The Toronto Maple Leafs Should Target Rod Brind’Amour as New Bench Boss

St Louis Blues v Carolina Hurricanes
St Louis Blues v Carolina Hurricanes / Jacob Kupferman/GettyImages
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To nobody’s surprise, the Toronto Maple Leafs have announced the firing of head coach Sheldon Keefe.  Despite signing a 2-year contract extension last summer that has not even kicked in yet, Keefe is taking the fall for the string of playoff failures that continue to haunt Toronto’s talented lineup.

Although coaching is likely not the sole cause of the Toronto Maple Leafs struggles, the changes have to start somewhere, and this is probably only the beginning of what may become a “summer of change” for the organization.  The speculation will now begin as to who will replace Keefe.

I’m putting in my vote (if anyone out there is listening) for current Carolina Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour.  Technically, Brind’Amour is not yet available, as his current contract doesn’t expire until the Canes are finished playing in this season’s Stanley Cup playoffs.

Further complicating the matter is the fact that Brind’Amour has lived in Carolina for 24 years, he’s raised his children there, and recently told the media that he’s happy where he is and wants to stay there. He further stated that he feels he and Hurricanes Don Waddell are moving closer to an agreement.

Why Would Brind'Amour Be Interested in Coaching the Toronto Maple Leafs?

So why would I suggest there’s even a possibility that Brind’Amour could be lured to uproot himself and his family and come north to take over the coaching reins of the Toronto Maple Leafs?  Two reasons come to mind.

The first is money.  MLSE has loads of it, and they aren’t afraid to spend it.  Once they decide who they want as coach, there’s no chance they will be outbid by any competitors.  Brind’Amour’s current expiring contract pays him only $1.8M per season (per CanesCountry.com), while there are at least 10 other NHL coaches making $2.5M or more (topping out at $5.0M for the recently fired Todd McLellan in Los Angeles).

The second is the opportunity to be a hero.  For anyone born in Canada, even if they didn’t grow up as a Leafs fan, they understand the pain fans of the franchise have endured for 47 years.  Brind’Amour already won a Stanley Cup (as a player) with the Hurricanes, and surely he can imagine what it would be like to win one in Toronto.

From the Toronto Maple Leafs perspective, why should Rod Brind’Amour be their prime target?  There are a handful of successful veteran coaches who are available and would love the challenge of leading a highly talented group to the promised land.

Without getting into a long comparison versus other candidates, Brind’Amour brings a unique combination of qualities.  He inspires hard work and respect among his players.  He knows what it takes to win a Cup.  He has lots of coaching experience (the last 6 years as head coach), and has failed only once to get past the first round of the NHL playoffs.

Brind’Amour is still young (53 years old), and has never been fired from a coaching gig.  Too many coaches of the “old boys club” seem like re-treads, getting hired only to be fired 2 or 3 years later.

In short, I see how much mileage he’s gotten out of good but not great rosters with Carolina, and would absolutely love to see what he could do with the firepower in the Toronto Maple Leafs lineup.

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Act fast, Brad Treliving, before it’s too late.