So much for the "draft schmaft" comment uttered by Cliff Fletcher during his first stint as Maple Leafs GM.
Fletcher, who acknowledged in yesterday's Toronto Sun that the aforementioned quote originally was said in jest, understands just how important the NHL's annual selection of junior and college players really is, especially in the salary cap era.
To that end, Fletcher said yesterday he will attempt to see some potential first-round candidates in person over the coming months.
Should the Leafs continue to struggle, they will have a legitimate shot at a lottery pick. The Leafs entered play yesterday tied for 28th spot overall in the 30-team NHL.
Healing defenceman Carlo Colaiacovo skated with his teammates yesterday for the first time since re-injuring his right knee on Jan. 5.
Of course, given the young defenceman's lengthy history of injuries, coach Paul Maurice is not predicting any kind of return date.
Colaiacovo, who underwent surgery on the same knee in April, was hurt when he collided with the Philadelphia Flyers' Jim Dowd three weeks ago. He originally predicted he would miss up to 10 days but, as is often the case, days have turned into weeks.
"It has been a little longer than expected," Colaiacovo said after the team's morning skate at the Air Canada Centre. "But if it is up to me I'll be back after the (upcoming) all-star break."
The NHL all-star game is on Sunday in Atlanta.
"I'll be back to help this team," Colaiacovo said. "I've worked really hard. The last couple of days it was a bit (sore) but today was really good. I can't wait to get back. I'm going to work really hard over the weekend."
Former Maple Leafs prospect Brad Boyes, now with the St. Louis Blues will be in Erie, Pa., this weekend, where the Ontario Hockey League's Otters will retire his No. 16 on Saturday night. Boyes returns to the Air Canada Centre Tuesday when the Blues face the Leafs.