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Three internal candidates eyeing number one centre role.


Who will be the hub of the Leafs’ number one line?

While incumbent Tyler Bozak put together an 18-goal, 47-point campaign, Leafs GM Brian Burke is convinced Bozak is better suited to a lower spot in the lineup.

There are three internal candidates for the spot between Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul: Joe Colborne and Nazem Kadri of the Marles as well as newly-acquired James van Riemsdyk.

Joe Colborne’s fortunes are looking up now that he has finally stopped growing

Joe Colborne

Age: 22

Hometown: Calgary.

Height: Six-foot-five and a half.

Weight: 220 lbs.

Shoots: Left.

Strengths: Exceptional reach. […]

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Sundin’s place cemented with Hall of Fame selection.

Hindsight, it seems, loves Mats Sundin.

The 13-year-Leaf is a first-ballot member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

He has been accorded the highest available honor in the shortest time possible.

In a season that included the raising of his number 13 to the rafters at Air Canada Centre, any  lingering questions about Sundin’s place in the pantheon of the team’s finest players, and that of the NHL greatest, has evaporated, for now, forever.

Sundin will be inducted with Pavel Bure, Adam Oates and Joe Sakic, November 12 at the Hall, a slapshot away […]

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Newest Leaf can’t wait to get going

JVR compares being acquired by the Leafs to being traded to the New York Yankees.

The New York Yankees, Jerry.

That’s the analogy James van Riemsdyk, the newest Maple Leaf, made while discussing his new hockey address, Saturday.

The Leafs acquired the 23-year-old leftwinger in a one-for-one exchange for 22-year-old defenceman Luke Schenn.

“To go to a place like Toronto is unbelievable,” van Riemsdyk said via cell. “The tradition they have.  I grew up a big New York Yankees fan. It’s like playing for the New York Yankees of the NHL.”

“Toronto has always […]

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Leafs swing a deal: Schenn for van Riemsdyk.

The Maple Leafs have landed Philadelphia power forward James van Riemsdyk

Pittsburgh –The Maple Leafs have landed winger James vanRiemsdyk in a trade for defenceman Luke Schenn.

News of the trade leaked out hours after the end of what seemed an uneventful entry draft.

The long-anticipated deal sends the 22-year-old Schenn to play with his brother Brayden in Philadelphia. The Flyers needed a defenceman because of the long-term injury of their captain Chris Pronger.

The 23-year-old van Riemsdyk, the second choice in the 2007 draft has been beset by injuries. This year he […]

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Leafs fan Matthew Finn dons blue and white.

Matthew Finn was a solid point producer and all-around defenceman for the Guelph Storm.

Pittsburgh – Matthew Finn has gone from a bud to a Leaf.

A member of the Leafs Buds Club when he was a kid living in Etobicoke, Finn was the Leafs second round choice, 35th overall at the NHL draft.

A six-foot, 195-pound left defenceman, Finn had been rated a mid first-round pick. Finn scored ten goals and added 38 points with the Guelph Storm.

Former Carlo Colaiacovo is Finn’s second cousin and until last year Finn kept posters […]

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Leafs grab another defenceman in Morgan Rielly.

The Leafs made Moose Jaw Warrior defenceman Morgan Rielly their first pick, fifth overall.

Pittsburgh – Morgan Rielly wants to get one thing straight.

“I learned in school it was I before E,” he told his first ever-big league press-conference. “I always thought I had it right.”

I before E it is.

Rielly, a six-foot, 190-pound defenceman with the Moose Jaw Warriors adds to an already stacked position. The Maple Leafs hope to graduate Korbinian Holzer from the Marlies to the big club this fall. Jesse Blacker will enter his sophomore season with […]

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Brian Burke and the golden moment: an essay.

Is this Brian Burke’s moment?

Every great team is built on one or two spectacular decisions perched atop countless years of smaller ones.

For the champion Los Angeles Kings, the future crystallized in the acquisition of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter.

