Last Wednesday (September 1st), Toronto's MasterCard Centre for Excellence, the Maple Leafs' own practice facility, played host to the 2010 NHLPA Rookie Symposium in association with trading card leaders Upper Deck and Panini America. MLHS' own Gus Katsaros was in attendance, and has kindly provided audio from his own conversation, as well as portions of a larger media scrum Q&A, with Leafs' top prospect Nazem Kadri.
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 Burkeâ€™s rebuild. The first chance for the Leafs to restock in a new, finally directed era.
For as long as I have been reading the comments section of this site, Iâ€™ve been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of posts that discuss the Leafs need to obtain a 2nd round pick through a trade.Â While the tenability of some trades, â€œBobby Ryan, Jesus Christ (who historically has done his best work on the boards) and a 2nd pick for Tomas Kaberle, Howard Berger, and a 7thâ€ may be questioned, there is certain validity behind the desire.Â Indeed, the Leafs have had some success in the second round (Stajan and Kulemin have both become solid players, and the Leafs have three 2nd round picks in the past two drafts as promising prospects).
It has a nice ring to it when you take into consideration he was eliminated in the second-round by his ex-team, the Kitchener Rangers. Kadri compiled an impressive 9 goals and 27 points in 12 playoff games, giving him the highest points-per-game average among playoff competitors during the 2010 OHL post-season.
However, that doesn't mean his future in the National Hockey League for next season is solidified. Not even close, actually. Fact remains that plenty of promising prospects have fell by the wayside and spoiled untapped potential, and that the manner in which an NHL club handles the transition of a prospect into the big leagues remains of paramount importance in the successful development of a promising up-and-comer into a consistent NHL contributor, especially in a hotbed like Toronto.
When Travis Zajac had his face plastered into the boards, I just knew we had found our very own Chuck Norris. Then, Phaneuf dropped the gloves with Colin White and my man-crush officially began.
The Toronto Maple Leafs entered the 2009-10 season with lofty expectations set by the General Manager, Brian Burke, which fueled a widespread notion that, despite the team's penchant for mediocrity, the Leafs would at the very least be in the mix for the eighth and final playoff seed.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are ranked third in the Eastern Conference during the last 10 games with a 6-2-2 record, and while that is no major accomplishment, it's an indicator that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
The trio of collegiate hockey players are no doubtÂ anxiously awaiting their fate with the Buds. And with the regular season set to debut on October 1st, they will be informed soon.
With under two weeks until the pre-season debuts, many fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs continue to ponder which players will make the cut come opening night against the Montreal Canadiens. Players like Jiri Tlusty, Tyler Bozak, Christian Hanson, Nazim Kadri and others will be competing for employment at the National Hockey League level. However, the rigors of the NHL regular season far exceeds that of the pre-season, and as a result many players have failed to maintain their newfound success.