Friday, June 22, 2007

Toskala Becomes a Leaf

This morning, the Maple Leafs acquired goaltender Vesa Toskala and Mark Bell from the San Jose Sharks for three draft picks, including a first and second round pick tonight and a fourth rounder in 2009.

In Toskala, the Leafs get a potential full-time number one goalie and a motivational piece for Andrew Raycroft to work a little bit harder. Toskala is familiar with this role as he sparked on Evgeni Nabokov in San Jose to be a much better goalie down the stretch.

Mark Bell comes to the Leafs after somewhat of an off-year for the big forward. He dropped several positions in the pool point race after moving to San Jose from Chicago last year. Bell was supposed to fill out the line with Joe Thornton and Jonathon Cheechoo, but he never really materialized as that guy.

Pool-wise, Toskala and Raycroft are going to quite possibly share duties in Toronto, which will bring Raycroft's numbers down from his 37 wins last season and Toskala will more than likely still hover around the 26 wins he had. Now, that's saying that both keepers are going to platoon the role of netminder... one or the other could very well win the job and run with it until a cold streak or injury. The Maple Leaf camp will be a little more interesting in September... especially with Justin Pogge moving through the ranks.

Bell will add some size and should increase his point totals from his woeful 21 points in 71 games last season. He could very well be a bit of a steal come next season as the picks aren't exactly a sure thing for San Jose.

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