TORONTO — - The Maple Leafs could have a brawny German defenceman joining their internationally flavoured roster next season.
Korbinian Holzer, a draft pick from the John Ferguson Jr. era in 2006, signed a two-year entry level contract on Thursday morning.
The national team member who played at the Vancouver Olympics, was chosen in the fourth round, 111th overall, from a good Leaf crop that year that already includes the departed Jiri Tlusty, as well as current wingers Nikolai Kulemin and Viktor Stalberg and Marlies‚ goalie James Reimer.
The 22-year-old Holzer, a native of Munich, played 52 games for the Dusseldorf Metro Stars of the German Elite League this season, with six goals, 16 assists, a plus-12 and 96 penalty minutes. At six-foot-three, 205 pounds, he could be a valuable addition to a Toronto team trying to get tougher on the back line. The belief the past few years was that he had to fill out before trying his luck in North America, whether he plays for the Leafs or Marlies.
Holzer played four games at the Olympics and then this month for his homeland in the world championships, against an American team managed by Leafs president Brian Burke. He racked up 22 penalty minutes.
There is no word yet on whether the Leafs will sign another member of the '06 draft class, University of Denver senior Tyler Ruegsegger.