Leafs won't have to wait long to see new faces

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:21 AM ET

The two newest members of the Maple Leafs organization will make their respective debuts for Toronto tonight.

Here come Luke Richardson and Alexander Suglobov.

Why all the groans? You were expecting Brendan Witt and Sergei Samsonov, maybe? Not this year.

To be fair, general manager John Ferguson did okay here in the two transactions he completed Wednesday.

He traded away Ken Klee and brought in Luke Richardson, two veteran defencemen who will be free agents at the end of the season. Those two pretty much cancel each other out on the blue line.

The only other resource Ferguson gave away was a fourth or fifth round pick. And when you consider Suglobov was considered to be New Jersey's second-highest prospect after Zach Parise, that's not a bad tradeoff.

But it wasn't nearly enough. It was a mere whisper for a team that badly needed to make a big noise on the trade market.

An eager Richardson boarded a 6 a.m. flight from Columbus yesterday in order to arrive in time to practise with his new teammates.He then hopped on the team charter for Long Island, where the Leafs meet the New York Islanders tonight.

Richardson took Klee's spot alongside Aki Berg during the workout, a pairing coach Pat Quinn said might still change.

"I still try to play as physical as I can, but you have to be careful because of all the speed and talent of today's players,"Richardson said. "You can't go after those head-hunting hits or you'll be out of position. You have to pick your spots."

Suglobov, meanwhile, toured the Marlies facilities yesterday and is ready to face the Philadelphia Phantoms tonight at Ricoh Coliseum

" I was surprised," Suglobov said last night of the deal that brought him to Toronto for Klee. "I signed a new deal with the Devils (Wednesday) and one hour later I was traded."

Suglobov raved about the opportunity to play with former Leaf Alexander Mogilny with the AHL's Albany River Rats.

"For me, he's a legend. He was a huge star when I was just 10. To play on the same line as him, well, I learned a lot."

As for Klee, he welcomed the change of scenery.

"We were clicking pretty good (in Toronto) before Christmas and then the wheels fell off and we just couldn't seem to pull it back together," Klee told reporters after working out with the Devils.

"Whether it's team chemistry or we had a couple of injuries, we just couldn't find a way to win games."


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