Stoll a good one that got away

STEVE SIMMONS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:04 AM ET

Jarret Stoll should have been a Maple Leaf. Twice.

The first deal was agreed to, just never completed on time.

The trade -- made by Pat Quinn with then-Calgary general manager Craig Button, who now works for the Leafs -- was to send Stoll's rights to Toronto when he couldn't agree to contract terms with the Flames.

The NHL ruled no deal. That sent Stoll back into the 2002 draft after being a Flames pick two years earlier.

The Leafs, with the 24th pick in the draft, got it down to two players -- Stoll and their selection, Alex Steen. Stoll wound up being chosen by the Edmonton Oilers in the second round.

At this stage, Stoll is a more accomplished player in Edmonton, though two years older and more NHL tested than Steen. But the progress of both players will be worth monitoring for years.

The Leafs have a history of making the wrong choices in these kind of arrangements. The Stoll trade that didn't happen on time may end up as yet another Leafs regret.

THIS AND THAT

Cute that Quinn thanked everybody and his dog for his time with the Leafs, everybody but Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. president Richard Peddie ... Who do we get to blame now? No more Aki Night In Canada ... Now playing the Peter Finch role in the movie Network, Tampa coach John Tortorella. He's mad as hell as he's not going to take it anymore ... I'd buy tickets to watch Ricky Williams play with the Argos ... Life can't be so bad for banished NHL coach Rick Tocchet these days. He was seen golfing in Phoenix with Fred Couples. Wonder if they had a buck or two on the round? ... Roger Clemens is being wooed by both the Red Sox and the Yankees. And we wonder: with Josh (0-and-5, 10.45 ERA) Towers and A.J. Burnett's mystery elbow, should the Blue Jays be in there bidding as well? ... Is it just us, or is J.P. Ricciardi getting way too defensive about the signing of Burnett and does that mean he's getting some grill from somebody above him?

HERE AND THERE

Don't know what the question is but Sean Burke, a terrific guy, isn't the answer anymore ... About that myth of Vernon Wells not hitting in April, never mind ... Facts you can't live without: Jay Berwanger was both the first Heisman Trophy winner and the first ever NFL draft pick in 1936. But he never did play pro. Back then, there was more money to be made as a foam rubber salesman ... Try telling that to Matt Leinart, the quarterback who rented 24 rooms in Las Vegas and spent $140,000 US on a party to celebrate the fact that he dropped in the draft but still will be getting rich ... In the NHL coaching market, there already are vacancies in New Jersey, Toronto, Long Island, Los Angeles, Vancouver and possibly St. Louis and Boston ... Should the Leafs do the unlikely and pass on Paul Maurice, others definitely will be interested ... If the Lakers beat the Suns in the first round of the playoffs, does that mean Kobe Bryant, not Steve Nash, should have been MVP of the NBA?

SCENE AND HEARD

Jean-Sebastien Aubin, 9-0-2 with the Leafs, was 1-4 with the Marlies in the American Hockey League playoffs. But the statistics lie. Aubin did nothing in the playoffs to diminish the Leafs' newfound belief in him ... Under the department of who comes up with these ideas: Why would anyone in Toronto care to see a meaningless Bowl game in January at the Rogers Centre between two middle-of-the-road American college football teams? ... Doesn't he sound like a fast-food chain: R.J. Umberger? ... First, the CFL moves Winnipeg to the East. Then the Bombers, want Onterrio in the West. As in Onterrio Smith, one-time Vikings back still suspended in the NFL ... How does Joel Segal, once suspended by the NFL Players' Association for using an assumed name, wind up as Reggie Bush's agent? What is he, a friend of Bob Goodenow? ... Another Argos question: Can Spergon Wynn? ... Is the first round of the NFL draft over yet?

AND ANOTHER THING

Heading into play yesterday, Tampa rookie defenceman Paul Ranger was tied with the New York Rangers in playoff scoring, with two goals and six points each ... Every once in a while, I find myself missing Otto Velez and Rico Carty ... Aaron Hill, 195 pounds soaking wet, needs to lose 22 pounds to be hitting his weight .... No Canadian ever will be drafted higher than Tony Mandarich, the second pick behind Troy Aikman in 1989. Selected after Mandarich: Barry Sanders, then the late Derrick Thomas ... The highest a Canadian collegiate player ever went? Mike Schad was taken 23rd overall by the Los Angeles Rams in 1986. He went on to play 62 games in the NFL ... Martin Gerber, playoff flop or weakened by the stomach flu, you make the call ... The Raptors have been to the second round of the playoffs once. Once more than Tracy McGrady ... Only Stanley Cup playoffs complaint: Too many 5-on-3 power plays. Too many cheap and unnecessary second calls lead to too many easy goals being scored ... And hey, whatever became of Vince Horsman?


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