ere to help the team in whatever posit

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ere to help the team in whatever posit
Posted on 6:35pm Sep 7, 2017
LONDON, Ont. Custom Atletico Madrid Jersey . – Tomas Kaberle was the 204th selection at the 1996 draft in St. Louis, the second to last player the Maple Leafs would draft on a day that saw the Senators pick Chris Phillips first overall. Kaberle, who could reportedly try out for the New Jersey Devils later this fall, stands as the only homegrown defenceman Toronto has sent to an All-Star game in more than 20 years, a fact that highlights the organizations difficulties drafting and developing talent of its own on the blue line. In fact, since 2000, the Leafs have drafted only six defencemen who went on to play 100 games in the NHL, a solid and yet unremarkable group featuring Carlo Colaiacovo, Jay Harrison, Ian White, Anton Stralman, Carl Gunnarsson and Luke Schenn – all of whom have since moved on from Toronto. Morgan Rielly will soon become the seventh in that group – he played 73 games as a rookie last season – the first in a pool of prospects thats become deepest and most intriguing for the Leafs on defence. "Weve got a stockpile there and theyre all different shapes and sizes," Jim Hughes, the teams director of player development said recently. Among them is Matt Finn, who finished last season as the second-highest scoring defenceman in the OHL, captaining Guelph to the leagues top record, an OHL championship and a berth in the Memorial Cup. He will make the jump to the American League this fall. "Its going to be tough," he said of the transition. "Youre playing against men now with families. Its serious. Its a job now. Its not just fun in junior anymore." "Youre not going to get all the opportunities," he continued. "Youre not going to be a superstar like you were in junior anymore. Youre going to have to earn your stripes and take it day by day. Its never going to be easy." A second round pick in 2012, Finn will now have to battle for ice-time with the Marlies, helmed by first year head coach Gord Dineen, overseeing the teams annual prospect tournament here in London. The 20-year-old Finn spent time on the ice and in the gym this past summer with some of that competition – not to mention a group from the Leafs – and understands that more will be expected. "You get a feel for what that pro level and that pro mentality is like," he said. "Being in the gym with them, seeing how they work, how hard the corner battles are, how hard it is just to get areas in front of the net to stand in position – theyre always trying to push you out and gain that ground. Being able to play with guys like that – the NHL guys, the AHL guys – who have been there and have played and have experience and not even verbally sharing it with you, but just on the ice learning it through the ways of hockey." Tom Nilsson is six months older than Finn and he too is expected to join the Marlies for the first time this fall, making the jump from his native Sweden. Hopes are quietly high for the 21-year-old, sturdy at 6-foot and nearly 200 pounds. "My goal is of course to play on the Maple Leafs, but if I start on the Marlies thats okay with me," Nilsson said. "I want to learn how to play the [North American] game and then Im going to develop from there." Nilsson has some Niklas Hjalmarsson to his game – Dineen offered a more physical version of Gunnarsson – mobile, sneaky physical, and willing to block to shots and offer a stable defensive presence. He started watching the Chicago Blackhawks defender more closely a couple years back, also studying the performance of fellow Swedes, Niklas Kronwall – "I like his hitting" – and Erik Karlsson, the slap-shot of the Senators defender a particular point of admiration. "Im trying to take small things off of players that I like," said Nilsson, who played with Frolunda in the Swedish Hockey League last season. Nilsson is anxious to make the adjustment to the smaller NHL rink; the organization believes his maturity and raw, hard-hitting game will aid in the transition. "Hes well-schooled," said Hughes. "Hell come over and it shouldnt be a very difficult transition for him." Nilsson might not be the only Swede making the jump to North America this fall for Toronto. He could be joined by Viktor Loov, the third-last pick of the 2012 draft and a fluid skater who played forward until the age of 15. Loov – long at 6-foot-2 and beefed up to the tune of 210 pounds – played with the teams top prospect, William Nylander, on MODO of the Swedish Hockey League last season. "He just oozes determination every shift," Dineen said of Loov (pronounced LOVE), who delivered a crushing open ice hit in the second game of the rookie tournament Sunday night. "Hes a guy that might [take] a little time in the future, but I think hes going to punch a hole for himself." The two Swedes will try to follow the path carved most recently by Petter Granberg, who made a solid adjustment to North America last fall and is expected to challenge for the seventh spot with the Leafs at training camp next week. That competition could also include Stuart Percy, a 2011 first round pick who impressed with a cerebral all-around game as a first-year Marlie last season, and Andrew MacWilliam, a hard-hitting defender who made some