Leafs GM Brian Burke optimistic over his team heading into this season…Injured Canucks Kesler and Raymond are ahead of schedule in their respective recoveries…Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson ready to roll this season…Predicting Ryan Smyth’s point production this season…A look at the Flames prospects…Jets jerseys unveiled.
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS.
NATIONAL POST: Michael Traikos reports Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke is “brimming with optimism” as his team prepares for the upcoming season. He’s also left a roster spot open for one of his prospects, and is waiting to see if Matthew Lombardi, who missed all but two games last season to concussion, is healthy enough to return
SPECTOR’S NOTE: On paper, the Leafs appear good enough to perhaps sneak into this season’s playoffs, but it’ll be the play on the ice – especially that of young goalie James Riemer, winger Phil Kessel, blueliners Dion Phaneuf and Mike Komisarek, and new additions Lombardi, Cody Franson, Tim Connolly and John-Michael Liles – that’ll determine where they’ll finish.
VANCOUVER PROVINCE: reports Canucks assistant GM Laurence Gilman claims injured forwards Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond are ahead of schedule with their respective recoveries. Center Manny Malhotra meanwhile appears to have fully recovered from the eye injury he suffered last season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s good news for the Canucks, though Raymond probably won’t be back until late-November/early-December. Kesler is aiming to be ready for training camp.
OTTAWA CITIZEN: Allen Panzeri reports Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson feels good and ready to play again, though he did acknowledge the thought this season could be his last has crossed his mind, though he added it’s done that over the past five years.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Alfredsson has a good, healthy performance, this one won’t be his last.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples looks at predictions over how many points recently returned Oilers forward Ryan Smyth might get, noting some are predicting a 50-point performance. Staples would be satisfied with a 30-40 point season “so long as he’s holding his own on defence and playing tough hockey”.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think that’s a reasonable expectation.
CALGARY HERALD: reports the Flames will get a good look at their young prospects when they arrive on Friday for fitness testing before departing Saturday for the Young Stars rookie tournament in Penticton, BC.
WINNIPEG SUN: reported on yesterday’s grand unveiling of the Jets home and away jerseys for this season: