With the 2012-2013 campaign fast approaching, the Maple Leafs have expressed that the teamís biggest focus will be on rookies and sophomores.

The Leafs have an abundance of defence prospects who played as members of the AHLís Toronto Marlies last season. We can talk about them all, but letís start with Jesse Blacker, who many consider to be NHL ready after just one full season in the American league.

Blacker only netted 16 points in 58 games with the Toronto Marlies last season, but was the leading scorer among defensemen for OHL champion Owen Sound Attack in 2010-11 and competed in the Memorial Cup for the second time in three years. He scored 10 goals and added 44 assists and was +17 in 62 regular season games with the Attack and was named to the OHLís Third All-Star team. Blacker was +9 in 22 playoff games and scored 5 goals with 11 assists for the Attack.

Blacker has proven he has a solid positional game and can play in a variety of roles. He rarely is caught out of position and reads the play like many can. He is a powerful skater and loves to rush the puck up the ice. His offensive game has taken major steps forward over the last few seasons as heís become one of the OHLís top defenders.

Then there is Korbinian Holzer. Holzer, 24, is pretty much ready to skate full time with the Leafs. He appeared in two games for the Leafs in 2010-2011 and has since developed further with the Marlies. Holzer is known to be more of a stay-at-home defenceman and will use his hockey sense to his advantage while pushing for one of the final spots on the Leafsí blue line, which remains wide open.

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