Monday September 22nd will be the first preseason game for the boys in blue against the long time rivals from Buffalo. This will give fans their first glimpse of the new look Leafs, and provide a chance for them to marvel at some of the young prospects that are now emerging in Leaf land.
The most heralded of the newcomers will of course be Luke Schenn, the Leafs #1 pick, 5th overall from this past draft. There are plenty of other players that can and "will turn heads" this upcoming pre-season according to Leaf coach Ron Wilson. In my discussions with Ron, he's indicated to me he's been very impressed with Wellwood -- that's Eric Wellwood not his long departed donut eating brother Kyle. Wellwood scored a very nice breakaway goal in the Leaf rookie camp and is attempting to show that he can fit into an NHL club.
Other newcomers to watch will be Niklas Hagman and the recently acquired Mikhail Grabovski. These two forwards can provide the secondary scoring that will be needed for the Leaf squad to excel this upcoming season.
Also look for 2nd year players Jiri Tlusty and Anton Stralman to have breakthrough seasons as predicted by coach Wilson. In my discussions with the coach, he's undecided just which players to dress for the upcoming pre-season start, his options being so vast and diverse. Look for more information once Leaf camp officially opens on Friday.