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Yesterday was a big day in Leafs Nation.  And I think I speak for all fans when I say it's about time.  While two teams are currently battling for the opportunity to lift Lord Stanley's Cup, the Toronto Maple Leafs have been forced to sit on the sidelines and watch, bide their time with the other half of the league who wasn't fortunate enough to make into the NHL's playoffs. And while they have kept themselves busy, and Brian Burke has shown a penchant for rarely letting his team slip into the background, a lot of hype has been leading...

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Blacker has all the keys to being a successful top-4 blue-liner, but expect him to play a couple seasons in the AHL before seeing his first ice time in the big leagues. The newly turned nineteen year old must also add 20-25lbs to fill out his somewhat lanky frame in order to compete regularly against the leagues best. Though the Leafs depth at defensive has Blacker currently in the bottom third, as long as the Maple Leafs have Burke as general manager, Jesse will be in the system. Truculence and testosterone tops this youngster's resume, with a side of pugnacity and a light sprinkling of belligerence. I would compare the future of Blacker to that of Mike Van Ryn, just without the injuries (hopefully).

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In the second installment of the Prospect Season In Review, we will take a look at a couple of Maple Leafs prospects who have proven a positive product of the John Ferguson Jr / Cliff Fletcher draft era. Profiles in this segment include German DEL winger Jerome Flaake and defender Korbinian Holzer, as well as a prospect closer to home: Windsor Spitfires winger Dale Mitchell. Jerome Flaake, LW, Hamburg Freezers (DEL) Drafted: 5th round, 130th overall, 2008, Toronto Maple Leafs Pick acquired via trade with Florida Panthers in exchange for Wade Belak in February 2008. The Good: A tremendous skater known for superb puck-handling...

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After stockpiling up on picks during the past couple drafts as well as cornering the European and college free agent markets, the Maple Leafs' farm system is beginning to reap the rewards of unprecedented depth and talent. In the first installment of our MLHS "Prospect Season in Review" series, I'll be taking a look at three of the team's top prospects: Kenny Ryan, James Reimer, and Joel Champagne. ... Kenny Ryan: Forward, Windsor Spitfires Drafted: 2nd round, 50th overall in 2009 by Toronto The Good: During Toronto's first draft under Brian Burke's tenure, you could see a clear shift in the organizational draft...

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The Leafs continued their offseason stockpiling of goaltenders today, announcing that they have signed College free agent Ben Scrivens to a one year contract. Scrivens compiled an impressive 21-9-4 record with Cornell last year, with a .934 save percentage.  He was also a top ten Hobey Baker finalist. According to TSN, It is expected that Scrivens will challenge for playing time on the Toronto Marlies. More after the jump. From Garret Bauman: Great move. There is no such thing as having enough goaltending. Philadelphia this past season is proof enough of that. . For those worried about where these guys will play, you have to remember...

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Brian Burke has picked up yet another wallet. According to a Finnish report, the Toronto Maple Leafs have agreed to terms on a two year deal with Finnish free agent goaltender Jussi Rynnäs. Jussi is still just 22 years of age, and is coming off a stellar year in the Finnish SM-Liiga in which he posted a 2.50 GAA and a 0.929 SV%. Rynnäs is still at least a couple years away from being NHL-ready, and will start next season splitting time with James Reimer for the Toronto Marlies. Jussi was arguably this year's most coveted free agent goaltender,...

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While Hockey's Future has yet to release their top 10 organizational prospect rankings, the highly-respected source for prospect information has released their 11-20 and 21-30 lists. To the pleasant surprise of many, the Leafs aren't on either of them. Adding to the joy, division rivals Buffalo, Montreal and Ottawa have all already appeared in the 13th, 16th and 21st positions respectively. Call it a small victory, but this is quietly a watershed moment for Leafs fans as supporters of an organization consistently berated by mainstream pundits and opposition fans for their - somewhat overblown - underperformance at the draft table. It is...

Kenny Ryan

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Last night, the London Knights - and Leafs prospect Nazem Kadri - were eliminated from the OHL playoffs in a Game 7 blowout at the hands of the Kitchener Rangers. For his part, Kadri makes his playoff exit as the OHL's post-season scoring leader with a remarkable 9 goals and 18 assists in 12 games. The Kitchener Rangers will now move on to face the defending-champ Windsor Spitfires, whose own lineup features a couple of Leafs' prospects: forwards Dale Mitchell and Kenny Ryan (pictured). Mitchell provided the Spitfires with another solid campaign, recording 16 goals and 27 assists in 32 games played...

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Why collegiate draftee Viktor Stalberg's struggles this season prove that NCAA free agents will not be enough to plug the Leafs shortcomings next season.