SUNRISE, Fla. -- Boyd Devereaux never assumed he would be back in the National Hockey League this season, let alone making a positive impact for the Maple Leafs.
But Devereaux, who was signed by the Leafs last October on a two-way contract -- with no promises that he would skate with the big club -- has done just that in 10 games since being recalled from the Toronto Marlies on Dec. 28.
"Initially, I was not banking on playing here by any means," Devereaux said. "I thought I might play the whole season down there. But looking back on my concussion period, I think I was in the right mindset to go down and give it my best. I learned some lessons."
Back in 2000, Devereaux suffered a concussion during a game while playing for the Edmonton Oilers. Though there was some concern about his future as a hockey player -- the Oilers eventually set him free -- he was signed by the Detroit Red Wings.
Perseverance paid off with a Stanley Cup in 2002, and Devereaux remembered what it was like to not take anything for granted.
The winger spent last season with the Phoenix Coyotes, but failed to catch on with the Red Wings again this past fall after going to their camp on a tryout.
Devereaux had not played in the minors since the 1998-99 season before signing his one-year pact with Toronto.
Though the winger was summoned because of injuries to regulars, he has not been a fringe piece of the puzzle. The 28-year-old native of Seaforth is putting his speed and smarts to good use and has been rewarded with two goals -- the second of which came in last night's 3-2 victory over the Florida Panthers -- and six assists in his 10 games.
Devereaux, who managed six goals and eight assists in 30 games with the Marlies, is averaging almost 17 minutes of ice time a game since joining the Leafs.
"I got some more minutes and was able to handle the puck more with the Marlies than I normally would have," Devereaux said.
"The coaching staff was great and it really benefited me. It has been great to get a chance to play. The whole Leafs experience has been a lot of fun."