Fletcher seeks toughness, scoring

LANCE HORNBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:15 AM ET

Cliff Fletcher has not finished importing some help for the Maple Leafs lineup for this season.

"We're still exploring some possibilities that are beneficial to us," the general manager said, citing toughness and scoring as areas to improve upon.

The Leafs already are going to encounter some long nights on their own Northeast Division turf. The Montreal Canadiens landed free agent Georges Laraque to help a lineup that already has 100-penalty-minute men Mike Komisarek and Tom Kostopoulos, while the Ottawa Senators just put Jason Smith on their blue line to augment forward Chris Neil. The Boston Bruins have 6-foot-9 defenceman Zdeno Chara and slugger Milan Lucic, their highest-scoring rookie last season.

The Leafs did not replace enforcer Wade Belak, and though some of his duties will fall to newcomer Jamal Mayers, Fletcher is looking at someone handy with his dukes to play around five to 10 minutes a game up front, plus score more than the once-in-a-blue-moon Belak.

"That's one area we'd like to reinforce," Fletcher said. "And depending if Mats (Sundin) comes back, then scoring definitely becomes an issue."

As long as Sundin is in Sweden, the Leafs enter camp with one 20-goal man from last year in winger Nik Antropov, who will play centre as part of a first-line centre training camp experiment.


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