For the Boston Bruins it was the free agent signing of  Zdeno Chara. Brian Burke’s bold move to draft the Sedin twins provided the Vancouver Canucks with an elite cornerstone tandem. The Rangers made the jump when they signed Brad Richards.

For the first time in his tenure, the general manager of the […]

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Alex Galchenyuk could be the Cadillac of hybrids.

I’d take the guy on the left.

I think Alex Galchenyuk is the guy.

If he is there at five, I think the Maple Leafs draft him.

As one hockey guy put it, just because Nail Yakupov was bestowed the title as the number one guy doesn’t necessarily means he deserves it.

Wish I could say I gleaned this intel from the Leafs brass. Seems they have more important things to do than tell me their plans.

But had the Sarnia Stings centreman not torn the MCL in his left knee and missed all […]

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Why the Maple Leafs should trade the fifth pick.


When Phil Kessel was drafted fifth overall in 2006, the pick was worth 90 cents on the draft dollar.

Trade the damn fifth pick.

Really. Trade it.

Take that fifth pick, the Tim Connolly, Blake Wheeler, Raffi Torres fifth pick. The one that has over the last five years yielded Karl Alzner, Luke Schenn, brother Brayden, Nino Niederreiter and Ryan Strome.

That one.

If you can get a solid offer move it on down the road.

Most number fives play with some distinction in the NHL. Some, Phil Kessel comes to mind, are tremendously talented.

But […]

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Yakupov the number one choice as first overall.

Nail Yakupov reminds scouts of another Russian who wore #10: Pavel Bure

Day 10:  Nail Yakupov, LW, 1NA

Barring an unexpected turn of events, the Edmonton Oilers will use their first overall draft choice to select Sarnia Sting right-winger Nail Yakupov.

There is little doubt Yakupov, who scored 80 goals in 107 games with the Sting has elite NHL skills. His is a trifle small at five-foot-10 but weighs in the high 190s. His skating is superb, he has an inexhaustible thirst for goalscoring and has an elite NHL shot.

Yakupov was a […]

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Subban is Malcolm in the Middle of the net

Belleville Bulls netminder Malcolm Subban is a relative newcomer to the position.

Day 8: Malcolm Subban, G, Belleviille, 1 NA goalie.

Malcolm Subban didn’t play goal until he was 12 years old but six years later he is poised to become the first goalie selected at the draft.

“I wanted to be a goalie from house league on My dad (Karl) was a coach when I was a player and he wasn’t too fond of me being a goalie,” Malcolm said. “It was really expensive and he thought I was a pretty […]

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International man of mystery: Mikhail Grigorenko.

Mikhail Grigorenko might be the most talented player in the draft.

Day 8: Mikhail Grigorenko. C, Quebec, 3 NA.

At six-foot-three, with good skating and unparalleled vision among this year’s draft candidates, Mikhail Grigorenko offensive offside is equal to or even greater than that of consensus number one Nail Yakupov.

As a rookie, Grigorenko scored 40 goals and recorded 85 points in 59 regular season games. He followed that up with a tepid playoff in which he scored just three times in 11 post-season games.

After the playoffs, Grigorenko revealed he had been ill with mononucleosis and didn’t have the energy necessary to compete. […]

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Maiden’s voyage will be an interesting one.

Jarrod Maidens brings a good two-way skill set.

Day 7: Jarrod Maidens. C/LW, Owen Sound: 35th NA.

Jarrod Maidens is a crapshoot, a player whose history of injuries has dramatically lowered his draft prospects. That said, there may be enough history to induce scouts to invest a second or third round pick on him.

While incomplete, the body of work is intriguing. Maidens played just 28 games and was knocked out of the lineup for good in late November because of a concussion.

That said the Attack selected him fourth overall in the […]

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Prospect Paterson a force between the posts.

Saginaw's Jake Paterson helped knock the talent-laden Sarnia Sting out of the OHL playoffs.

