dont know that," said Nonis. "But the skill-set is very high end."

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TORONTO -- In the end, Roy Halladay went back to his major-league roots.
Halladay signed a one-day contract with the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday
that allowed the veteran right-hander to retire as a member of team with
which he broke into the majors and spent the bulk of his distinguished
16-year career.
Halladay made the announcement at a news conference in Lake Buena Vista,
Fla., site of the baseball meetings.
"As most people know, I was very lucky to have a lot of people in the
organization really develop and help me become the player I was able to
become," Halladay said at a press conference . "And (with) the
organization and the support of the organization, from the front office
to the coaches to the players, it really turned my career around and it
made a big difference in my career and thats why Im very fortunate to
retire as a Blue Jay."
Halladay spent his final four major-league seasons with the Philadelphia
Phillies and went to great lengths to express his sincere gratitude to
that organization and its fans. However, he also said he wouldnt have
been able to get a shot with a World Series contender if not for the
Blue Jays.
"I want the Phillies organization to know, I want the fans to know how
much I enjoyed my time there. How much they meant to me, how much they
meant to my family and what a major part of my career they were," he
"But to me the biggest thing was had I not been fortunate enough to come
up with the Blue Jays and have the people around me that I did and have
the people develop me that I did I wouldve never had that chance."
Halladay was drafted 17th overall by Toronto in 1995 and made his
major-league debut with an innocuous but telling two games three years
later as a September call-up.
His first game as a Blue Jay was unremarkable. In a five-inning start
against the then Tampa Bay Devil Rays he gave up three runs and a homer
but earned a 7-5 win.
A week later, Halladay went the distance against Detroit. His stat line
reads like what Toronto fans would come to expect: nine innings, eight
strikeouts, no walks and just run, a homer in the ninth inning of a 2-1
The dominant starter, however, wouldnt emerge until after several ugly
seasons that involved an important trip to the minors. A serviceable
season in 99 led to a disastrous 2000 when he finished with a 10.64
earned-run average in just 67 innings pitched.
That was the turning point for Halladay. Instead of giving up on him,
Toronto sent him to single-A Dunedin in 01 to rebuild his pitching
mechanics. He was promoted through double- and triple-A until returning
to the Blue Jays on July 2.
His first game back was ugly -- six runs allowed over two-plus innings
of relief against Boston. But Toronto kept him in the majors and he
started every game the rest of the season, finishing with a
complete-game shutout against Cleveland for a respectable 3.16 ERA.
"There was a period of time I didnt know what was going to happen,"
Halladay said. "Where I probably wasnt as positive as I could be about
what my future was going to be.
"But I think through the support of my wife and people in the
organization I was able to find people that really helped me see the
mental side of it and see the positives and thats really where I felt my
career changed."
Halladay never looked back. In 2003 he went 19-7 in 02 with 2.93 ERA in
239.1 innings while earning the first of eight all-star selections. A
year later he won his first Cy Young with a spectacular 22-7 record and
3.25 ERA.
Shoulder soreness landed Halladay on the disabled list twice in the 04
campaign but he earned another all-star nod the following year.
Known for superb conditioning and a relentless work ethic, Halladay
pitched no less than 220 innings every season between 2006-11.
But he was unable to lead Toronto into the playoffs. With the Blue Jays
languishing in the AL East and Halladays contract set to expire in 2010,
Toronto shipped him to Philadelphia in December 2009 in the first
significant move by GM Alex Anthopoulos.
Toronto sent Halladay to the Phillies for minor-league prospects
Travis dArnaud, Kyle Drabek and Michael Taylor.
"Toronto was hard for me, as much as I loved it there I felt like I
needed to make the decision to give myself the chance to get to the
playoffs," Halladay said. "Thankfully the fans understood that and were
very supportive.
"Hopefully they get a chance to experience that also because its a
tremendous feeling."
Toronto hasnt reached the baseball playoffs since winning its second
straight World Series title in 93.
Pitching with a contender certainly agreed with Halladay in 2010.
He threw a perfect game May 29 against the then Florida Marlins. Then,
in his first-ever playoff outing, he became the second pitcher ever to
throw a no-hitter in the post-season, doing so against Cincinnati.
The Phillies lost to San Francisco in the NLCS that season. His last
shot at an elusive World Series title ended when Philadelphia was beaten
by St. Louis in the 2011 NLCS, as the Phillies failed to make the
playoffs the past two seasons.
Halladay amassed a career record of 203-105 in 416 games, 390 being
starts, and an ERA of 3.38.
While many pitchers retire due to recurring shoulder problems, Halladay
said hes walking away from the game at a time when his shoulders are
feeling strong. But the veteran pitcher admits hes had to battle through
back issues the last two seasons that have affected his pitching
"I had to change some things, do some things differently to be able to
throw the ball and thats led to some shoulder issues," Halladay said.
"But the big thing has really been the back.
"Speaking with doctors, they feel like at this point if I can step away
and take some of that high-level pressure off it, it will really
hopefully allow me to do some regular things and help out with the kids
"I want to be active and continue to do the things I enjoy doing. The
biggest thing is Im trying to avoid surgery."
Halladay said hes content walking away from baseball not having won a
World Series.
"Im very fortunate I had a chance to get to the playoffs and experience
that atmosphere," he said. "Ive always wanted to win a World Series and
hopefully down the road I can be a part of it in a different aspect.
"Im more comfortable knowing that I came a little bit short than to
never had got that shot. I feel fortunate that I tried to absorb every
minute of it that I could. I really dont have any regrets."
Halladay also wants to be remembered for more than just wins or losses.
"For me it was just not quitting," he said. "I definitely had some bumps
in the road and even when things were good, youre going to have some
bad days.
"I didnt ever feel like when I took the mound I gave anything less than
my best effort . . . and Im really proud that I feel like I was able to
do that."

