The Maple Leafs haven't given up on goaltender Justin Pogge yet, but you can be certain few in the organization are calling him the goaltender of the future these days.
With Vesa Toskala and Jonas Gustavsson pencilled in as the frontline tandem for the 2009-10 season, Pogge is destined for another season in the minors. And even a starting job with the Marlies isn't a given for the Leafs' first pick in the 2004 entry draft.
Management has been impressed with James Reimer, one of the young players who participated in the Leafs prospect camp this past week at Lakeshore Lions Arena.
"(Pogge) is going to be pushed and not for a job with the Leafs but for a job with the Marlies right now," Leafs coach Ron Wilson said this week. "He'll be challenged this year. Maybe that's what he needs right now."
Reimer, a fourth-round pick in 2006 (99th overall) began to make a name for himself last year when he led South Carolina to the East Coast Hockey League title and was named the playoff MVP. He signed a three-year entry level contract prior to last season.
Champs on menu
Pre-season contests can be hit and miss in quality depending on who is in the lineup, but the Leafs have some star power on the menu in facing both Stanley Cup finalists twice in September.
The Leafs will be in Pittsburgh on Sept. 18, the first time the Pens play at Mellon Arena since their Cup win, and return to the Air Canada Centre on Sept. 22. They face the Wings at Detroit on Sept. 25 and play host to the Western champs the following night.
The NHL is expected to release the regular-season schedule next week and the Leafs are tentatively scheduled to open up at home against the Montreal Canadiens on either Oct. 1 or 2.
Wallin is in
The Leafs confirmed the signing of Swedish centre Rickard Wallin. The 29-year-old captain of Farjestads of the Swedish Elite League, agreed to a one-year deal.
The team is taking a shot that the 6-foot-2, 195-pounder is different than the guy who didn't stick with the Minnesota Wild five years ago.
"We're pleased to get Rickard signed to a contract," GM Brian Burke said. "He's a strong two-way centre that will provide a solid presence in our dressing room."
Former Leafs Jaime Sifers (Minnesota) and Jeremy Williams (Detroit) have landed with other organizations.