Hanson packs on muscle

STEVE BUFFERY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:06 AM ET

KITCHENER -- A few Maple Leafs front office types are suggesting that forward Christian Hanson, signed as a free agent late last season, could turn out to be a Dave Andreychuk-type player.

At least, that's the hope.

Andreychuk scored 640 goals in the NHL, most from around the front of the net, using his size (6-foot-4, 220 pounds) and soft hands to maximum advantage. Hanson, who stands 6-foot-4, 228 pounds, has the same skill set, though not quite the same scoring ability.

In Toronto's 6-5 overtime loss to the Boston Bruins at the Memorial Auditorium, in front of 2,553 fans, Hanson picked up a hat-trick, all Andreychuk-type goals.

Hanson, 23, said that his five games with the Leafs last season showed him that he needed to work on his strength during the off-season in able to hold his position and score in front of the net.

To that end, Hanson worked hard on weights this summer and put on 16 pounds of muscle.

He worked out in Toronto this summer with fellow free agent Tyler Bozak and rookie forward Viktor Stalberg. In fact, the three shared a condo.

Hanson said scoring the hat trick took a lot of pressure off to perform at this tournament.

"Every time you go on the ice, you try to go out and make a lasting impression," he said.

Flu stops Mitchell

Forward Dale Mitchell, who had 33 goals for the Windsor Spitfires last season, has missed the first two games of the rookie tournament because of the flu.

GM makes points point

Leafs general manager Brian Burke dismissed the notion that the three veteran defencemen he acquired in the off-season (Mike Komisarek, Francois Beauchemin and Garnet Exelby) are limited offensively. "I find it amusing (the media) are pointing out their low point totals," Burke said. "But to me, we didn't sign Mike Komisarek to fight. We signed him because he's a good, solid defenceman. He's a reliable, good first-pass guy. Beauchemin, the same, good first-pass defenceman."

STEVE.BUFFERY@SUNMEDIA.CA


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