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role player

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There is no saying that Brian Burke won’t find some way to improve the Leafs lot come draft day, but as things stand this very moment the Leafs will not be making a selection until the third round. Where the Leafs went off the board early last year taking the nameplate-less Jamie Devane in the third, in a draft marked by big-bodied rough-and-tumble types, chances are this season, Burke and his staff will be looking for a player with a more immediate skill set. Not only would this partially appease a disheartened fan base, the Leafs will enter the draft wary of saturating the cupboard with leviathan sized bodyguards.

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    By Gus Katsaros
    The Leafs aren’t as bad as a four win first quarter. They were a playoff bubble team prior to the season, and the postseason wasn’t necessarily the goal, as was becoming competitive enough to stay in the run. They aren’t a bottom five NHL club, and unlikely to finish in a lottery position.

    This season continues the transition like last season into shaping Toronto into a respectable organization, from management, down. That hasn’t changed with the off season moves, aside from some specific performances.

    ‘Spirit is Everything’ is a fitting slogan .. because winning this season, means nothing.

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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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        In the MLSE land of unreasonable expectations, even a superstar troupe like Burke and Wilson will not be afforded another record breaking season; at least not if said record is a fifth consecutive season of playoff free hockey. Subsequently Burke is going to be looking for a catalyst to the rebuilding project come summer and the most obvious route will arrive in early July, not a week earlier in Montreal.

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          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.

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            As the Trade Deadline approaches, speculation will continue to grow over which Maple Leaf players may be moving on to new NHL destinations.

            The following is my own personal estimation of the likelihood of regular roster players actually getting dealt, based upon contract status, playoff/stretch drive impact potential, comments from players/coaches/management, and of course the metaphorical smoke & fire (the amount of repetition in the rumour mills).   To quote the great Chazz Palminteri, “a rumour’s not a rumour that doesn’t die”.

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              So the Maple Leafs extend their tank-friendly stretch of non-success with a convincing 4-1 loss at the hands of the Philadelphia Flyers tonight, marking their seventh loss in their last nine games. As I snicker while watching Mats Sundin look equal parts lazy, fat and slow (yeah, he scored an empty net chance, so what), here are a few thoughts about tonight’s pedestrian performance from the Blue and White: