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Bench Talk / Off The Wire

The Road(block) To Owen Sound


By Fred Wallace


Hi, this is Fred Wallace with " Off the Wire ".

I was watching the NHL Entry Draft in Chicago when the Toronto Maple Leafs took Timothy Liljegren with their first round selection, number 17 overall.

In short order, reporter Elliotte Friedman was on screen with Leafs Director of Player Personnel Mark Hunter.

Friedman asked Hunter what the Leafs immediate plans were for Liljegren.

Hunter laughed.

Reading between the lines, I thought Friedman's question really was, ' will the Leafs first rounder be heading directly to the London Knights of the OHL ? '

Reading between the lines, I thought Hunter's laugh was a confirmation.

Days later, all hell broke loose at the CHL Import Draft when the Niagara IceDogs took Liljegren 13th overall, long before London got to make their selection.

The buzz on the Internet was the Knights were severely miffed at Niagara.

A Niagara official related to me that the Leafs quickly informed them, angrily, that Liljegren would NEVER suit up for the IceDogs and he was destined to play elsewhere.

The next call Niagara got, according to the IceDog executive member, was from the Owen Sound Attack who were also bummed out about the selection.

The Attack had no desire to select Liljegren, but rather had a cut a deal with the agents representing Jesper Bratt.

In fact, I was told there was a " Do Not Select-Will Not Report " memo issued by the agency which was to pave the road to Owen Sound for Bratt.

But with no Liljegren and holding a selection in front Owen Sound in the CHL Import Selection, London stepped up and took Jesper Bratt who they officially signed and awarded jersey #17 to last week.

So to recap, Niagara appears to get nothing, London gets the guy Owen Sound had lined up and the Attack have Vasili Filyayev who we'll get a first hand look at in about 2 weeks time.

I'm Fred Wallace

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