Rourke Heads To Carolina for Druken
The Toronto Maple Leafs made a couple of acquisitions that should greatly benefit their AHL affiliate St. John’s team this
upcoming season. The Leafs have reacquired St. John’s native Harold Druken from the Carolina Hurricanes in return for defenceman Allan Rourke. Rourke had a stellar year in St. John’s and on many nights was the team’s best rearguard. He was also a fan favorite. Druken, on the other hand played for the Leafs for a short amount of time last season after being claimed on waivers by the Canes, then was reclaimed by the Canes when the Leafs put him on waivers. He had an injury plagued year, and is recovering from surgery May 5 to repair torn cartilage in his shoulder, his second operation on the shoulder. The move to most Leaf observers is a seat-filling move by the Leafs so that more local fans can check out a local guy playing with the Blue and White. Druken, a former top prospect with Vancouver, has had his stock drop significantly and it’s hoped playing at home might bring back that lost potential. The other addition to the Leafs roster is Jeff Daw who played with Lowell last season. He is a veteran who will probably take the place of Craig Mills.
Brendan Bell won the OHL and CHL Defenceman of the Year Award. Bell is expected to be with the Blue and White on the Rock this season. Also Mikael Tellqvist had an
excellent World Championships playing for Sweden. The
young Leaf netminder helped lead Sweden to a silver
medal. Canada won gold. Luca Cereda also had a good
world championships playing for his native
There are strong indications from many Toronto sports outlets that the Maple Leafs are trying to sign young Russian defenseman Maxim Kondratiev this off-season. The rearguard’s play improved steadily after Russia’s goal medal victory at the World Junior Championship in Halifax. Kondratiev, who plays for the Russian club Lada Togliatta, seemed more confident and willing to participate offensively as the season wore on. The move would be a bit of a surprise considering the number of young defensemen the Maple Leafs have already signed this off-season, including Bell, David Turon and Pierre Hedin. It seems that the Maple Leafs are going to have a difficult time finding playing time for all of these young players as it is, and perhaps Kondratiev’s development would be best served in the competitive Russian league for at least one more season.
It was reported in the Toronto Star that Hedin’s contract is two years in length and worth $500,000 a year if he is playing in Toronto.
(with notes from Doug Evinou)