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Ferguson: Thoughts After the Draft...

by John Ferguson / 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.

The entry draft is over, and we feel good about what we were able to accomplish.

It's a credit to our scouting personnel that we had the necessary organizational
depth -  Anton Stralman, Jiri Tlusty, Nikolai Kulemin and Justin Pogge -
to trade for a goaltender in Vesa Toskala and a big, strong winger in Mark Bell.

Those players cost us draft choices, including this year's, number 13 and
surrendering a draft choice, especially a first-rounder, is very difficult.

But we have identified two priorities: we wanted to bring our goals against down and we wanted to continue to make ourselves a tough, difficult team to play.

We accomplished our first goal in landing Vesa, who was a high priority for a large number of teams. With Vesa and Andrew Raycroft, we now have a goaltending tandem we are very comfortable with and that extra depth is essential over an 82-game schedule.

Mark Bell enjoyed 21-and-25-goal seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks. He struggled last year but he is only 26-years old and we think he is ready to come into his own. He can play centre or wing and gives us more size and toughness up front.

We took Dale Mitchell in the third round. He is a player who can really finish and we look forward to seeing what he can do.

Ideally, when you leave a draft, you want to go home with the feeling that your team is stronger than it was before you came.

I told our scouts that thanks to them, we could make our team stronger before the draft even started.

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