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Czech out the new Leafs

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About 40 years in the past, the Maple Leafs started turning to the previous Czechoslovakia for some assist rebuilding their workforce.

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Miroslav Frycer, Peter and Miroslav Ihnacak, Jiri Crha, Slava Duris and even one season using Marian Stastny of the well-known brother trio, turned a part of the Carlton St. present. All had fled the previous Iron Curtain, which influenced staunch anti-Communist proprietor Harold Ballard to welcome them.

Spoiler alert, none had been ever a part of a Cup winner right here, although Fryer led the ’85-86 Leafs in scoring, whereas he and Peter Ihnacak had been often within the workforce’s high 10. Crha was as soon as a 20-game winner, regardless of a horrible defensive workforce.

Because the Czech Republic and Slovakia break up, others from that area got here and went from Toronto’s roster, most notably Czech defenceman Tomas Kaberle, who’s ninth in franchise video games performed.

Immediately’s Leafs are a championship contender — their first-round troubles however — and by coincidence, three Czechs have joined the band, goaltender Petr Mrazek, centre David Kampf and winger Ondrej Kase. That’s an excellent chunk of the greater than 30 all through the league final yr.

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“It’s good to have somebody out of your nation right here, talking the identical language, attempting to assist one another for those who want something,” Mrazek mentioned.

Crha gave Mrazek a name whereas the Leafs had been coaching in Gravenhusrt final week, to thank him for honorary artwork work on his new masks. Mrazek additionally included the late Frycer’s No. 14 because the latter served as his first participant agent again house.
Try the brand new Czechs and different additions to the 2021-22 Leafs:

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Goalie Petr Mrazek

Vitals: Age 29, 6-foot-1, 190 kilos.
Profession NHL stats: 128-96-31 W-L-OT, .911 save pctg.
How he acquired right here: Free agent from Carolina, the place he spent three seasons. Previous to that, performed junior with he Ottawa 67’s and was a fifth-round decide of Detroit in 2010.
The place he matches: Will push Jack Campbell to maintain his No. 1 function or seize it himself.

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Centre David Kampf
Vitals: Age 26, 6-foot-2, 188 kilos
Profession NHL stats: 235 GP, 17-41-58 factors
How he acquired right here: Undrafted free agent from Chicago the place he spent 4 seasons.
The place he matches: Shut-down centre, good on faceoffs and penalty kill, provides the workforce an possibility within the center relying whether or not Alex Kerfoot performs center or wing.

LW/RW Ondrej Kase
Vitals: Age 25, 6-foot-0, 190 kilos
Profession NHL stats: 207 GP, 43-54-97 factors
How he acquired right here: Free agent from Boston, initially a late-round decide of Anaheim.
The place he matches: An efficient third or fourth liner, who was hampered the previous few seasons by accidents. Coach Sheldon Keefe thinks he can problem for a high six function if anybody is damage or slumping.

LW NICK RITCHIE
Vitals: Age 25, 6-foot-2, 230 kilos
Profession NHL stats: 350 GP, 59-78-137 factors
How he acquired right here: Free agent from Boston, initially a first-round decide of Anaheim.
The place he matches: He will get first crack at changing Zach Hyman because the bulldozer left wing on the highest line. If he can sustain with Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, he’ll rack up factors.

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LW Michael Bunting
Vitals: Age 26, 5-foot-11, 197 kilos
Profession NHL stats: 26 GP, 11-3-14 factors
How he acquired right here: Free agent from Arizona, a fourth-round decide in 2017.
The place he matches: Groomed all summer season to play with John Tavares and William Nylander, one other with connections to the GTA and the Soo Greyhounds.

C Michael Amadio
Vitals: 6-foot-1, 204 kilos
Profession NHL stats: 173 GP, 16-24-40 factors
How he acquired right here: A two-way contract after splitting final yr between L.A.’s farm workforce and the Ottawa Senators.
The place he matches: The hand harm to Ilya Mikheyev and Adam Brooks’ departure provides him bonus time on the massive workforce.

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