The Toronto Maple Leafs do not need a new coach.
But more specifically, the last thing the Toronto Maple Leafs need is an old-school veteran coach who is known for his boring defensive hockey.
They had one of those, it wasn’t working out, and they fired him.
Their new coach has been a major improvement and has one of the best winning percentages of all time. Sheldon Keefe is doing a great job and his job is not in jeopardy at all.
But even if it was, Barry Trotz, isn’t the guy you’d want.
Toronto Maple Leafs Don’t Need a New Coach
There are members of the NHL media who will not give up on the fact that the Toronto Maple Leafs (at least under Shanahan and Dubas) do not think about the game in the same way they do.
The NHL is a cookie cutter league where teams recycle the same losers over and over, and no one innovates, and hardly anyone even thinks. The Leafs – who can be maddeningly regressive at times – at least try new things. The media that covers them just cannot forgive them for ditching Babcock and Lamoriello, and now they are hoping the Leafs feel the same way.
Barry Trotz just got fired by the Islanders (who are a much worse team than the Leafs) for not making the playoffs.
Why would you give a guy who just got fired and who had a terrible year, the job of the guy who just had one of the best seasons?
Losing to Tampa by a single goal isn’t a strike against Keefe, it’s a success in his favor. You know who has also lost to Tampa in the playoffs? Barry Trotz. Twice.
There is no reason to fire Keefe for Trotz, except that this is the NHL so people are always after a guy who had success instead of a guy who might have it in the future.
Barry Trotz is 59 years old, and that is 18 years older than Sheldon Keefe. The people who want to hire Barry Trotz now would have missed out on him 18 years ago. Keefe’s career is off to a great start and he is more than likely going to be as successful as Trotz has been, 18 years from now.
Hiring Trotz would make people feel good, but it’s the exact wrong message to send. The Leafs didn’t lose because of coaching, and they aren’t going to finally get over the hump because of a different coach.
The idea that the Leafs should hire Trotz involves magical thinking and attributing to the coach powers he doesn’t have. The Leafs just finished fifth overall, despite having some of the worst goaltending in the league, which means that their coach probably deserves a ton of credit.
What he doesn’t deserve is to fired and replaced with a name-brand people recognize.
If the Leafs were outplayed, under-prepared, badly coached, or made bad roster decisions, I think a new coach would be in order.
But Sheldon Keefe’s poor officiating didn’t cost the Leafs the series.
Sheldon Keefe can’t coach Jack Campbell into Andre Vasilevskiy, and he can’t manifest a 40 goal power-forward into his top six during the playoffs.
The Toronto Maple Leafs need to do what anyone who fails needs to do – get back up and try again. Put in the work.
This magical thinking that you need a new and special coach is loser talk. The Leafs didn’t lose because of coaching, and they won’t win because of coaching. Whoever the coach is hardly even makes that much of a difference.
I am so sick of how lazy and dumb hockey is when it comes to this kind of stuff. “Oh it must be the coach” borders on superstitious nonsense.
The Toronto Maple Leafs don’t have any interest in Barry Trotz, and I know this, not because of any kind of special information, but because I’ve observed how the team operates and I now they aren’t run by silly idiots.
Sheldon Keefe, quite possibly the best coach in the NHL, for all anyone knows, will be behind the bench when the Toronto Maple Leafs kick off next year’s quest for the Cup.
Nothing says “I’m out of ideas” like hiring a new coach, and the only way the Leafs are hiring a new coach is if they are also hiring a new President and GM, which would be even more short-sighted and dumb.
Ironically, Barrie Trotz does call to mind one thing that would actually help the Leafs: stability. Trotz was the coach of Nashville for 16 years. That kind of long term stability likely helps a franchise 100x more than whoever the actual coach is. The Toronto Maple Leafs should consider that, and stick with Keefe.