Newly acquired defenseman John-Michael Liles has already earned a good first impression with Leaf management, teammates, fans, and, most importantly, some young people in need. Children at the Sick Kids hospital in Toronto visited with Liles yesterday, who made his first public appearance since the trade. He acted as a bright spot for many who have fought hard to live a healthy life.
The recent history of the Leafs, of course, is not great, with a Stanley Cup drought passing 44 years in the spring. But Liles made it fairly clear there are fewer places he would rather be in the NHL.
â€œI know a lot of about the Maple Leafs organization and the history involved with it,â€ Liles, an Indiana native, said. â€œHaving played in the west, and growing up an American kid, you have a sense of it, but you donâ€™t fully realize it, but now that I am a part of it, I am going to catch on pretty quickly.
â€œI know the Leafs are a young team. When you have the youthful energy on a team and you see the progress they made, toward the end of last year, the record they put together, it was a heck of a run toward the playoffs.
â€œThey were an impressive team to play against, and now joining them, I am excited to be a part of it. Itâ€™s a great time for myself and just really looking forward to getting the season under way.â€
Leafs lock up another depth player to round out the bottom six. Crab will make $705,000 with the Leafs and $105,000 at the AHL level.
Liles is looking forward to the challenge of helping the Leafs get back into the post season.
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