noise at training camp a year ago. Maybe the most NHL-ready of the Marlies group pushing toward the NHL is Korbinian Holzer, whose turbulent 22 games on the top pairing in 2013 has left him almost forgotten. The team raves about his character, leadership, and defensive ability – he was actually sturdy as a penalty killer in that brief spell with the Leafs. Far and away the biggest of the prospects on hand here in London, however, is Eric Knodel, picked in the fifth round of the 2009 draft. Knodel spent three seasons at the University of New Hampshire, employing the college route to add heft to his towering 6-foot-6 frame, while taking steps to improve his skating. He joined the Marlies at the end of his college campaign in the spring and will join the fight for ice in the fall. "I think thats the best part is everybodys going to be battling," said Knodel (pronounced KUH-nodle). "Great teams have great defence – great defence and goalies. Its always good to have good depth there." Whether any, all or even a few contribute is uncertain, but theres some upside and intrigue to a prospect pool thats been left mostly wanting. Koke Jersey . -- Rookie Victor Oladipo came off the bench to score 20 points and Glen Davis had 18, leading the Orlando Magic to a 112-98 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night. Yannick Carrasco Atletico Madrid Jersey .com) - SirDominic Pointer posted career highs of 24 points and seven steals to lead No. CHICAGO -- Anibal Sanchez had no margin of error for most of Wednesday night, and it made him even better. Sanchez struck out 10 in a terrific performance, leading the Detroit Tigers to a 1-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox. "It was a really good game," Sanchez said. "Both pitchers, were fighting because we dont have the run support - I had it at the end, but early. I think I had a really good game today. "Even though were in a race for the post-season, Id rather be in a good game." Sanchez (14-7) allowed five hits and walked four in 7 1-3 innings while lowering his AL-best ERA to 2.50. Joaquin Benoit got three outs for his 18th save in 18 opportunities, completing a five-hitter for Detroits 11th shutout of the season. Omar Infante drove in the games only run with a two-out single against Matt Lindstrom (2-4) in the eighth inning. White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana pitched seven innings of five-hit ball. But he remained winless over his last five starts despite a 3.03 ERA over that stretch. "In the end, I give a lot of credit to Quintana," Sanchez said. "He got out of a bases-loaded jam in the first inning. He didnt allow any runs. Hes pretty good, impressive." The same, of course, could be said of Sanchez, who worked out of mild trouble in the first and fifth. The right-hander seemed to get a strikeout or a ground ball every time he needed one. Sanchez has won each of his last three starts and is 7-0 with a 2.00 ERA over his last 10 outings, pushing him to a career-high 14 wins. "He probably took advantage of some young, aggressive hitters," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. AL Central-leading Detroit loaded the bases with one out in the first, but Quintana got Victor Martinez to foul out and struck out Nick Castellanos to end the inning. Sanchez wiggled out of his own jam in the bottom half. "A lot of swings and misses for Sancheez," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. Angel Correa Jersey. "But both of them were in a little bit of trouble and battled out of it. Sanchez just pitched better." The Tigers next solid opportunity occurred when Infante led off the seventh with a hustle double to left and advanced to third on a groundout. Quintana then struck out Jose Iglesias, hit Austin Jackson with a pitch and got Torii Hunter to ground out to end the threat. Prince Fielder and Martinez hit consecutive one-out singles in the eighth to set up Infantes run-scoring single to left. The White Sox put two runners on with one out in the bottom half, chasing Sanchez from the game. Jose Veras came in and struck out Paul Konerko before he was replaced by Drew Smyly, who struck out Adam Dunn for the final out. The Tigers close out a 4-5 road trip and return home with a 6 1/2-game lead on second-place Cleveland in the division. NOTES: Suspended Tigers SS Jhonny Peralta said he understands why he wont regain his position if he is activated when his penalty is over. The shortstop job now belongs to Iglesias. Peralta said: "Iglesias is a really good player. Hes settled to be the shortstop every day. Im here to help the team in whatever position I can." ... White Sox rookie INF Marcus Semien got his third career start, replacing Conor Gillaspie at third base. Gillaspie made three errors on Tuesday, but Ventura sounded understanding of what happened during Chicagos 9-1 loss. "Ive had a night like that and totally understand it," he said. "You dont sleep well because you care." ... The White Sox continue their homestand when they host Cleveland on Thursday, with LHP John Danks (4-12) facing Indians RHP Corey Kluber (8-5). ... The Tigers are off Thursday before beginning a home series against the Kansas City on Friday, with RHP Justin Verlander (12-11) going against Royals LHP Bruce Chen (7-2). 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