The Next Toronto Maple Leafs Coach Will Be…


Now that the dust has settled on the Randy Carlyle firing and the world has moved on it’s time to answer the all important question:

Who will be the next head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs? Some of our staff have weighed in.

Torrin Batchelor: Peter DeBoer

The popular choice and the one all the media screams for is definitely Mike Babcock. Since Babcock is still under contract with the Red Wings until the end of the season, I’m going to a different (less collusion-filled) direction with former New Jersey Devils Head Coach Peter DeBoer.

Aside from being a former Leafs draft pick (237th overall in 1988), DeBoer brings winning intangibles from guiding the New Jersey Devils to the cup final in 2012. He’s also a coach known for being tough but fair with his players and only handing out ice time where it is earned – something the sad state of the Leafs leadership core could use.

DeBoer has familiarity with Nazem Kadri and David Clarkson from his time as head coach of the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers and when Clarkson was on the Devils. He implements a sound defensive system while using an aggressive forecheck and a modified version of the 1-3-1 neutral zone trap.

This system, with a few personnel changes – like say the often rumored acquisition of former Kitchener Ranger Mike Richards – could lead to a resurgence of the Leafs to a team that’s fun to cheer for again.

Accountability, defensive responsibility and earning your ice time are all trade marks of a Peter DeBoer coached team. All things the Leafs could desperately use.

Jeff Langridge: Todd McLellan

This question is nearly impossible to answer. With Peter Horacek remaining the interim head coach for the rest of the season, it will be interesting to see what coaches are available.

We all know that nearly every fan in Toronto wants to see Mike Babcock behind the Leafs bench next season. There’s also another Stanley Cup winner available in Dan Bylsma.

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You also have to consider coaches that might get fired after the season if their teams don’t make the playoffs. Claude Julien of the Boston Bruins and Todd McLellan of the San Jose Sharks are two of those coaches. Then we have coaches that are free agents right now including Bylsma, Paul MacLean, Peter DeBoer and of course, Dallas Eakins.

I don’t think anyone has any idea who the next coach will be because the Leafs don’t either. So who would I like to be the Leafs coach? Well, I’d be lying if I wasn’t one of the people that want Babcock in Toronto.

However, I don’t think he would want to come to Toronto. So my final pick will be Todd McLellan. If San Jose doesn’t win the Stanley Cup this season, which I don’t think they will, I believe it will be the straw that breaks the Sharks’ back. But then again…

Tim Chiasson: Jeff Blashill

I’m a huge Jeff Blashill supporter, and I think he should be considered for every coaching job that comes up – call me biased if you want I suppose.

He’s flying through the coaching ranks in the hockey world – leaving Western Michigan after the 2010-2011 season for a job next to Mike Babcock as an assistant in Detroit before being given the reigns of their AHL affiliate the following season in 2012-2013.

All he did in his rookie year as head coach in a professional hockey league was win the Calder Cup. Not bad, eh?

Blashill is a fresh mind – something I think the Leafs need – as opposed to a stale, fallen coach from another team.

Toronto has tried to bring in proven, experienced coaches and I think with the new outlook from the people behind the scenes that a brand new face might be what they need.

After all, coaching experience doesn’t fall from the sky – you have to coach to get it.

My dark horse pick is Peter Horachek keeping the job – but that will be largely dependent on what this team transforms into over the latter half of the season, and even that probably isn’t going to be enough to keep him from simply being a placeholder.