A quick update containing some news that surfaced last night… the Maple Leafs have inked 20-year-old left-winger Robert Slaney of the QMJHL’s Cape Breton Screaming Eagles to a three-year, entry-level contract, according to the Screaming Eagles’ official website.
Slaney marks the third undrafted prospect to be signed in the last two weeks by Brian Burke, who has appropriately taken an aggressive approach towards importing young talent through all available avenues. Slaney obviously doesn’t come with as much promise as a Bozak or Hanson, but there is virtually no risk and the potential for high-reward with these type of signings.
Slaney’s profile on his team’s website has Brian Burke written all over it. He’s described as a sharp young man that strikes a balance between hockey and school, and was consequently named the QMJHL’s Scholastic Player of the Year for the ’07/’08 season. Burke will be the first to tell you that he respects a player who values an education as often times that level of responsibility is also manifested in a player’s on-ice game. On the ice, at 6’2, 203 pounds, Slaney’s considered one of the better power forwards in the league having improved his game considerably after failing to have his name called at the 2007 draft. Granted, the Q isn’t exactly known for it’s physicality, but Slaney appears to have big league size and a skill set to complement it.
Slaney’s rookie and sophomore seasons were rather nondescript (32 points in 112 games) but he’s proceeded to post 26 and 36 goal seasons since. His point output this season alone (81 points) nearly matches that of his first three seasons in the Q. Those numbers qualify Slaney as the leading goal-scorer and point-getter this season for Cape Breton, who finished second in the Atlantic Division with a 46-19-3 record.
In six playoff games prior to sustaining an upper body injury from which he’s still currently recovering, Slaney netted five goals and four assists. Slaney’s scoring record in the playoffs indicates that he’s capable of elevating his play when it matters, as the Newfoundland native’s posted 28 points in 32 playoff games during his QMJHL career.
Slaney will graduate from the Q after this season and will look to earn a roster spot with the Marlies for the ’09/’10 campaign.