Leafs sign German defenceman


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.


13 Responses to Leafs sign German defenceman

  1. Kramer says:

    These players are coming out of nowhere. I'll bet they're from outer space.

  2. leafit2me says:

    IMO, this team is 2 high end and 1 mid level forward away from being a dangerous team.

    The hope is that B.B. can use the 2010 & '11 off-seasons to find those forwards. Lets hope he can deliver on what he has promised.  The next 5-6 weeks should be very exciting if your a Leafs fan.

  3. 93killer93 says:

    John Mitchell

    Chi(salary dump)










    Gunnarsson(replaces defensive prospect at 4)





    4th-Erik Gudbranson
    29th-Jeff Skinner
    34th-Jared Tinordi
    67th-Gregg McKegg
    85th-Jared Knight

    Free Agency
    Armstrong- 3 years-2.5mil
    Kariya-1 year- 4 mil
    Hamhuis-3 years-2.5mil
    Primeau 1 year 1 mil




  4. nordiques100 says:

    He should add depth. The Marlies will likely have a D that consists of:


    Its young, but hopefully one or two of these guys amount to something.

    JFJ bleeped up many a things…..like not trading steen and kaberle for pronger, but Kulemin has turned out, Gunnarsson has turned out, Mitchell is a depth guy, Mikus and Holzer are hopefully more good finds like Gunnarsson, Stalberg the team hopes is another mid round gem.

  5. DannyLeafs says:

    JFJ's biggest problem was that he played away from his strength's and into his weaknesses as a GM. He was inexperienced in contract and trade negotiations, yet he continuously tried to build his team that way. He consistently traded way top propects and draft picks instead of having faith in the guys that he picked.

    Also, he let public opinion put pressure on him. He had done a great job in getting Kaberle under contract and should have used that as a basis for McCabe's contract. Because he was afraid of fans reaction for letting McCabe (a big fan favourite at the time of his signing) walk for nothing, he ended up getting raked over the coals in a deal he probably already realized wasn't fair value.

    When he needed to address the goaltending situation after Belfour left, he had initially wanted to trade Pogge in order to capitalize on sky rocketing value for the young goaltender after an impressive World Jr's, but because he was a more popular choice amoung fans for the future of the Leaf's goaltending, he ended up trading Rask instead.

    Finally he started giving out NTC's and bad contracts like they were Candy. Toskala got a 4 million a year contract extension before his first game as a maple leaf. So basically it was a 4 million dollar deal for a guy who has never been a number one goalie. Then he signed Kubina to a multi year 5 million dollar deal with an NTC. Why give a guy who has never played a game for your organization and NTC? Why pay him more than your number one defensemen?

    All that being said, I do feel sympathy for JFJ. Realistically he would have been a great guy to have around as an advisor and member of the scouting staff. After several years in this type of position he might have actually made a decent GM. But thrusting him into one of the hardest positions in hockey (Montreal GM might be the only one harder), with no experience, and no senior advising staff was just ridiculous considering the hiring power the Leafs normally hold in these types of positions.

  6. nordiques100 says:

    Burke is going to have a busy summer for sure. He has 10 mil in cap space to work with. But, i think it will stretch to over 20 mil if he moves Kaberle, Finger and Grabovski.

    Finger will be buried in the minors. untradeable. one of the worst contracts ever. thanks silver fox…not.

    Grabovski to Minnesota for James Sheppard.

    After Koivu, the Wild do not have much up the middle. Sheppard has done nothing in 3 seasons with the wild straight out of junior. But a change in scenery could help. That tends to benefit the player often. see Gilbert Brule or Latendresse even. Got moved and flourished in new environment. He has good size, has the ability to be a strong two way player and is the kind of big centre the team needs. Grabovski could help them be a 20-25 goal, 50-60 point scorer for them. While that would be welcome production for the Leafs, the team needs to get bigger up the middle.

    As for Kaberle. There are options. Here is one.

    Kaberle to Buffalo
    Horton, Gragnani, Boyd Gordon and Panthers 3rd to Toronto
    Stafford and Hayes to Florida
    Sabres 3rd to Washington

    For some reason i think Burke will do Kaberle the favor and keep him in the east. The Sabres would be a nice fit. They have a highly skilled group up front and a player with his playmaking ability could help in generating offence . They struggled on the PP in the playoffs and while Kaberle was part of the 30th ranked PP with the Leafs, he may benefit with players like Pominville, Vanek, Roy, Ennis around him.

    Stafford may not put up as many points but could have similar goal totals as Horton. He makes a bit less money, but brings size and some skill to the wing. He is a power winger and thus the Panthers wouldnt lose significantly in that regard in giving up Horton. those kinds of players are hard to replace. But, looks like Stafford is another player who could use a scenery change. Hayes is another power forward prospect.

    Horton too is in need of a new beginning. Being a local product, he could really thrive playing at "home". He is the kind of big, rugged forward the Leafs and Burke covet. He has skill and can put up points. He sometimes is lacking in attitude however. But that could change under wilson/burke. Gragnani is a nice, offensive minded defence prospect who in short time could replace Kaberle's productivity. He has the skill to do it. He isnt big, but with Phaneuf, Schenn and Komisarek, he doesnt need to be. Gragnani may fit with this young and up and coming group better as he is a player still growing and developing like many of the other leafs. He has averaged 48 points in 3 seasons with the Sabres minor league affiliate. Gordon would give the Leafs a good checking centre who can win faceoffs and kill penalties plus add some size up the middle.

