After a 1-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators in their final game of the regular season, the Toronto Maple Leafs began their off-season this week. Brendan Shanahan was introduced as President and Alternate Governor of the team, placing him at the head of the organization. MLSE CEO Tim Leiweke, who orchestrated the move, said that changes had to be made after the Leafs’ third late-season collapse in as many years.
“I definitely sense that we lack an identity, and right now we’re a team that lacks a direction and we want to change that,” Leiweke said.
The move initially sparked speculation on the job statuses of Dave Nonis and Randy Carlyle, but it has since been announced that Nonis will stay on as general manager. As far as Carlyle’s job is concerned, it’s too early to tell. Shanahan and Carlyle have not yet had a formal meeting about Carlyle’s future as coach.
The Leafs made a different sort of signing later in the week, locking up Swedish prospect Viktor Loov on a three-year entry-level deal. The defenseman was drafted 209th overall in the 2012 entry draft. He had 12 points in 42 games with MODO in the Swedish Hockey League this year. Loov has been compared to Carl Gunnarsson in style as a steady two-way defender, though Loov is also known for his upper body strength and hitting ability. He and fellow-Swede/Leafs draftee Tom Nilsson are expected to join the Marlies in the 2014-15 AHL season.
Speaking of the Marlies, the Leafs’ AHL affiliate also sees its regular season come to a close this week- they face the Rochester Americans today for their final game. With 96 points in the season, the Marlies won their North division and will face either Abbotsford or Milwaukee in the first round of the playoffs.
In other Marlies’ news, T.J. Brennan won the Eddie Shore Award (AHL equivalent of the Norris Trophy) for his efforts this season, the rearguard put up 72 points in 76 games and was the second runner-up in the overall scoring title.