Three Leafs-related passages of note from Elliotte Friedman’s 30 Thoughts yesterday:
[quote_box_center]13. Speaking of Blashill, is it possible Babcock does something in Toronto that was done with those two in Detroit? When the former was first hired by the Red Wings, he was the latter’s assistant with the NHL club. After one season, Blashill moved to Grand Rapids, where he’s finishing year three. Does Toronto take a young, promising coach, put him next to Babcock, then send him to run the AHL Marlies? Gord Dineen did a good job with Toronto’s prospects. He’s still in the organization, too.[/quote_box_center]
Not sure this will happen, given we already know Gord Dineen is either leaving or having his role reduced to assistant, if he agrees to stay on with the Marlies (he’s said to still be considering his options). All signs seem to point to Sheldon Keefe stepping into the Marlies head coaching role, but this is interesting nonetheless.
[quote_box_center]15. Another name getting play for a position in Toronto is Kelly McCrimmon: owner, GM and head coach of the WHL Brandon Wheat Kings. Initially, I’d thought he would be added to fill a role if Hunter moved to the GM spot. But I don’t think that’s correct — they are interested in him whatever the case. There are connections here, as Kelly’s late brother Brad coached with Babcock in Detroit and the two share a friendship with Tim Speltz, GM of the Spokane Chiefs. McCrimmon’s next team in Brandon is supposed to be loaded, though. May be tough to leave with a shot at the Memorial Cup.[/quote_box_center]
Further, the Leafs have actually interviewed McCrimmon:
Brandon Wheat King GM-coach Kelly McCrimmon interviewed for a management position (not GM) with TOR last week.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 1, 2015
More on him here. We know Mike Babcock is a big fan. It appears to be a matter of whether McCrimmon wants to step away from a great team (coming off a 53-11-8 season, and will be great again next year) he owns, manages and coaches for a position that’s likely to be more on the scouting or player evaluation side.
[quote_box_center]14. With Julien BriseBois out, and my belief Gorton is out, that leaves Mike Futa, Mark Hunter and George McPhee as the known candidates for Toronto’s GM, although it would not be a surprise if there are possibilities we haven’t discovered yet. But, people have to stop thinking about this as a traditional manager position. The power rests with Brendan Shanahan and Babcock, with Kyle Dubas, Hunter (especially in amateur scouting) and Brandon Pridham in major roles. What the GM is going to do is have a voice, then take the plan and find ways to implement it. Dave Nonis did a lot of this last season, using his connections and knowledge to lay the groundwork for trades. Scott Howson would be another person who fits this mold. So, if it takes awhile, such as after the draft (which would be the case with Futa), it’s not the biggest deal, since Hunter would run that anyway.[/quote_box_center]
That the Leafs are quite comfortable with who is already in place sounds like a credit to the Hunter possibility, but it would seem the biggest reason for Shanahan and co. taking their time is not wanting to miss out on an opportunity to add another good hockey mind. If Futa is available and wants to come to Toronto, which we won’t know for sure until after the draft, he’s only leaving LA if it’s for a GM position. It’s prudent to leave the GM’s chair vacant until all the cards are on the table.
- Alex Tran: Joel Ek Eriksson Scouting Report – 2015 NHL Draft (MLHS)
He figures to be more of an excellent complementary piece than a centerpiece of a winning team; considering the importance of strength down the middle in today’s NHL, that’s certainly more than enough to justify a late first round selection; his impact could be in the mold of an Andrew Ladd or a David Backes type of player.
- Alex Tran: Pavel Zacha Scouting Report – 2015 NHL Draft (MLHS)
Zacha is easily the most polarizing player of this year’s draft class; a team that falls in love with his tantalizing package of skill and physicality could make a play for him with picks 6 -10; though it’s more likely he’ll slide just outside the top 10.
- Maple Leafs.com: Maple Leafs hire Jeremy Bettle as Director of Sports Science (Press Release)
“We are thrilled to add Dr. Bettle to our program today and name him Director of Sports Science & Performance for all of our hockey entities,” said Kyle Dubas, Toronto Maple Leafs Assistant General Manager. “We would like to thank Billy King and the Brooklyn Nets for affording us the opportunity to approach and hire Jeremy away from them. We would also like to thank the Toronto Raptors and their Director of Sports Science Alex McKechnie for allowing us to glean valuable insight from their world-class Sports Science & Performance department.”
- Lance Hornby: Kessel a big test for new Leafs’ conditioning specialist (Toronto Sun)
Winger prospect Andreas Johnson, chosen 202nd overall in 2013 before a smashing 35-point season in Sweden last year, will be remaining in Frolunda in 2015-16.I
— Kyle Dubas (@kyledubas) June 1, 2015