Leafs look to 'Toban goalie

KEN WIEBE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 9:46 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- The Toronto Maple Leafs traded some of their future to upgrade in goal for the present. But they also chose a Manitoban in the third round to enhance their depth down the road.

Arborg product James Reimer, the 19th-ranked North American goalie going into the draft, went to the Maple Leafs with the 99th overall selection.

"We traded Tuuka Rask (to the Boston Bruins for goaltender Andrew Raycroft) and now we have another goalie in development," said Maple Leafs head of amateur scouting Dave Morrison. "(Reimer) is technically sound, has good size (6-foot-2, 208 pounds), he's in a good program in Red Deer. He had a good season this year and will play a lot of games next year. We've had some recent success with goalies and we're hoping that continues."

WHLERS SNAPPED UP

Other Manitobans chosen after the fourth round included Nesbitt product Ashton Rome (fifth round, 143rd overall, San Jose Sharks), Winnipegger Dane Crowley (sixth round, 168th overall, Tampa Bay Lightning) and Eric Hunter of Oakbank (sixth round, 174th overall, New York Rangers).

All three play in the WHL, Rome with the Kamloops Blazers, Crowley with the Swift Current Broncos and Hunter with the Prince George Cougars.

There was also a Manitoba link to the final selection in the draft as Winnipegger Justin Krueger, who spent last season with Penticton of the British Columbia Hockey League, was chosen by the Carolina Hurricanes.

Krueger's father Ralph is the head coach of the Swiss national team. Ralph was working as a consultant for the Hurricanes and was sitting at the draft table, but had no idea his son was about to be selected.

"I'm very, very proud, just to see his name up there on the board," Ralph told the Canadian Press. "It's a dream for Justin. It doesn't matter what number, last or first. He's the kind of kid that will just keep working and this will just boost his spirit and his confidence as he goes forward."

HIGH ON BURKI: The Colorado Avalanche were surprised Brandon Wheat Kings centre Codey Burki was still available when it came time to make the 59th overall selection.

"We think Codey has an excellent combination of speed and skill," said Jim Hammett, the chief scout for the Avalanche. "He sees the ice very well, has a soft set of hands and we really like the way he's a natural skater.

"He fits the exact role of what the National Hockey League is trying to be."

Burki says he patterns his game after Dallas Stars centre Mike Modano, but also enjoys watching Joe Sakic.

"I think everyone is a Sakic fan," said Burki. "I don't know what their depth is like at centre but I'm going to work as hard as I possibly can."

NOT READY FOR FARM: According to general manager Dave Nonis, the Vancouver Canucks draft picks won't be cutting their teeth with the Manitoba Moose for at least a year or two.

One potential exception could be second rounder (82nd overall) Daniel Rahimi, a defenceman who played last season for Bjorkloven in Sweden.

Other Canucks draft picks included first-rounder Michael Grabner (RW, 14th overall, Spokane Chiefs, WHL), sixth-rounder Sergei Shirokov (RW, 163rd overall, CKSA-Moscow), sixth-rounder Juraj Simek (LW, 167th overall, Kloten Jr, Switzerland) and seventh-rounder Evan Fuller (F, 197th overall, Prince George Cougars, WHL).


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