The 2010 Leafs off-season might seem short of news lately, but Brian Burke is definitely hard at work.
Having already inked a pair of goaltenders last month – Finnish netminder Jussi Rynnas and NCAA standout, Ben Scrivens of Cornell University- the Leafs President and General Manager announced another signing; this one in the form of German blueliner Korbinian Holzer.
Holzer, who is actually a Leafs draftee from 2006, has played the last three seasons with Dusseldorf of the German Elite league. In 2009-10, Holzer set career highs with 6 goals and 16 assists for 22 points and was a plus-12. The Munich native will likely take his game to the AHL’s Marlies next season, but with a bright future, making the jump to the big club down the road is not out of the question.
With this announcement coming approximately a month before the draft, the busy summer ahead is just getting started.
Burke will now turn his attention to the annual combine, where the top 100-eligible prospects are on display this weekend. Without question, Maple Leafs management will be present in full force in case a trade can be put together for a 1st or 2nd round pick for either Tomas Kaberle or Mikhail Grabovski.
The draft itself takes place June 25-26 at the Staple Centre in Los Angeles. Burke will be looking to add to his young talent pool that already includes forwards Nazem Kadri, Viktor Stalberg, Christian Hanson and Tyler Bozak, defenceman Luke Schenn and goaltender Jonas Gustavsson.
Following draft weekend, there are two other major dates this summer. The first, of course, being Free Agent Frenzy on July 1st; what Burke has called his real draft. It will no doubt be an exciting time, as Burke attempts to sign key free agents, and re-build the team for playoff and Stanley Cup contention.
While the date of the second event is currently unknown, a significant press conference to lead into the 2010-11 season seems rather obvious.
Headlining the event will be the naming of Dion Phaneuf as the 18th captain in team history, and likely followed by new home and road uniforms being unveiled. There is also the possibility that the 3rd annual Coca Cola Zero Fans First Game could be announced at that time, if it is part of next year’s plans.
So gear up Leafs Nation! This off-season is one you surely will not want to miss!