The Toronto Maple Leafs have filled both of their assistant coach vacancies. First, they hired Manny Malhotra, and just recently, they hired Paul MacLean.
Malhotra is an NHL veteran of 16 seasons with 991 games played. He finished his career with 116 goals and 179 assists for 295 points. After hanging up his skates as a player, Malhotra moved behind the bench. His first taste of coaching came during the 2016-17 season with the Vancouver Canucks. He joined the team as a player development coach, but that title only lasted for one season. The very next season he was promoted to assistant coach.
Since then he has continued to improve and evolve as a coach. Many have described Malhotra as a rising star in the NHL coaching community. He is known as being a players coach and also as a very disciplined coach. It will be interesting to see how his fresh set of eyes brings to this young up and coming Maple Leafs team. His main focus with the Maple Leafs next season will be in a player development role.
“I’m very grateful to the Canucks organization for the opportunity given to me to start my coaching career. It was truly a great experience to learn from Travis Green and the rest of his staff,” said Malhotra. “I’m now very excited for this opportunity with the Leafs moving forward – to be working with Sheldon, his staff, and this young, talented team.”
MacLean gives the Maple Leafs the veteran coach they have been looking for to assist Sheldon Keefe. MacLean is a veteran NHL coach with nearly over two decades of experience behind the bench.
MacLean has been an assistant coach in the playoffs 11 times. He made three appearances in the Stanley Cup finals (2003, 2008, 2009), winning the Stanley Cup in 2008 with the Detroit Red Wings. He also won the Jack Adams Award (coach of the year) as the head coach in Ottawa in 2012-13 after being a finalist for the honour the previous season.
He was most recently a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets coaching staff. During the play-in round series against the Maple Leafs, MacLean got to see the Maple Leafs players up close. Now he will be asked to help stir them in the right direction.
Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe had this to say about MacLean joining his coaching staff.
“Over nearly two decades as an NHL coach, Paul has filled every role on a coaching staff, winning a Stanley Cup and Jack Adams trophy along the way,”
“Adding someone of Paul’s expertise and character to advise and assist our staff is something that we felt was very important as we seek to make tangible steps next season.”
My Thoughts On Paul MacLean and Manny Malhotra
After the Maple Leafs struggled yet again in the playoffs, we all knew changes were coming. Now, although Paul MacLean might not be Bruce Boudreau, he does still offer the Maple Leafs a ton of coaching experience. MacLean has been an assistant coach on various different teams in various different situations. He should be able to guide Sheldon Keefe and the Maple Leafs through any of those same situations should they happen. I think he will be a stern, yet calming presence behind the bench.
As for Manny Malhotra, I think he brings some fresh new ideas to the Maple Leafs. Being that he was a player himself not that long ago, the players might open up to him a bit more than they would to Keefe. They might be more accepting of some fresh ideas and a new set of ears to bounce ideas off of.
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