Leafs' Prospect Impresses

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 2:28 PM ET

Dimitri Vorobiev has been to Toronto just once and already he has knocked one of the city's landmark attractions. Vorobiev, in Toronto in the spring for the NHL draft combine, found time to head up the CN Tower. Whether the bulky 19-year-old Russian one day becomes a pillar on the Maple Leafs blue line won't be known for a while, but the team's brass likes what it sees so far.

"We're happy," Leafs general manager John Ferguson said before departing the world junior championship here in Grand Forks, N.D. "I was not surprised he made the Russian team here, but at the same time it is a credit to him. He makes good decisions, and he is not real flashy but he is positionally sound. He is progressing well."

The Leafs chose Vorobiev with the 157th pick, in the fifth round, this past June. He is the only Toronto prospect participating in the world junior. In four games, the 6-foot-1, 211-pound Vorobiev has one goal and one assist and is tied for the team lead with a plus-7.

Through an interpreter, Vorobiev said yesterday he enjoyed his first trip to T.O.

"I walked the streets of Toronto and is a nice city," he said. "The CN Tower was scary, though. We were walking around on those glass floors."

Vorobiev skates for his hometown team of Lada Togliatti in the Russia Super League and, coincidentally, his defence partner is former Leafs prospect Maxim Kondratiev. The latter played in seven games for Toronto early last season but wound up being traded to the New York Rangers in the deal that sent Brian Leetch to the Leafs.

"He told me a lot about the Maple Leafs, the players, the people in the organization," Vorobiev said. "I didn't really know much about the team before. But I'm glad the Leafs chose me."


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