Toronto Maple Leafs Make Changes in Front Office and on the Ice
The Toronto Maple Leafs hope that new faces will be the spark that turns around the team’s fortunes. The first big new face is Brendan Shanahan the Hall of Famer who is now team president and its alternate governor.
Shanahan never played in Toronto, his hometown, but has a wealth of experience in the NHL that he brings to his role as the head of Toronto, both while a player and in his role as an executive.
He was the Senior Vice President of Player Safety for the NHL prior to signing to run the Maple Leafs operation.
Last season Toronto was 38-36-8 for 84 points and a sixth place finish in the Atlantic and a 12th place finish in the Eastern Conference. Toronto did not qualify for the postseason.
Dave Nonis the General Manager for Toronto was kept on as was Randy Carlyle the head coach. However, the coaching staff was changed with Steve Spott and Peter Horachek coming aboard to help Carlyle.
Nonis’ office staff was purged as well with his assistant GMs Claude Loiselle and Dave Poulin let go.
Those were the biggest changes for Toronto. Shanahan hired Kyle Dubas a 28-year old on July 22 as an assistant general manager.
Dubas was GM at Sault Ste. Maria in the Ontario Hockey League, though he has no experience at the NHL level.
The team will open its regular season on October 8 at Air Canada Centre against the Montreal Canadians. However, fans really want to know where the club will be sitting on April 11 when they host Montreal in the final game of the regular season.
Toronto has added Stephane Robidas and Roman Polak to shore up the defensive corps and help Dion Phaneuf the team captain with young defensemen Jake Gardiner and Morgan Reilly.
Forwards Leo Komarov and Matt Frattin return for their second time with Toronto, while other new additions in the front include Mike Santorelli, Petri Kontiola, David Booth and Danile Winnik a specialist in penalty killing.
Phil Kessel scored 80 points including 37 goals last season, which provided the club with consistent offense. James van Riemsdyk added 30 goals and 60 points, while both Nazem Kadri and Joffrey Lupul each were 20-goal scorers. Tyler Bozak added 49 points, including 19 goals in just 58 games played.
Although most thought Jonathan Bernier was the No. 1 goalie on the team, James Reimer was signed by Toronto to a $4.6 million two-year deal and will have a legitimate shot at being the top goalie for the Maple Leafs.
Reimer said he was told he had an opportunity to be the starter in goal and that was all a player could ask for. He wants his chance and will take full advantage of the time he is given to convince his coaches.
He added that the worst cases scenario would be he and Bernier battle each other all season and the team winds up with excellent goaltending.