PHILADELPHIA – One year ago at the NHL draft in Newark, the
Maple Leafs picked Frederik Gauthier with their first selection, a
hulking centre with likely third-line potential and a low offensive
They swung for a much higher fence with the eighth overall pick on
Friday night, landing the "electrifying" William Nylander from Sweden. A
speedy, highlight-reel winger, he is the son of longtime NHL centre
Michael Nylander and the first European Toronto has drafted in the first
round since Jiri Tlusty in 2006. Nylander is also the first draft pick
of the Brendan Shanahan era and an injection of homegrown game-breaking
ability, long-starved within the Leaf organization.
"Hes got high, high-end skill," gushed general manager Dave Nonis,
shortly after the pick was made.  And that fills a need within the
prospect ranks of the organization, considerably deprived over the
years. Though hopeful that the likes of Carter Verhaeghe, Connor Brown
and Andreas Johnson may eventually make an impact of sorts with the big
club, the Leafs simply did not boast a game-breaker with Nylanders
ceiling beyond the NHL club (and have not historically).
They havent landed many at all from the draft.
Vincent Damphousse, picked sixth overall in 1986, was the last homegrown
player to register at least 80 points in a season as a Leaf. Toronto
has, additionally, sent only two homegrown players to the All-Star game
in the past 20 years, neither of whom was a forward (Tomas Kaberle and
Felix Potvin). Dealing first round picks – as they did five times from
2003-2011 – certainly didnt help the matter.
Nylander may or may not make it, but he, at the very least, represents
the kind of high upside, homegrown talent the organization has mostly
lacked, especially up front – Nazem Kadri, who scored 20 goals as a
23-year-old last season, was a recent exception. Nonis wouldnt go as far
as to say that adding skill was a priority, but labeled it "an area of
weakness". "He might be the most skilled player in the draft," said the
Leafs GM of Nylander. Nonis saw that skill firsthand at the Under-18
tournament in Finland this past April.  Nylander, playing for Sweden,
led all players with 16 points in seveen games, notching six goals along
the way.dddddddddddd As a teenager, he spent part of last season in
Swedens top league, totaling a goal and seven points in 22 games –
notable given his age and size (5-foot-11, 169 pounds).
"He has NHL speed, NHL hands, an NHL shot right now," Nonis said. "Its
whether or not the rest of his game can catch up." Unwilling to pay Dale
Tallons price for the first overall pick and rights to draft Aaron
Ekblad, Nonis said he actually considered moving down if one of two
players – Nylander among them – wasnt there to be had with the eighth
pick. Nylander grew up around the NHL, his father totaling 920 NHL games
for seven different teams. That kept the younger Nylander in North
America until the age of 14 when he moved to Sweden, eventually playing
alongside his 40-year-old dad last year (with Rogle in the second-tier
league).  "I like to score goals and make plays," Nylander said,
projecting an aura of confidence and cool, noticeably unfazed by all
that surrounded him.
A free agent and thus able to come to North America next year if he and
the organization so choose, Nylander will audition for the Leafs in the
fall.  "Hell definitely have a chance to make our team," Nonis said.
"[But] I really dont care how skilled you are, its very difficult to
make the NHL as an 18-year-old. I think itd be a long shot for him to do
that, but hes going to be given that opportunity and if hes good enough
to stick and play and contribute then we would keep him. If not, well
decide at that point whether its best to keep him over in North America
or to have him go back to Sweden to play in the Elite League."
Nylander boasts a "VERY high ceiling" according to Mark Seidel, chief
scout for North American Central Scouting, but has been trailed by
attitude questions, something Nonis brushed aside as outward confidence.
Like most draftees, the new Leaf prospect will have to get bigger and
stronger before he is likely to make the leap to the NHL, additionally
requiring some acclimation to the North American ice surface.
"It may take him a month to acclimate, it might take him over a year – I
dont know that," said Nonis. "But the skill-set is very high end."

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