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Frattin Eager, Excited To Sign With Leafs

by Mike Ulmer / Toronto Maple Leafs

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Matt Frattin is not a Hobey Baker winner.

He will not win an NCAA championship.

He will have to console himself with a deep blue sweater that bears a Maple Leaf  on the chest.

Frattin will make his Leafs debut Saturday in the Leafs’ season finale against the Montreal Canadiens at Air Canada Centre.

“I fly in Saturday so I think I’ll just be playing on adrenaline,” Frattin said. “I’m will be very anxious to get started.”

He will take the ice with another high-profile prospect, 21-year-old centre Joe Colborne who was called up Friday from the Marlies.

Those two as well as Marlies defenceman Jake Gardner represent the next wave of heralded prospects who will compete for time on the Leafs roster next season.

Frattin, just over six-feet and 205 pounds is a pure scorer blessed with a hard and accurate wrist shot. He plays a solid two-way game and is extremely sturdy on his skates.

A finalist for the Hobey Baker award, Frattin’s signing was announced during the event which was carried on Leafs TV.

Frattin signed his contract at a Starbucks in St.Paul at about 2 p.m.

Frattin, along with Boston College’s Cam Atkinson, watched as Miami of Ohio forward Andy Miele was named the 31st winner of the trophy in a 30-minute broadcast.

The Leafs selected Frattin in the fourth round of the 2007 draft. The 23-year-old scored 36 goals and recorded 60 points in 44 games for the Fighting Sioux.

Even without the Hobey, the night represented a triumph for Frattin who missed half a year in his junior season because of alcohol related misconduct. Thrown off the team, he got his life together, returned re-commited himself to the sport and finished in the top three for college hockey’s top trophy, an award that stresses character on and off the ice.

“That was very important to me, to be one of the three players in the Hobey hat trick,” he said. “Thousands of players play college hockey and to be among the three finalists was very special to me.”

Frattin steps into one of the sport’s greatest rivalries, Montreal-Toronto but the Edmonton native is going in blind. His plane won’t touch down until the afternoon and he couldn’t find the rink on a bet.

“I will be very excited to see the Air Canada Centre,” Frattin said. “I haven’t been there. I haven’t even seen a game from there so it’s going to be a totally new experience for me.”

Mostly, Frattin said, he appreciates the chance for such a quick transition between his old life and his new one. In three straight days he will have played his final college game, a 2-0 semifinal loss to Michigan, wriggled in the Hobey hotseat and signed his first professional contract. Plus, he probably didn’t have to pay for his coffee.
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