Nick Beverly off to the Windy City

By Randy Nicholson

Nick Beverly off to the Windy City: Leafs Director of Player Development, Nick Beverly, left the team this week in pursuit of new challenges with the Blackhawks (Late note: Director of Pro Scouting, Joe Yannetti has also left to join the Hawks)… Nick is said to enjoy a very close working relationship with Chicago’s de facto General Manager, Mike Smith… Beverly, a respected executive, will be missed… perhaps more importantly, the Maple Leafs lately can’t seem to keep a management team intact for more than a year or so… expect Toronto to move slowly in securing a replacement as Pat Quinn and Bill Watters remain on hand to conduct all necessary business… 30-year-old Mark Hillier may be in line for expanded responsibilities… former Flames execs Al Coates and Nick Polano are also said to be interested in coming to Toronto… these options are all very viable ones as Hillier is widely regarded as a rising star in the Leafs’ front office and Calgary, under the guidance of Coates and Polano, has quietly built one of the league’s very best player development programs…

Prospect thumbnail – Adam Mair C/W: Most observers agree that Adam’s first full season in the professional ranks was uneven at best… though expected to compete for a job with the Leafs last fall, Mair had a somewhat uninspired training camp and was dispatched to St. John’s… he got off to a slow start with the baby Leafs (along with virtually everyone else on the roster) and seldom displayed the fiery disposition that he was known for in junior hockey… after being handed more offensive responsibility following the promotion of Kevyn Adams to the big team, Mair’s play began to pick up… his scoring totals eventually improved to a respectable 22-27-49 by season’s end… the Leafs added him to their playoff roster and he appeared for them in 5 games… Adam must now be prepared to demonstrate that he is ready for NHL duty by performing strongly at camp this September… Jeff Farkas may have already passed him on the organizational depth chart and others (Travnicek, Mrazek, Hakansson etc.) are poised to do so as well… ironically, the loss of Kevyn Adams to Columbus in the Expansion Draft may provide Adam Mair with an opportunity to fill his roster slot for the 2nd time in one year… Mair’s strengths (good size, better than average skating ability, toughness and attention to defensive responsibilities) might make him a perfect fit at center on the checking line in Toronto.