It was a whirlwind day for the newest Leaf Frazer McLaren but one that now sees the Winnipeg native join his favourite team growing up.
“I was actually a big Leafs fan growing up,” McLaren said on Friday. ”The Jets left there when I was pretty young and we used to get lots of Maple Leafs games out there.”
Just like many Leafs fans in the late 1990s McLaren was a fan of Doug Gilmour and Mats Sundin but during the spring of 1999, Lonny Bohonos became one of his favourite players.
“I actually was telling someone this the other day,” McLaren said. “He (Bohonos) wasn’t here too long I don’t think. He had a really good playoff one year but I was just a big fan of the Leafs.”
McLaren played in one game for San Jose this season. With some players coming back from injury, the Sharks then placed the 6-foot-5, 240-pound forward on waivers to open a roster spot and the Leafs claimed him.
“The process works where it is a 24-hour waiting period,” he said. ”I had a day off waiting and then Doug Wilson the GM in San Jose called me the next day and said I was claimed by Toronto.”
While he hadn’t heard from Leafs GM Dave Nonis due to both traveling on Thursday, head coach Randy Carlyle spoke about his new addition following the Leafs win over the Capitals on Thursday.
“A decent player from a standpoint from a big man safe along the wall,” Carlyle noted. ”He will surprise some people with his skill and mindset. He’s a George Parros size, 6-5, somewhere between 240 pounds and 250 pounds. Doesn’t mind the physical going, that’s part of his makeup.”
When asked about the likeness to Parros, McLaren agreed. It should be noted that the two have squared off against each other. McLaren is also familiar with Carlyle whom he followed when he was the head coach of the AHL Manitoba Moose.
“I’d say that is fair,” McLaren said of the Parros comparison. ”I don’t think it’s a secret the way I play. I stick up for teammates and drop the gloves when needed. I feel like I can play and contribute at this level.”
McLaren was in transit most of the day on Thursday and although he was at the MasterCard Centre on Friday, just a few Leafs were there as the team had the day off.
“There were a few guys there and I met them but I don’t know many other guys on the team besides Colton Orr,” McLaren said of another Winnipegger.
The two have known each other for a few years now as they used to train together when Orr spent his off-season in Manitoba.
“We used to skate together in the summers and we used to train at the same facility,” McLaren said. ”We have some mutual friends asw ell.”
While he isn’t sure if he will be in the lineup against Boston on Saturday at the ACC, he is looking forward to the Leafs game next Thursday in Winnipeg.
“We went there last year with San Jose but I didn’t get a chance to play but I’m looking forward to going back and being in the lineup,” he said.
McLaren brings an NHL career record of 40 games all with the Sharks (one goal, five assists, six points and 85 penalty minutes).
In case you would like to keep track of the newest Leaf, give him a follow on Twitter @Frazermclaren68 in fact Leafs fans have already welcomed him to Toronto via Twitter.
“I don’t tweet as much as some might but I’m on there,” McLaren said. ”I’m a big fan of it and I got lots of positive tweets yesterday from Leafs fans which I felt was awesome. They follow the team so closely and to give me support already was great. The more that follow me the merrier. I don’t think I’ve mastered the tweeting but I’ll do my best.”
McLaren will wear No. 38 for the Leafs.