    And another thing about Kaberle. Its almost certain he is not worth a player like Ryan or Jeff Carter. And he may not be worth a good young player like a Backes or Neal PLUS a first. straight up maybe, but not likely. He is a good player yes. tied for 9th in points among dmen. has lots of skill and is a great playmaker. he'd probably thrive too in a new environment. but keep in mind, he only has 1 year left and is 32 years old. he may or may not re-sign with his new team. I believe few teams will take a major risk and trade a major core player to get him. I think landing Horton may be the best the Leafs could accomplish.

    Salary wise, the trades would add 3 more RFAs in Gordon, Gragnani and Sheppard plus a 4 mil hit in Horton. Thus they have 16 mil left to re-sign their RFAs and make a play at some UFAs.

    Kulemin – 2.5 mil.
    Hanson – 1 mil
    Mitchell – 750K
    Sheppard – 1.5 mil
    Gragnani – 900K
    Gordon 1.25 mil

    That brings it to roughly 8 mil in cap space left to maybe make a play at a free agent or two.

    Paul Kariya – 4 mil per for 3 yrs. He isnt dynamic as he once was, but is a veteran player who could add some leadership to the team. He is still highly skilled and could thrive in Wilson's up tempo style. He of course played for Wilson at the beginning of his career and had 2 of his best seasons under him.

    Colby Armstrong – 2.75 mil per. Armstrong is the kind of hard hitting forward the team could use. He is borderline dirty and thats ok with Burke and co. They need to have this kind of grit in their lineup. He too will bring some leadership to this young group.

    Mike Van Ryn – 500K. remember him? well, if his comeback works out, he'd be a nice depth guy for the Leafs. Who knows if Gragnani will make the team and with injuries, everyone needs depth. Van Ryn was a good player for Toronto when he could play.

    That would pretty much bring the leafs close to the cap max excluding bonuses.

    C: Bozak, Horton, Sheppard, Gordon, Mitchell
    LW: Kulemin, Kariya, Armstrong, Orr
    RW: Kessel, Stalberg, Hanson, Sjostrom, Rosehill
    D: Phaneuf, Beauchemin, Komisarek, Gunnarsson, Schenn, Gragnani, Van Ryn
    G: Giguere, Gustavsson

    F: Kadri, Irwin, Caputi, Foster, Stefanovich, Mitchell, Ryan, D'Amigo, Didomenico, Devane, Paradis, Slaney
    D: Mikus, Holzer, Aulie, Blacker, Oreskovich, Gysbers
    G: Reimer, Scrivens, Rynnas

  7. HABSSTAR says:

    Off topic here but is there any leafs fans out there who, after the season and playoffs Cammalleri has had think they might have been better off giving him the money (he would have taken less from Toronto in all likelyhood) and maybe saved their picks instead of Kessel?  (Disclaimer:  I am not trying to start a flame war here, it's an honest question) 

  8. nordiques100 says:

    honestly, there are lots of factors as to why cammy wasnt a leaf.

    maybe he didnt want to be in Toronto. pressure playing at home. not everyone wants it.

    maybe burke made him an offer but wasnt good enough and didnt get a chance to do it.

    i think too burke was fixated on kessel. didnt matter who else was available.

  9. HABSSTAR says:

    Yeah I know what you mean, depending on which rabid fan base is telling the story he either:

    a) only signed with Montreal for max money cause Toronto told him to take a hike; or

    b) turned Toronto down flat to sign in Montreal.

    Methinks the real answer is somewhere in the middle oddly enough.  In any event I'm glad we got him I was just wondering what Leafs fans thought. 

  10. DannyLeafs says:

    Considering the way it worked out I think it would definitely have been better to sign Camelleri to 6 million and keep the picks, however from what I have heard it wasn't an option. Camelleri had offers from several teams including Toronto. He had narrowed it down to Montreal and Toronto and the offers were apparently very similar (not sure exactly what Toronto's offer was). Camelleri said he would prefer to play in a different city than he lived in and that is why he chose Montreal.

    I still don't disagree with the decision to trade the picks for Kessel after that option had been exhausted, but I am not dellusional. Camelleri plus those picks would have been a better option than Kessel. I think Kessel is the more talented player, and has more upside, but not by a big margin, and definitely not by enough to justify the extra picks.

    I will also readily admit that the leafs are likely to lose out in the Kessel trade with the way things worked out. I think the Trade was fair value at the time it was made, but it was a gamble, and it looks like it will be a losing one. I still think the decision to make the deal was a good one (less than 40% of top 10 picks turn out nearly as good as Kessel, so trading two of them for a sure thing isn't a bad deal), but it doesn't mean there wasn't the possibility for it to work out badly.

    It is always easy to look back and say what a team should have done after the fact, so people shouldn't be too critical. At last year's draft I suggested to a friend that the Leafs should try and swap Kaberle and a 2nd for Richards, Neal and Dallas' 1st (8th overall), and he said I was nuts. Now the Leafs would have to add something to get Neal out of Dallas, and Richards apparently has value again.

  11. reinjosh says:

    Grabovski has more value than that. He actually has a fair contract (especially when you compare him to Filpula) and is still growing. He should bring back a 2nd or 3rd and a struggling prospect/player. It would be stupid to give him away for nothing. Its not like he is struggling at all.

  12. reinjosh says:

    Truthfully, I would rather have Kessel. I just think he has a higher ceiling and can fully become the better scorer long run.

    Ask me in 5 years when the picks finally develop and I can more concisely tell you.

  13. 93killer93 says:

    Cammalleri has actually said in interviews that he was at the ACC on July 1st. Basically Burke said he wouldn't give more then 5 mil and Montreal offered more. That would have been a way better move just because we'd have a 30 goal scorer in Cammalleri and 2 1st and a 2nd.

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