According to @themayor, the Maple Leafs have acquired Manchester Monarchs right-winger Brandon Kozun from the Los Angeles Kings. The 23-year-old Los Angeles native was drafted in the sixth round of the 2009 draft.

The 5’8, 180-pound Kozun has been a regular AHL points contributor but has yet to play an NHL game. He has amassed 179 points in 264 AHL games. Some offensive firepower for the Marlies here, from the looks of things, as Kozun is from all reports a skilled little winger but perhaps lacking the size and strength required to crack an NHL roster anywhere but the top 6. It can be hard for players in Kozun’s position to get his foot in the door on an NHL roster for that reason.

You may remember Kozun from the silver-medal winning 2010 World Junior Canadian team, when he posted 7 points in 6 games. He was eligible to play for either Team USA or Team Canada.

Six-foot-five center Andrew Crescenzi, an undrafted free agent signing of the Maple Leafs in September of 2010, is headed back the other way as Marlies GM Dave Poulin has opted to move the checking centre for some scoring upside. Crescenzi had just two points in 32 games. Crescenzi is two years younger than Kozun and about 9 inches larger. Perhaps the logic was that lower-ceiling players with size and grit are not lacking on this Marlies team, whereas scoring skill is.

Kozun’s contract expires after this season, while Crescenzi’s still has one more season left after this one. The Leafs will have a chance to shed the Standard Player Contract if they don’t like what they see in Kozun with the Marlies.

Here were Daniel Kovalevsky’s thoughts on Crescenzi from earlier this week:

Crescenzi doesn’t get mentioned often but he deserves more recognition. He’ll never be one to put up a lot of points but he plays his role as a checking centre effectively. He can skate well for such a big man, and his hits are nasty. He threw three massive hits over the two games, put in some key face-off work on the PK, and is the key forward on the 2nd PK unit. He blocks shots, forechecks, and does everything one would expect of a defensive centre. Somewhere down the line he could be a bigger, more physical version of McClement.

The Forecaster’s scouting report on Kozun:

AssetsHas tremendous offensive instincts. Knows where to place himself in order to score goals. Is also very creative at setting up his linemates. Puts up big numbers at lower levels.
WeaknessesIs woefully undersized for the National Hockey League level. Needs to get physically stronger to be able to better compete against bigger defenders. His skating may also be an issue.
Career PotentialUndersized depth scoring winger with a little upside.

More on Kozun from Jewels of the Crown here.




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