Day 6: Jake Paterson, Saginaw, goalie. Third NA goalie.

Perhaps more than any other player, Jake Paterson is responsible for the confused top five scenario at this year’s draft.

While Nail Yakupov has kept his number one ranking, his standing as well as the position of his centreman Alex Galchenyuk was muddled by the Sarnia Sting’s first-round, six game loss to Saginaw Spirit.

The architect of that upset: 6’1” Spirit goalie Jake Paterson who stopped 163 of 180 shots […]

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Murray looks to be leader among blueliners.

Defenceman Ryan Murray seems ready to be the first defenceman picked in the draft.

Day 5:  Ryan Murray, D Everett Silvertips. 2nd NA.

The 2012 draft is top heavy with talented forwards but Everett Silvertips defenceman Ryan Murray figures to be the first blueliner to warrant a pick.

Still, the pick is in flux. With a bevy of young forwards, the Edmonton Oilers, owners of the first overall pick,  may want to drop a place or two and emerge with Murray.

A six-foot-defenceman and captain with the (WHL’s) Everett Silvertips, Murray is an […]

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Is Brendan Gaunce a diamond in the rough…or in Belleville?

Belleville Bull centreman Brendan Gaunce brings a solid two-way game.

Day 4: Brendan Gaunce, Belleville Bulls, C. 13th NA

A strong two-way player, Brendan Gaunce brings excellent size (6’2”, 215 pounds) and two-way instincts to the draft table.

A graduate of the Markham Waxers and the second overall pick in the 2010 OHL draft, Gaunce’s style was built with the NHL in mind.

“I think from a young age I was taught by all my coaches that to play in the NHL you have to play defence first,” he said. “I think that’s […]

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Reinhart brings a big body and finesse skills to blue line.


Day 3: Griffin Reinhart, Edmonton Oil Kings, Defence. 10th NA

There are a few similarities between Griffin Reinhart and his father, Paul, an NHL defenceman who skated for 11 seasons in Atlanta, Calgary and Vancouver.

Both are defencemen. Paul was a linchpin rearguard who was often moved up to forward to make use of his offensive gifts.

Though not as accomplished as his dad on the offensive end, Griffin scored a dozen goals and added 24 assists in the regular season for the Oil Kings.

Griffin Reinhart is a towering shutdown defenceman with […]

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Filip Forsberg’s upside makes him one sweet Swede.

Filip Forsberg isn't related to Peter but he has big-game potential.

With the NHL entry draft set for June 22, is profiling ten players to watch. The Maple Leafs figure to enter the draft with the fifth choice.

Day Two:

Filip Forsberg. Leksand C-LW. 1 European.

A six-two forward, the 17-year-old Forsberg is a riveting prospect who should be among the top five picks.

When competing against players closer to his age at the Ivan Hlinka World Under-18 championships, Forsberg scored four times and added two assists in six games.

The youngest player on […]

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Sting centreman most often linked to Leafs

What kind of shadow will Alex Galchenyuk cast on the NHL entry draft, June 22?

The NHL entry draft is set for June 22-23 with the Maple Leafs, at this writing at least, holding the number five position. The Leafs haven’t enjoyed a higher position in the draft since they selected Scott Thornton third 23 years ago.

This is the first in a series of 10 player profiles, one a day, leading up to the draft weekend.

First off, the player most often associated with the Maple Leafs, Alex Galchenyuk.

Day One:

Alex Galchenyuk, […]

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June hockey bears unexpected treasures.


By June Tim Horton would have been back at Conn Smythe's quarry or maybe moonlighting at a little coffee shop he had started in Hamilton.

The furnace that is summer waits just over the horizon but your ice scraper might still be in the trunk or only recently banished to the garage.

June is the big payoff. It purges the memory of interminable winter. Each breath brings fresh possibilities.

Saturday, the city hosts its second June professional hockey game with the Norfolk Admirals seeking to oust the Toronto Marlies in Game 4.

Eight […]

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