Puck Daddy - NHL

On the right is an image of Matt Frattin, then of the North Dakota Fighting Sioux, and Tyler Bozak(notes), then of Denver University, batting in a 2007 NCAA hockey game.

Bozak will end his season with the Toronto Maple Leafs, his second in the NHL, as one of the top five scorers on the current roster.

Frattin's NHL journey is set to begin tonight.

An Edmonton native, Frattin signed a 2-year deal with the Leafs on Friday, having been previously drafted by the team No. 99 overall in 2007. The 23-year-old forward led the NCAA with 36 goals and was named the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Player of the Year and a WCHA First Team All-Star.

Whatever he ends up being in the NHL, the fact that he'll debut at home tonight in the team's finale against the Montreal Canadiens is symbolic of the optimism that's overshadowed the disappointment of missing the playoffs for the sixth straight season.

Adding to that optimism: The debut of 21-year-old center Joe Colborne(notes).

Canadian Readers: Click here to watch Hockey Night in Canada on Y! Sports Canada, featuring the Habs at Leafs (7 p.m.), the Senators at Bruins (7 p.m.) and the Canucks at the Flames (10 p.m.).

Colborne came over in the Tomas Kaberle(notes) trade with the Boston Bruins. He's 6-foot-5, and according to the Toronto Star he's psyched to debut tonight:

"I've been working my whole life for this," said Colborne. "It doesn't get much better than that, Hockey Night in Canada. I can't wait."

And he'll do it, no less, centering Phil Kessel(notes) and Joffrey Lupul(notes), instantly adding size to a speedy, skilled line with Toronto's marquee scorer.

"It's a great opportunity. It's not lost on me," said Colborne. "I was a little nervous out there (at practice). They're pretty high-profile guys, but by the mid-part of practice, they had made it easy for me."

Mirtle has more on Colborne's debut tonight, including words from Ron Wilson on his top line placement.

The Canadiens enter this game with the playoffs, and a seemingly inevitable first-rounder against the Boston Bruins, in focus. The Leafs are focused on the future, and hope Frattin and Colborne can give fans a taste of that. The Leafs and hope ... go figure, right?

Related Articles

Puck Daddy

Add to My Yahoo RSS

Related Photo Gallery

Y! Sports Blog