On Friday afternoon the Toronto Maple Leafs made some noise at the NHL draft even before the 1st overall pick was made. Brian Burke orchestrated a trade with the Colarodo Avalanche to bring John Michael Liles to Toronto in exchange for a 2nd round pick in next year's entry draft. Liles is coming off a decent season in which he produced 46 points in 72 games. The Leafs were interested in Liles at the trade deadline but both sides could not agree on a deal. Liles is a powerplay specialist and he should fit right into the Leafs system. The Leafs get Liles with 1 year left on his current contract and with a cap hit of $4.2 million for this upcoming season. During the draft Brian Burke accquired the 22nd pick and he was very proud to select Tyler Biggs, a young power forward. Burke believes that Biggs fits right into the Leafs type of hockey. Burke also believes that Biggs can make an impact and can develop into a solid NHL power forward. With his 2nd 1st round pick Burke drafted Missasauga defenseman Stuart Percy. Percy is a guy that can definitely be molded into a great NHL defenseman. The Leafs certainly dont mind waiting for Percy to develop. These 2 players will be a big part of the Leafs future. The accquisiton of Liles and the drafting of Percy and Biggs is just the beginning for Toronto. If Brian Burke hopes to make his team a playoff contender for this upcoming season he needs to solidify his top center position. Brad Richards is the golden boy this off-season for the Leafs. If Burke can find a way to sign Richards the Leafs would truly be a force to be wrecking with. With stability in goal and adding depth on defense with John Michael Liles, the Leafs are now maybe only 1 major offensive piece away from being a playoff team. Only time will tell but if the Leafs can acquire Brad Richards this summer I can definitely see them making the post season. There is still some work to be done but there is definitely plenty of optimism in the city of Toronto.
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