Openings on offence available

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:48 AM ET

Ron Wilson hopes he has the answer to the question that has been bugging Leafs Nation.

With four forwards traded in one day, including Matt Stajan and Niklas Hagman, who is going to score?

"John Mitchell is going to get a chance and he has to start putting pucks in the net like we think he can," Wilson said. "Rickard Wallin has not even scored a goal this year and his ice time all of a sudden is going to double, and he has to find a way to produce. It will be spread around, it's as simple as that."

Counting on Mitchell and Wallin to score consistently might be tough to swallow. Mitchell, averaging 15 minutes 50 seconds of ice a game, has three goals in 34 games; Wallin has an average of 11 minutes 57 seconds in 35 games and has just three assists.

Youngsters such Tyler Bozak and one of Christian Hanson or Viktor Stalberg should be salivating at the chance they are about to get. Newcomer Fredrik Sjostrom brings one goal in 46 games from the Calgary Flames.

Mitchell and Wallin both are set to take the bull by the horns, but it's not as though they have any choice.

"It's an opportunity for myself and a couple of other young guys to step up and show the management and coaching staff what we have," Mitchell said. "It's going to open up quite a bit of ice time for a lot of guys."

Wallin hasn't scored an NHL goal since April 2004 when he was with the Minnesota Wild, and taking into consideration his four years since in Europe, is riding the longest current NHL goalless streak.

"It's a new start," Wallin said. "Whether you play a lot or play a little, you have to be ready to make a statement."

TERRY.KOSHAN@SUNMEDIA.CA


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