Dale Mitchell does not think of himself as an endangered species.
Though six of the seven Leafs before him who were the club's first draft pick ended up traded and Mitchell is on the smallish side with no ties to current general manager Brian Burke, the right winger hopes to get his pro start in the organization this year.
"You could say if (Burke) didn't like me, I wouldn't still be here," Mitchell said. "And that would just be an excuse if ever I was to use it. But things are still very positive for me here."
Mitchell was chosen 74th overall in 2007 from the Oshawa Generals, but wrapped up his junior career with the Memorial Cup winning Windsor Spitfires. Armed with 60 points in 51 regular season and playoff games, he had three points in nine starts with the Marlies to close this past spring.
"I learned a lot in Windsor the past two years, especially with their coaching staff and their skilled team. It improved my game a lot since I was drafted. I was a little disappointed being sent down last year, but at the same time it was a good to get some development. There is a lot of opportunity in Toronto, for me and a lot of other guys. I want to challenge for a job."
Komisarek a Fehr man
Toronto player rep Mike Komisarek will be gathering individual Leafs votes on the NHLPA search committee's recommendation to hire Don Fehr as executive director.
"As an executive board, we instilled faith in the search committee, which has worked diligently on behalf of their fellow players to ensure that we properly staff our association for the important years ahead," Komisarek said. "Don has a lot of sports labour experience which will be an asset to our organization as we near CBA negotiations. I feel strongly we have the best individual available to lead our association. I'm looking forward to having my team vote on this important matter soon."
New start for Olden
It wasn't planned, but during a power play in Saturday's 6-3 win over Chicago, big Norwegian left winger Sondre Olden found himself on the point of the power play. He made two nice plays to keep the puck alive for an eventual Kenny Ryan goal and ended the night with a goal and assist.
"That young man is definitely a great draft pick for us," coach Dallas Eakins said. "As a coach you're doing so many things, but as the game goes on, you start looking for certain names because they've been going so well. As that game went on, his name was in my head constantly to try and get him back on the ice."
Finnish goalie Jussi Rynnas was asked about the portraits featured on the side of his new Leafs-themed mask.
"It's a bit of an inside joke," he said. "One is my agent, Allain Roy, the other is a teammate of mine from my Finnish team, Tuomas Huhtanen." ... Player development director Jim Hughes will coach Toronto's final two games at the rookie tournament, while Eakins joins general manager Brian Burke in the stands ... All four teams have Monday off and wrap up with games on Tuesday.