The Bryan McCabe trade finally became official today as the Leafs ended an almost 8 year relationship with the 33 year old defenseman. So much has been written about McCabe in the last couple months but what do we know about the man the Leafs received in return? Mike Van Ryn has been a Leaf for under 12 hours and already people are speculating about his future (or lack there of) within the Leafs organization. Most notably, prominent Leafs writer Howard Berger speculated that he will have to fight to crack the Leafs opening line-up. Well, make no mistake about it, Van Ryn will at least get a shot at being a contributing top 6 defenseman for the Toronto Maple Leafs this year. He has the potential to log 20 minutes a game as indicated by his past.
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As per nhl.com, here are some tidbits about the newest Leaf. Mike Van Ryn was drafted by the New Jersey Devils in the 1998 draft with their 1st pick, 26th overall but never played a game for them. He was a member of Canada's National Junior team in 1999. He is relatively young at age 29 and has shown some offensive flair with back to back 37 point seasons in 2003/2004 and 2005/2006 (2004/2005 was the lockout in case you live under a rock). Van Ryan has a salary cap hit of 2.9 million for this season and 2009/2010. A serious wrist injury limited Van Ryn to only 20 games last year and he has indicated that he is now 100% healthy.
Training camp is only a couple weeks away and with a logjam at Defense for the Leafs, Van Ryn has his work cut out for him in order to re-establish himself as a promising young NHL talent. I think before we all rush to judge him, we should let his play to the talking, and thankfully that's coming up very soon.
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