August 11, 2009
Leafs deal Pogge to DucksAlso fill a hole with MacDonald
By LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA
Justin Pogge couldn't grab a job with the Maple Leafs when opportunity knocked, but don't expect the seasoned Joey MacDonald to be content as a farmhand.
MacDonald, signed yesterday to a one-year, two-way deal after the Pogge trade to Anaheim went through, is projected as the No. 1 with the AHL Marlies, but has designs on challenging NHL neophyte Jonas Gustavsson for the backup role in Toronto to Vesa Toskala.
"We had some bigger offers in Europe, but we feel and the Leafs feel there is a great opportunity here," said MacDonald's agent, Michael Wulkin. "The guy they brought in (Gustavsson) is still young. Joey knows his role, but at the same time, he's played more than 60 NHL games."
David Nonis, the Leafs' senior vice-president, said anything can happen at camp next month.
"We would never hold a player back," Nonis said. "Joey's a legitimate NHL player."
MacDonald, 29, spent last season with the New York Islanders as Rick DiPietro's principal backup and wound up in 49 games because of the latter's injury problems. The 6-foot, 200-pound Pictou, N.S., native played junior in Peterborough and had brief flings with Detroit and Boston before joining the Isles in 2007-08.
Under a constant shot barrage last season in New York, almost 33 on average a game, MacDonald maintained a save percentage of .901, with a record of 14-26-6.
The Leafs sent Pogge to the Ducks for a conditional draft pick in 2011, to be determined by how well he does with Anaheim or on the farm. Pogge joins Tuukka Rask as highly ranked Leafs goalies chosen 90th and 21st overall, respectively, who were traded the past five years.
Nikolai Kulemin, who had 31 points for the Leafs last year, has been named to the Russian Olympic team summer evaluation camp. The 38 invitees are split between NHL Russians and those who play at home in the KHL ... Toskala and his Leafs compatriot Niklas Hagman have been invited to the Finnish Olympic team's camp, of which 46 will attend.