TORONTO - A one-way contract in his back pocket, and Korbinian Holzer couldnít be happier.
ďItís great to get that, and also to get the faith from management,Ē Holzer said on Wednesday from his off-season home in Germany. ďIím ready to make the next step, and Iíll do my best in training camp to make it happen.Ē
The Maple Leafs signed the defenceman to a one-year contract worth $575,000 US on Monday, meaning he will make the same amount if he is sent to the Toronto Marlies.
But the Leafs think Holzer is at the point where playing the NHL can be a reality. Holzerís progress during the 2011-12 season was noted several times by Marlies coach Dallas Eakins, and by the time the Marlies made it to the Calder Cup final against Norfolk, Holzer was crucial as part of the teamís shut-down pair with Mark Fraser.
ďJust getting used to playing in a lot of games and playing 25, 30 minutes a night was big for me,Ē Holzer said. ďIt was awesome to go that far in the playoffs. We didnít win in the end, but playing in that atmosphere was great for all of us in the room.Ē
Along with Holzer, the Leafs have defencemen Dion Phaneuf, John-Michael Liles, Mike Komisarek, Jake Gardiner and Carl Gunnarsson under contract for 2012-13. Negotiations with restricted free agent Cody Franson continue.
Itís not expected the Leafs will re-sign defenceman Matt Lashoff, who missed most of the Marlies season with a knee injury.
And former assistant coach Rob Zettler could be in line for an assistantís spot on Adam Oatesí staff with the Washington Capitals.