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Eric Knodel

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Welcome back to the Master Card Centre of Excellence!

I was pleased to be back watching anything affiliated with the Maple Leafs. I was crushed after Game 7, but it all felt okay being back at the rink on this extremely hot summer day in Toronto.

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Brian Burke must have felt a lot like the eponymous Old Mother Hubbard when he first reached into the Leafs prospects cupboard. Of course, unlike the elderly dog-mistreating crone of the rhyme, Burke already knew what lay in stock prior to his arrival in Leafs country. In short: a few notable exceptions to a decade of draft property mismanagement.

Subsequently, the draft of 2009 looked to be a vital cornerstone in Brian Burke’s rebuild. The first chance for the Leafs to restock in a new, finally directed era.

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    To date, it has been a rather busy offseason for the Toronto Maple Leafs, with a number of free agent signings, roster re-signings, a few trades and even some coaching changes.

    The following is a chronological listing of Maple Leafs’ transactions during the 2009 offseason.

    Note: this list will continue to be updated with any further transactions made prior to the start of the 2009-10 regular season.

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      Last week, the Toronto Maple Leafs held their prospect development camp to gauge the progress and future outlook of both prospects within the organization, and unsigned players on the team’s radar.

      The camp, which ran from July 5th to July 10th, featured six full days of on-ice practice activities and off-ice seminars ranging from nutrition to lifestyle to the business of the NHL.   It provided an opportunity for the players to get to know their possible future teammates, as well as the chance showcase their abilities to the team’s player development personnel.

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        The Toronto Maple Leafs’ first draft under the watchul eye of Brian Burke displayed a stark change in the team’s draft philosophy. The scouting staff searched for the type of players and attributes that would be able to fit into the mold of a tough, physical checking style of game that the Leafs hope to play several years down the road. As a result, we saw a lot more emphasis placed on size and toughness than skill and speed. Not surprisingly, all of Toronto’s seven selections were from the North American ranks, four of them from the Ontario Hockey League and three from American hockey programs.

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          The first round didn’t quite live up to all the hype that we were hoping for, but Toronto did come out of it with a promising two-way centreman in Nazem Kadri. As it currently stands, Toronto will have six selections on Day 2 of the NHL Entry Draft, which encompasses rounds 2 through 7. It all kicks off on NHL Network at 10am ET. Live updates and analysis throughout the day.