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Jonas Frogren


Now that the Leafs’ most important pending free agent — goaltender Jonas Gustavsson — has been signed to a two-year contract extension, it is time to take a look at their remaining free agent players.

Notably, the list of expiring contracts includes pending RFAs Nikolai Kulemin, Christian Hanson and John Mitchell. Pending UFAs on the Leafs’ roster include Wayne Primeau, Rickard Wallin, Jamie Lundmark, Garnet Exelby and Mike Van Ryn.


Naz Tracker. Kadri Nation. Kaptain Kadri…

… Kadri, Kadri, Kadri!

Who would have guessed that with all the attention surrounding the Leafs 2009 1st round pick, it would actually be the Toronto kid selected in the 2nd round that would be first to string some games together on a pro club. Though not officially announced, Jesse Blacker has left the OHL and joined the Toronto Marlies for the remainder of the season.


    Despite an encouraging 3-0-4 record in their past 7 games, the Maple Leafs continue to explore ways to improve their roster with an eye to both the current season and the future.   The following is a rundown of the latest rumours making their way around the campfire in reference to the boys in blue.


      The Toronto Maple Leafs have sent forwards Jiri Tlusty, Nik Kulemin, and Tyler Bozak, as well as defender Carl Gunnarsson, to the Toronto Marlies of the AHL.

      These moves leave the team with a 22-man roster, one under the season-opening limit of 23.    That number does not include either of Phil Kessel or Mike Van Ryn, as both will start the season listed as injured non-roster players.


        The Maple Leafs continued their shaping of the NHL roster with another four cuts on Sunday. Top prospect Nazem Kadri will be going back to the OHL’s London Knights, Jonas Frogren and Christian Hanson will report to the Toronto Marlies, and Andy Rogers has been released. By my count, that leaves 30 players left (including Kessel who will be placed on the long-term injured reserve), meaning there will be another 6 cuts in the near future.


          Jonas Gustavsson will make his much anticipated debut for the Maple Leafs in tonight’s preseason tilt against Detroit.  Coach Ron Wilson has indicated that he will be in there for at least the first period, but that the staff wants to break him in slowly.  If Toronto does not get barraged in the first twenty minutes as they have in recent exhibition matches, the Monster’s tenure may stretch to a period and a half.


            After watching the first four pre-season games, I’ve noticed a few players stand out while others have sunk into a state of mediocre play. This is my brief evaluation of the players we no longer need, including my own opening night roster preview. I look forward to reviewing all of your own opening night rosters compared to the way I view the brand new Maple Leafs.


              I had the privilege of a great view from the Gold section, ten rows off the ice to witness a fairly decent game with plenty of positives. It was my first time in the lower bowl, so it was certainly an exciting and interesting experience to see how the other side lives. Impressive performances carried over from the rookie tournament by Tyler Bozak, the game’s first star, and fellow collegiate rookie Viktor Stalberg.


                The Maple Leafs began on-ice workouts today at their new practice facility, the Mastercard Centre for Hockey Excellence.

                I’ve been given credentials and was on site for the first day and will be attending all three days of on ice practice.

                The following are a series of notes from Day 1 …


                  Today was the deadline for Tomas Kaberle’s NTC lift, and he is still a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs. While some fans were demanding for an immediate rebuild with some youth in return for a trade for Kaberle, others notice how strong the current Leafs defense core has the potential to be and are curious to see how Kaberle can perform with a physical presence around him. Brian Burke is among those who are interested. “I look forth to seeing what Tomas can do with a little more size and toughness around him when he’s not picking his teeth out of the glass all night.”


                    A variety of discussion points to kick off the weekend including the imminent departure of Justin Pogge and the Marlies goaltending situation going into next season. Is it finally James Reimer’s time to shine? Also, a quick look at the latest flurry of moves made by the Boston Bruins, and how that may affect a potential Leaf trade for the still unsigned Phil Kessel.


                      Brian Burke was on Prime Time Sports with Bob McCown on Wednesday afternoon to discuss a variety of Leaf topics. An audio link to the interview can be found on the FAN 590′s website here. Although none of the news was of the earth-shattering variety, there were a couple interesting tidbits dropped as it pertains to the Leafs’ plans over the next few weeks and going into the regular season.


