Leafs are getting it together

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:14 AM ET

John Ferguson might have only eight players under contract, but at least he has locked up most of his off-ice team.

With the Maple Leafs hierarchy preparing for the much ballyhooed draft lottery, which will take place on Friday, the Leafs have rewarded their entire scouting staff with new deals.

"We all got (contracts) that kicked in as of July 1," Leafs director of amateur scouting Barry Trapp said yesterday from his Saskatchewan home.

"Once again, John has shown complete confidence in his people, from (assistant general manager) Mike Penny to (development coach) Paul Dennis ... all of them."

From the moment he took the reigns as general manager two years ago, Ferguson, a former scout himself, has talked about the virtues of a strong scouting department.

Showing that he indeed practises what he preaches, Ferguson has augmented his staff with the likes of Dave Morrison, Shawn Simpson and former Calgary Flames general manager Craig Button in the past 14 months.

"The support provided to the scouting staff has been outstanding," Button said.

"Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd. continues to display a tremendous commitment to be the very best at every level throughout the organization."

Amid speculation that there could be a shift in responsibilities among the staff down the road, there is little doubt the scouting department has added valuable experience into the mix.

"You can never have enough good hockey minds on board," coach Pat Quinn said. "Bringing people like Craig Button in only serves to strengthen our entire organization."

Ferguson held a conference call with his scouts yesterday afternoon in preparation for the draft, which will be held in Ottawa July 30 if the new collective bargaining agreement is ratified in the coming days, as expected.

Ferguson was in New York over the weekend where he and his fellow GMs were taken through an introductory walk through of the new CBA.

"It was very informative," Ferguson said. "There was a lot of aspects to digest. But we're still not privy to the actual document."

Ferguson added that the organization is in the process of putting together a new medical team and training staff.


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