It should be a busy day on the media rounds for Leafs players and management to say the least, with the exit interviews coming a day after what’s being described as the biggest, swiftest organizational overhaul in Leafs history.
With the clearcutting more or less complete, we should get some more information on who all remains among the scouts today and maybe some hints about what the direction is going to be in terms of replacements for the jettisoned personnel.
Brendan Shanahan’s press conference will air at 2 p.m. We’ll have the stream up here when the time comes.
- Alec Brownscombe ‘Mike Futa could be perfect fit for Leafs GM’ (MLHS)
Futa seems to walk a nice line amid all these considerations. He’s got a background in scouting and he’s worked with an NHL team for eight years, which is plenty more than the current Leafs front office personnel combined. He’s got two Cup rings to show for it. He checks a lot of the right boxes and seems to mesh well with what’s already in place.
- Alec Brownscombe: Leafs fire Director of Pro Scouting Steve Kasper and Director of Player Development Jimmy Hughes; Director of Amateur Scouting Dave Morrison expected to stay on (MLHS)
Kyle Dubas recently spoke at the SAS analytics conference about the need for all levels of management and coaching to be on the same page on their thinking processes when it comes to implementing a more analytical approach to decision making. Clearly, Kasper was more of the old management’s paradigm. That’s reason enough to move on.
- Alec Brownscombe and Anthony Petrielli: Leafs fire Dave Nonis, Peter Horachek, Steve Spott, Chris Dennis, Rick St. Croix (MLHS)
Nonis was handed a team with scoring depth and goaltending and ruined the scoring depth, acquired another goalie and never addressed the positions of need (center and defense, aka the two most important positions on the team). This had to happen. Probably should have happened last summer.
- Bob McKenzie: Shanahan’s new GM must align with Leafs’ vision (TSN.ca)
There is absolutely no doubt Shanahan’s primary hiring focus will be to find a somewhat like-minded individual who can work comfortably in the hockey universe Shanahan has created with Dubas, Hunter and Pridham. That isn’t to say there can’t be discourse – I couldn’t think of two individuals who appear to differ more in style and/or personality more than Dubas and Hunter – but there needs to be some commonality of thought and respect for the established hierarchy.
- James Mirtle: Leafs’ Shanahan drops the axe, kick-starts long overdue rebuild (The Globe and Mail)
Finally, no one can deny how poor this team and its prospects (in both senses of the word) actually are. No one could watch 11 wins in the last 51 games and come to any conclusion other than it was an unmitigated mess.
- Bruce Arthur: Maple Leafs’ bloody Sunday solidifies Shanahan’s power (Toronto Star)
That is what Shanahan keeps saying, publicly and privately. He doesn’t want to settle. In October he told me that winning a Stanley Cup here running the Leafs would mean more than anything he accomplished as a player. The three Stanley Cups, the gold medal, everything. He was born here and raised here, went to his prom as an 18-year-old NHL player here. His family and friends are still here. He’s emotionally invested in this thing.
- Chris Johnston: ‘Bloody Sunday’ begins biggest off-season ever (Sportsnet.ca)
On the bright side, this is the perfect time to conduct a search for off-ice talent. There is expected to be an unprecedented amount of turnover around the NHL in the coming weeks, with several high-pedigree coaches likely to be fired and Mike Babcock set to become a free agent.
- Bruce Arthur: Hard part now starts for Leafs (Toronto Star)
And then blow the core up, if you can. Not rashly, not stupidly, but thoroughly. Kessel, Dion Phaneuf — who was wistful in his season-ending interview, or as publicly wistful as he gets — Tyler Bozak, Joffrey Lupul, even James van Riemsdyk. Take calls, make calls, keep Jake Gardiner and Morgan Rielly above all, build for the future. Shanahan has secured the approval of the Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment board to execute a patient process, and it would be a shame to waste it
- Chemmy: Thoughts on firing of Dave Nonis and Peter Horachek (Pension Plan Puppets)
We can’t talk about Dave Nonis without recognizing that he was Brian Burke’s second in command. This is where the Brian Burke non-rebuild actually ends, and it’s where we can really evaluate what this executive team did for the Maple Leafs.
- Jonas Siegel: Nonis failed to see big picture as Leafs GM (TSN.ca)
Nonis epitomized that approach in securing the mostly-Burke-acquired core of Kessel, Phaneuf, Lupul, Bozak and Clarkson. A group of that caliber in a cap system was never winning a Cup or coming close. Qualifying for the playoffs was even a strain and only in a 48-game season did the group manage that.