                        Although it has been widely reported that Farjestads BK forward Rickard Wallin is considering leaving Sweden to return to the NHL, and that the team interested in bringing him back to North America is the Toronto Maple Leafs, there is no definite timetable on when he might sign.

                        One would assume a decision is likely to happen within the next week.   Wallin’s four year contract with Farjestads includes a clause which allows him to sign with an NHL team, but that clause is only in effect until July 15th.


                          First, it was the failed courtship of a talented, young Farjestads star forward named Fabian Brunnstrom, who went on to post an impressive 17 goal rookie campaign for the Dallas Stars. Then Toronto went back to the Swedish club and relieved them of one of their top stay at home defenders, bringing over Jonas Frogren to add some much needed grit and toughness. Early into this summer, Brian Burke turned his attention to Farjestads’ young goalie phenom, Jonas Gustavsson, in a highly publicized negotiation process. As if that wasn’t enough, the Leafs are rumored to now be attempting to steal away Farjestad’s captain, forward Rickard Wallin as well. Their rising young forward, top defensive defenseman, top young goaltender and now their captain. Something tells me their fans aren’t too thrilled with the Leafs.


                            Let’s take a break from the rumour mill, and have a look at where the Toronto Maple Leafs roster currently stands.

                            With the draft a little over a month away, and free agency beginning shortly thereafter, it’s time to take a look at the current Maple Leafs’ roster, who is and is not under contract for next season, and the resultant depth at each position.


                              Now that the 2008-09 regular season has officially ended, it’s time to take a look back over the roster to assess each of the Maple Leafs’ players.

                              Note that I’m only including players who finished the season with at least one game played for the Maple Leafs, and am excluding those traded away during the course of the season.

                              Statistics for those who were acquired mid-season reflect games played as members of the Maple Leafs only.


                                It’s not yet time to pack away the sticks and skates for some of the Leafs players. A pair of Maple Leaf defensemen, Luke Schenn and Ian White were informed on Saturday night that they would have a chance to represent Team Canada at the upcoming World Hockey Championship which begin April 24th in Switzerland. Jason Blake will lace ‘em up for Team USA while Niklas Hagman will don the Finnish colors.


                                  The Maple Leafs have forfeited a fourth round draft pick and $500 000 for paying Swedish defenseman Jonas Frogren a $750 000 signing bonus this past summer, part of which he used to buy out his former contract at Swedish club Farjestad.


                                    It looks as though Phil Oreskovic will make his NHL debut tomorrow night vs. Ottawa as the Leafs attempt to cope with an injury-riddled blue-line. Anton Stralman will also feature with Tomas Kaberle, Mike Van Ryn, Jonas Frogren and waiver pick-up Erik Reitz all sidelined. Reitz and Kaberle should be back in action within a week whereas Van Ryn’s season may well be over after he sustained a wince-inducing knee injury last night against the Oilers. Just when we thought we were done with one freakishly injury prone defenseman, it looks like VR will be eliciting the frustration of Carlo Colaiacovo’s tenure as a very skilled defenseman who simply cannot stay off the shelf. The timeline on Frogren isn’t yet known, but Wilson suggested after last night’s loss that “he will be a while” recovering from his lower body injury.

                                    Check out Garrett Bauman’s “Getting To Know You” profile of Phil Oreskovic here.


                                      “The Day after Yesterday” (the prequel to “Day after Tomorrow”). These two things have a lot in common. Millions of people watched it all unfold, hoping the guy in the lead role could do the impossible and save the day (it didn’t happen, the world still froze over and the Leafs still don’t have a second 1st round pick). There was a serious injury that needed medical aid (Toskala’s hip/groin, and Laura Chapman’s blood poisoning). And everyone was running around frantically once they found out about the strange phenomenon (Guy 1: “Hey look, a giant tsunami!” Guy 2: “Who cares, Andy Wozniewski was traded!” Guy 1: “You’re right! That’s far more bizarre.”)