The additions of defensemen Morgan Rielly and Matt Finn at the 2012 NHL Draft have bolstered what was once a weak point in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ system. They are added to a list of names such as Korbinian Holzer, Jesse Blacker, Stuart Percy, and Petter Granberg that are in the fold currently. Each player offers a different dynamic that should complement the team’s defensive core if they continue to progress in their development.
The Toronto Maple Leafs' system includes extensive depth at all positions, which should soon pay major dividends. Pending an extended lockout, there is expectation for strong competition from within, as a number of players are expected to graduate to the professional level. Recent draftees Morgan Rielly and Matt Finn find themselves ranked in the top-five for the Fall Top 20 rankings. Other new faces to the list include NCAA forward standout Spencer Abbot and Swedish defenseman Petter Granberg.
Brian Burke started his draft-day off by acquiring veteran puck-moving defenseman John-Michael Liles from the Colorado Avalanche. The trade saw the Maple Leafs move the Boston Bruin’s 2nd round pick in 2012, which they previously acquired in the Tomas Kaberle deal. The pick was originally a conditional selection, but became a 2nd round pick when the Bruins made it to the finals.
Burke didn’t just add assets on the ice; he also added an important asset to the front office. Ex-Atlanta Thrashers general manager Rick Dudley joined the Maple Leafs management staff on June 24th. Although his position isn’t defined yet, he’s supposedly going to work with both the amateur and pro scouts.