Shanahan to take over Maple Leafs

Justin Fisher
April 10 2014 06:54PM


Well, it looks like it’s a done deal. After several days of rampant speculation, it looks like Brendan Shanahan is set to take over as President of the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey club. From Damien Cox over at the Toronto Star:

"Shanahan, according to multiple sources, will resign his position as the NHL’s director of player safety as early as Friday and immediately join the Leafs this weekend as the team closes out a disappointing season.

While his precise job could not be confirmed, sources suggest the Hall of Fame winger will likely be named president of the Leafs hockey club, not only president of hockey operations.
A formal press conference to announce his hiring could happen as early as Monday in Leiweke’s latest eye-popping maneuver."

It’s good news, I guess, in that I can’t see how it’s bad news. Shanahan appears to check off all the proverbial boxes - he certainly knows hockey, seems to understand the business side of the sports, and carries with him significant name recognition. That last part really isn’t all that important, but I imagine it was to MLSE boss hog Tim Leiweke.

According to the pundits, this move is designed to “change the culture” in the Leafs’ front office, but I’m skeptical as to how much of an affect it will have on the on-ice product. Roster management duties still fall on David Nonis and his band of merry assistants, but maybe Shanahan’s presence signals that failure won’t be tolerated for quite as long as it has previously been. 

And hey, if that motivates Nonis to make a coaching change in the offseason, then Shanahan’s hiring might become immediately justified.

While I’m not 100% sold, reading Greg Wyshynski’s reaction makes me feel a little better

"If it sounds like I’m optimistic about the hiring, it’s because I am. Shanahan was an impressive change-maker in the NHL offices, and that’s the essential thing the Maple Leafs need: The vision thing, the boldness thing and someone that’s going to be able to sell a plan that isn’t simply an extension of someone else’s philosophy."


To be honest, Wyshynski’s entire article is excellent so click on that link and read the whole thing.

More to come as the story unfolds…

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Justin Fisher is a Toronto-based writer of sorts. He likes hockey and comic books and sriracha sauce. He doesn't like Don Cherry. Follow him on Twitter: @thejustinfisher
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#1 WesterDP
April 10 2014, 07:18PM
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I see it positive as it changes the "Stanley Cup" portion of the argument between Carlyle and Nonis.

Nonis: Randy, I want you to improve your defensive systems and give more of a chance to our younger players from the Marlies. The Marlies won their division and some of them are pretty good.

Carlyle: Trust me...I know what I'm doing. I won a Stanley Cup with veterans and toughness. How many Cups have you won?

Shannahan: I won three Stanley Cups, improve your defensive systems and stop playing Colton Orr over our prospects or you're going to get fired.

Kessel with sarcasm : Good one Randy, good one...

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#2 Wetcoaster
April 10 2014, 08:10PM
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And another Canadian team takes the first step to full-on Oilerdom.

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#3 John Lofranco
April 10 2014, 08:18PM
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I don't really understand how the hiring of another top executive is going to help. In my personal experience, the companies who hire extra managers and what not instead of focusing on process and good employees end up wasting money and going nowhere.

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#4 Ammar Hussain
April 10 2014, 08:34PM
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Let's hope at least one former 30 goal Devil player from Mimico Ontario has a good year next year...

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#6 leaferfan
April 10 2014, 11:00PM
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I blame the advanced stats communty for this hiring. They created a mainstream media buzz about how dumb Nonis is with his moves so Leiweke was forced to make it looks like he is doing something. And so the move to bring Shanny.

This is another disaster. And I blame and hold accountable all you advanced stats folks for perpetuating the disaster of our team. The upcoming losses are on you.

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#7 Everything Leafs
April 11 2014, 08:07AM
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WesterDP wrote:

I see it positive as it changes the "Stanley Cup" portion of the argument between Carlyle and Nonis.

Nonis: Randy, I want you to improve your defensive systems and give more of a chance to our younger players from the Marlies. The Marlies won their division and some of them are pretty good.

Carlyle: Trust me...I know what I'm doing. I won a Stanley Cup with veterans and toughness. How many Cups have you won?

Shannahan: I won three Stanley Cups, improve your defensive systems and stop playing Colton Orr over our prospects or you're going to get fired.

Kessel with sarcasm : Good one Randy, good one...

Best comment....ever! Still laughing out loud!

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#8 Martin
April 11 2014, 10:20AM
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The best thing about Shanahan is the nine years he spent in Detroit. He is a smart guy and I hope he uses the Detroit standard as the model for the Leafs. It will be interesting to see who he hires. I wonder if he has already called Kris Draper. The Red Wings do a great job of developing not only players but also front office talent. Word is the Wings are high on Draper, now in his third year working in Detroit's front office. If you see Shanahan bring in people like Draper, great news for the Leafs.

Chicago has implemented the Detroit management model - and now perhaps are even better than the Wings. I hope that this is the direction we see. I am willing to wait.

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#9 John Lofranco
April 11 2014, 11:27AM
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Justin Fisher wrote:

Except that the Leafs didn't have a president and this hiring is technically "filling a hole".

By all means, you are probably right about this in the case of another Assistant GM but I don't think it applies here.

Fair enough. The more that comes out about him and his role, the better it looks.

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