Leafs ink DiDomenico

STEVE BUFFERY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:18 AM ET

Chris DiDomenico, a kid who wasn't even selected in the Ontario Hockey League draft, has signed a three-year entry level contract with the Maple Leafs.

The 20-year-old DiDomenico was drafted by the Leafs in the sixth round, 164th overall, in the 2007 NHL entry draft and in 50 games this season with the QMJHL's Saint John Sea Dogs and Drummondville Voltigeurs, the Woodbridge native registered 58 points (18 goals, 40 assists) with 62 penalty minutes and is a plus 16. The 5-11, 176-pound forward was traded from Saint John to Drummondville on Jan. 6, 2009.

GRIT

"Chris is a skilled offensive player that plays with a lot of grit," said Toronto general manager Brian Burke. "He has shown the ability to compete and produce at a high level and we're looking forward to his further growth and development in our organization."

Cliff Fletcher, the Maple Leafs senior advisor, said DiDomenico will finish the season with Drummondville and likely join the AHL Toronto Marlies if the Leafs' farm team is still playing.

DiDomenico also has proved his worth internationally, helping Team Canada win the gold medal at the 2009 world junior hockey championship in Ottawa. In six games he posted two goals and five assists for seven points and a plus four rating.

In 2007-08, DiDomenico led Saint John in assists (56), points (95), was second in goals (39) and finished fifth overall in QMJHL scoring. He was also named the QMJHL's offensive player of the month in October 2007 with 12 points (seven goals, five assists) and a plus eight rating in six games.

DiDomenico has played 190 career QMJHL games over three seasons, posting 82 goals and 146 assists for 228 points with 225 penalty minutes.

Part of the reason why DiDomenico was overlooked in the OHL draft was his size. Generously listed at 5-foot-11, 165, he has overcome his lack of size and average skating skills with hockey sense. The Leafs will likely get him to work on his skating and strength in the off-season.


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