Gamache looks to score job

LANCE HORNBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:09 AM ET

What 5-foot-8 Simon Gamache lacks in height he certainly makes up for in confidence.

Where most newcomers to the high-profile Maple Leafs tip-toed around the media at Ricoh Coliseum yesterday, Gamache took a big swig of training camp optimism and gladly faced the cameras to state his case.

"I intend to make the Maple Leafs," said 2001's top Canadian junior player and last year's Swiss League scoring star. "I didn't come back to think I'm going to play with the (AHL) Marlies. This is the reason I am here, to play with the Leafs.

"I know they haven't won (a Stanley Cup) for 40 years. They're a team that wants to win and this is a hockey town."

Looking at his age (26), physique (185 pounds) and noting he's passed through the Atlanta, Nashville and St. Louis organizations, there's no reason to believe the Montreal native is capable of much more than making the Marlies and perhaps equalling his 86 points in 2004-05 with the Predators farm team in Milwaukee.

But Gamache is a great salesman. He is convinced he's now learned enough defence in his pro travels and that the NHL's new scorer-friendly rules have made it a golden age for small forwards.

"It's a lot to do with timing," he said of why his various scoring exploits (184 points with the Val-d'Or juniors, 66 points in 44 games last year with Bern), have not landed him regular NHL work. "There are only 20 spots on a team and I'm a goal-scorer so that cuts (jobs) down to two lines.

"You keep thinking you are good enough to play in the NHL. I've done pretty much every league now, so I want to graduate. It's time to play in the NHL and to score in the right place."


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