of the team and its players.

For a few Leafs, though, the practice that charmed local hockey fans and raised $10,000 for the Eastview Boys and Girls Club could have been their last hurrah in Toronto.

It’s expected that at some point over the next three days until the March 3 NHL trade deadline, at least one, and probably more, Leafs could be dealt to new clubs.

For Leafs like Alex Ponikarovsky and Lee Stempniak — who have the highest trade value on the team — the Olympic roster freeze lifted at midnight last night means they may not make it to tomorrow’s game against Carolina.

Leafs GM Brian Burke has reiterated over the past several weeks he will be both buyer and seller at the deadline, and with the freeze over, it promises to be an intriguing and busy three days of dealing with Burke potentially igniting the market.

Ponikarovsky remains the Leafs most moveable asset — a big winger who will easily set a career high in goals and points this season, and one who will have produced 20 goal seasons in four of the past five seasons since the lockout.

“No, we haven’t had the talk,” Ponikarovsky said when asked if he’s been told he’ll be traded. “It’s just rumours for now, that’s about it.”

Tomas Kaberle, freshly back from representing his native Czech Republic at the Vancouver Games, was not aware of any change in his trade situation.

The popular defenceman, an 11-year veteran in Toronto, holds a no-trade clause. Internet rumours continue to insist he’s provided the Leafs with a list of contending teams he’s willing to go to. But yesterday Kaberle said he has not asked the Leafs to move him.

“No, nothing has changed with me, so we’ll see,” Kaberle said.

The Leafs, meanwhile, continued with six days of practices and gave every indication the hovering trade rumours and trade deadline are not a distraction.

“No, everyone is just having fun,” Ponikarovsky said. “Everyone is working and I think we’re all in a good mood.”

Unfortunately for Ponikarovsky, though, there seems an inevitability that he will be moved.

On Feb. 12 a rumour surfaced suggesting a Ponikarovsky deal was completed (a team and other players were not mentioned).

The deal never materialized, but Burke later suggested talk was in the advanced stages, but that he would hold off until after the Olympics “and drive a harder bargain.”