FanPost

What the Leafs Most Recent Acquisitions Mean

Already in this young offseason, or golf season for the Leafs, Brian Burke has already instituted several signings that can be broken down into categories for defense and goaltending.

I will address the goaltending situation first. As of May 29th, 2010 the Toronto Maple Leafs have signed two very raw yet talented goaltenders; Jussi Rynnas and Ben Scrivens. Through these signings, the Leafs are now the proud owners of four youthful goaltenders (James Reimer, Jussi Rynnas, Ben Scrivens and Jonas Gustavsson) with the oldest being Jonas Gustavsson at 25. Four young goaltenders is the number that NHL General Managers predominantly prefer to work with. This is because it allows for considerable depth and flexibility regarding the goaltending position. Unless his worrisome heart problems return, Jonas Gustavsson should become the established # 1 for the Leafs. But given this, it is likely that Jussi Rynnas or Ben Scrivens will have to battle with each other for the position of back-up goalie. Through this, two goalies are left. One destined to become a perennial AHL locked goalie with the odd end of a lackluster season call up while the other will serve as minor trade bait or a "toss-in" for a more significant trade. Although it is unlikely that the recently signed goalies amount to anything significant, do not count them out just yet. Jussi Rynnas both heir from reputable hockey organizations in Assat Pori and Cornell university. Consequently, they are hard-nosed, tenacious and will keep Jonas Gustavsson looking over his shoulder in fear that they might steal a job that was once perceived to be his from underneath him. Moreover, what is most interesting about Jussi Rynnas is that he was the most pursued free-agent goaltender after posting an impressive 2.50 GAA and a 0.929 SV% in a country (Finland) that is known for being a "goaltending factory" (Examples being: Mikka Kiprusoff, Niklas Bäckström, Tuukka Raskand most recently Antti Niemi). 

In terms of defense, the Toronto Maple Leafs reported on Thursday May 28, 2010 that they have signed 22-year old German defender, Korbinian Holzer to a two-year entry level contract after previously drafting him in the fourth round, 111th overall in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. Korbinian has shown great progress during his tenure with the DEG Metro Stars of the German Elite League (DEL) where he recorded career high's in nearly every possible statistical category as well as in his international play with the German national team in which he participated in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and was a pivotal cornerstone in Germany's unexpected run to the Bronze Medal Round of the 2010  World Hockey Championships. Next season, Holzer will likely spend the duration of the season with the Toronto Maple Leaf's AHL (American Hockey League) affiliate, the Toronto Marlies, for the purposes of allowing him to make the necessary adjustments to the North American style of play. Furthermore, Holzer possesses at 6'3 but his lanky form at 190 lbs will need some filling out. He has apparent offensive upside after recording 22 points in 52 games but his defense is what draws the eyes of scouts. Dave Nonis, the Leafs senior vice-president of hockey operations commented, "But it was a big step to make the Olympic team. He played well in Vancouver and had an excellent finish at the world championships. He makes a good first pass and has made excellent improvements."

In conclusion, there is obvious depth that has been added to not only the Leafs goaltending but also to the Leafs defense-core. If one thing can be said, next year will be very interesting for the Toronto Maple Leafs as they are beginning to develop a strong, young group of talent that appears to be able to provide the return on investment that Brian Burke seeks, the creation of a Playoff team. 

PensionPlanPuppets.com is a fan community that allows members to post their own thoughts and opinions on the Toronto Maple Leafs and hockey in general. These views and thoughts may not be shared by the editor of PensionPlanPuppets.com.

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