FROM HIS AGENT ON WWW.CANOE.CA The kids better be all right Financial constraints force Leafs to go with youth on D By MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun While Oleg Tverdovsky is Russia-bound, Scandanavia suddenly has become the destination for a trio of highly regarded Maple Leaf wannabes. With Tverdovsky having wriggled out of the Maple Leafs' plans after signing with a team in Russia, the focus becomes even more intense on young defencemen Brendan Bell and Carlo Colaiacovo as they strive to earn a roster spot. Bell, Colaiacovo and forward prospect Matt Stajan will be among the contingent of 28 signed players ticketed to attend the Leafs training camp in Sweden, which features a pair of exhibition games in Stockholm and one in Helsinki, Finland. The first practice goes Sept. 11. A handful of unsigned Leaf draft picks are also expected to be on hand. The team hopes to release the complete Camp Sweden roster in the next few days. Those players not selected for Sweden will attend a camp in Kitchener. "One of my goals this summer was to be part of the Sweden camp, so I'm very happy," said Bell, who, along with Stajan, received the good news yesterday afternoon. With Tverdovsky out of the mix, Bell is confident the likes of he and Colaiacovo, 20, will receive an ideal shot to land a spot on the Leafs. "I'm happy they haven't gone out and signed a bunch of defencemen," Bell, 20, said. "They've given the young guys every indication we'll get a good opportunity." In order to get a taste of NHL life, Bell played against a line of Eric Lindros, Owen Nolan and Gary Roberts during a spirited game of shinny at a local rink yesterday. "It doesn't get any better than those guys," he said. Tverdovsky, a defenceman the Leafs had shown interest in earlier this summer, signed a two-year pact with Avangard of the Russian super league. The deal, which nets him about $2.5 million US per season after taxes, includes an out-clause that would allow him to return to the NHL, a setup similar to the one that saw Danny Markov recently slide out of a contract with a Russian team and sign with the Carolina Hurricanes. "The Maple Leafs did show interest in Tverdovsky and Magnus Arvedson," said Don Meehan, Tverdovsky's agent. "But when (Leafs assistant general manager) Mike Penny got back to me, he said there was no money in the budget. "The timing was right for Oleg right now, but that does not mean he does not want to come back to the NHL. There were a number of teams who inquired about him." Penny said Tverdovsky would not be allowed to join an NHL team this season should he play a game for Avangard. One player who definitely will not be heading to Sweden is goaltender Trevor Kidd, who is coming off major surgery on his right shoulder. His absence gives Swedish native Mikael Tellqvist, who helped lead the Tre Kroners to a silver medal at the 2003 world hockey championship, the opportunity to come to camp in his homeland and snap up the backup job. Incumbent Ed Belfour and prospect Jamie Hodson will be the other goaltenders in Sweden. "Trevor probably will start practising in October and hopefully will be back in November," Penny said.