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Ferguson: Lots of Pieces Need to Fit...

by Mike Ulmer / Toronto Maple Leafs

John Ferguson is entering his fourth season as general manager of the Maple Leafs. Ferguson became the 12th person in team history to hold the role when he was introduced August 29, 2003.

There was some talk after our 6-1 win over Carolina about how well some of our so-called role players performed.

Chad Kilger scored twice. Yanic Perreault scored. So did Boyd Devereaux.

We claimed Chad off the waiver wire, dealt Brendan Bell and a second round draft pick for Yanic and signed Boyd to a free-agent contract. They were not the most highly-publicized moves, but for one night at least, they made a difference.

The thing that not everyone knows about building a team is that you improve your team by very small increments that become big increments over the span of an 82-game season. Any small edge, in identifying, coaching or developing talent is tremendously important.

It takes every element of an organization to make that happen. If you identify someone who can help your club, you need the right coaching to best use that asset and proper management to ensure success.  If you are missing one element, things break down and your advantage is lost.

When I’m looking at a player, I trying to visualize him with a better team or with my team and I am asking myself, does that player have a capability to perform a set role for us?

When we acquired Chad, we were an organization that did not have many players around his age with his level of experience and skating ability. He has proven to be a real solid competitor. He did not play the first five games he was here and he hasn’t come out of the lineup since.

Boyd has the ability to track the puck. He was a high draft choice, sixth overall in 1996, and he believed enough in himself to sign a contract that wouldn’t allow him re-entry waivers should he be called up and then be sent down. He’s a very solid person who at 28 years old has a lot experience. He has already played over 500 games.

With Yanic, you look at what he did as soon as he went to Phoenix. When we acquired him at the deadline, we were without Mike Peca and Kyle Wellwood due to injuries. John Pohl wasn’t 100 per cent so it was a case of needing someone at that centre position and year after year, Yanic leads the league in face-off percentage.

We are going to need the best every player can give us to continue our strong play and land a spot in the playoffs.

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