The Maple Leafs have announced the hiring of Finnish scout Ari Vuori, formerly of the LA Kings (eleven seasons) and Detroit Red Wings (nine seasons), as Director of European Scouting (a newly created role).

Ari Vuori has worked as a European scout for the Red Wings since 2007-08. Vuori’s main territory was Finland according to the team’s amateur scouting map; the only Finns the Red Wings have drafted since 2008 are Teemu Pulkkinen (who is tracking very nicely, especially for a fourth round pick) and Julius Vahatalo (sixth rounder in 2014), but one imagines he would’ve had input on a lot of the (many successful) Euro picks the Wings have made over the past eight drafts, as Vuori was one of super-scout Hakan Andersson’s (who fills this same director role with Detroit) top guys on his staff.

Vuori has also been serving as a player coordinator for TPS of SM-liiga, his former team during his playing career.

Vuori will oversee Leafs Euro scouts Thommie Bergman and Nikolai Ladygin, and may choose to add some personnel of his own; the Red Wings had a staff of four-five European scouts, and Toronto, before hiring Vuori, had just those two. If the last draft is any indication, taken in combination with the hire of Vuori and the creation of a Director of European scouting role, the Leafs are going to be drafting more youngsters out of Europe than in years past.

This looks like Mike Babcock coming through here for the Leafs and another good poaching by Shanahan and the management group.

The Leafs have also filled their goaltending coach vacancy with Steve Briere, the owner of the Canadian Professional Goalie Schools and long time goalie coach in American junior hockey leagues.

Steve Briere is the owner and head instructor of Canadian Professional Goalie Schools. He is also the Goalie Coach for four Junior level teams, the Topeka Roadrunners of the NAHL,  the Fargo Force of the USHL, the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL and the Casper Coyotes of the WSHL.  Steve is also an active participant in USA hockey and previously worked with the team USA U14 team as their Goalie Coach as well as a USA Hockey CEP Instructor and District evaluator. Before joining his Junior teams, Steve was an assistant at the University of Alabama in Huntsville where the NCAA Division I Chargers captured the CHA Championship in 2007.

As a goaltender Steve played in the NCAA D1 and USHL, followed by moving onto the Professional level in the AHL, IHL, ECHL and the Elite league in Britain. He brings over 19 years of instructional experience to the CPGS program.

For years Briere has studied under highly respected goalie coach Mitch Korn, named among the top 10 minds in the game by The Hockey News. Korn worked for Nashville for 11 seasons (Tomas Vokoun, Chris Mason, Pekke Rinne among others) before moving over to Washington last year and having a great season working alongside Braden Holtby (.944 save percentage).

Here is a great read on Briere and his relationship with Korn, widely regarded as one of the best goalie coaches in the game. Briere’s reportedly done some video work for the San Jose Sharks in the past and used to travel a hundred miles to sit in on Korn’s sessions when he was with Nashville.

Among Briere’s recent students is Zane McIntyre, a Hobey Baker Finalist in 2015 and sixth round pick of the Boston Bruins in 2010; Briere was McIntyre’s goalie coach for Fargo of the USHL. Another of his students, Matej Tomek of the Topeka Roadrunners (NAHL), was recently drafted in the third round by the Philadelphia Flyers.

Briere also worked with now-Oilers starter Cam Talbot at the University of Alabama.

Briere used to write for In Goal Magazine, so you can get a feel for some of his philosophies in his articles on their website.

You’re rarely going to be able to go out and hire the already-established ‘best in the game’ at a particular job as the Leafs pulled off with Mike Babcock, but the core tenet of the Leafs program is to develop talented players and smart up and coming management/coaching personnel alike.