Leafs centre on needs

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:48 AM ET

Cliff Fletcher didn't make a very big splash in his attempts to fill the Maple Leafs glaring hole at centre ice this week.

It was more like a ripple.

But with Mats Sundin still mulling his hockey future over in Sweden, Fletcher attempted to address his team's needs up the middle by acquiring speedy prospect Mikhail Grabovski from the Montreal Canadiens and re-signing Toronto native Dominic Moore to a one-year deal worth $900,000 US yesterday.

Grabovski, 24, was on the Maple Leafs radar at the Feb. 26 trade deadline when the Habs were attempting to deal for Sundin, who scuttled any potential swap by refusing to waive his no-trade clause.

Grabovski, who had three goals and six assists for the Canadiens this past season, reportedly also was mentioned as part of a package that would have come to the Leafs had the Habs been able to coax Sundin to sign with them during the final 10 days in June, the window in which Montreal had exclusive rights to negotiate with the veteran Swede.

Fletcher figures Grabovski will step into the Toronto lineup right out of training camp.

"We've definitely liked him," the Maple Leafs general manager said. "When he played in the AHL in Hamilton, he had 20 points in 12 games. He has some flash and dash."

Grabovski was acquired in exchange for the rights to Greg Pateryn, a fifth-round pick in the 2008 entry draft two weeks ago, and a second-round selection in 2010.

A native of Potsdam, Germany, Grabovski was Montreal's fourth choice, 150th overall, in the 2004 draft.

"He had asked us to find him a place where he might be able to play a bit more," Canadiens general manager Bob Gainey told reporters in Montreal last night. "He wasn't going to play on our first two lines or on our power play."

Fletcher is quick to point out that the diminutive Grabovski, who is listed at 5-foot-9 and 172 pounds, joins a young gaggle of Leafs forwards that also includes Matt Stajan, 24, Alex Steen, 24, John Mitchell, 23, Nikolai Kulemin, 21 and Jiri Tlusty, 20.

Along with inking Moore, the Leafs yesterday signed Mitchell to a two-year deal and undrafted Seattle Thunderbird Greg Scott to a three-year entry-level contract.

"I'm very happy to be back," said Moore, who was a fanatical Leafs fan growing up and still has the autographed Doug Gilmour stick he got as a boy. "I'm looking forward to being part of this rebuilding process here."

Moore had four goals and 10 assists in 38 games for the Leafs last year.

Fletcher would like to make another couple of moves by the time training camp starts, although "nothing is imminent right now."

According to one published report, the Leafs are pursuing Swedish defenceman Jonas Frogren, who has 46 points in 398 games in the Swedish elite league.

Meanwhile, Former Leaf Joe Nieuwendyk is expected to join Toronto's front office in the next week.


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