Leafs Confirm Smith, Hiller, Brewer, and Herring Hirings

Jon Steitzer
June 16 2015 03:25PM

The earlier information from Damien Cox has now been confirmed by the Leafs, and the team now has three new assistant coaches and a new Strength and Conditioning Coach. 

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Leafs to Hire D.J. Smith

Jon Steitzer
June 16 2015 08:32AM


Yesterday there was a report circulating that the Leafs had offered D.J. Smith an assistant coaching gig with the Leafs. This morning Damien Cox is reporting that it's all but certain that Smith will be accepting that role.

The fact that Cox is reporting the term is a good sign that this is actually happening. What is also interesting is that apparently Jim Hiller is all but confirmed as well. More from Cox after the jump

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Top 5 Former Mike Babcock players that the Leafs could target

Jon Steitzer
June 16 2015 07:00AM

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Photo Credit: Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports

In the three weeks since he became the head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs - it still feels good, doesn't it - we haven’t seen a single public action or comment (aside from the lengthy introductory press conference) from Mike Babcock, but undoubtedly he’s a big part of the discussions that are leading into the biggest player transaction period of the year.

There aren't any specific rumours floating around in the ether involving Babcock's former charges, but it's frequently observed that in sports, and in all industries and walks of life, familiarity can be a decisive factor when it comes to personnel decisions. While Babcock pulling Niklas Lidstrom out of retirement, or magically poaching Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Nyquist, and Kronwall would help the Maple Leafs, I can’t shake the feeling that it's not a realistic possibility. On the flip side, I also doubts that Babcock is still looking to drain the last hockey from Dan Cleary’s bones.. 

With those players off the table, here’s a list of five former Babcock players whom the Maple Leafs could be looking to target this offseason.

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First Round Targets: Joel Eriksson Ek

Jon Steitzer
June 15 2015 10:00AM

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He may be Swedish but to me he's all finish.

Disclaimer: I fully admit to having a bias towards any 17 or 18 year old kid who manages to earn a regular shift in one of the European Elite Leagues. That’s one of the reasons why I had Nylander ranked third last year, and that’s why I am falling hard for Joel Eriksson Ek this year.

I will kill any direct comparisons of the two players right now, by saying that Eriksson Ek is not on the same talent level as Nylander. What Eriksson lacks in high end offensive talent, he makes up for with being a center you’d be happy to have on the ice in any situation.

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First Round Targets: Thomas Novak

Jon Steitzer
June 11 2015 03:00PM

For the second time in our First Round Target series we visit the bustling metropolis of Waterloo, Iowa. Justin Fisher profiled the Waterloo Blackhawk’s high scoring winger, Brock Boeser, now we’ll take a look at even more all over the board playmaking center, Thomas Novak.

Novak’s committed to the University of Minnesota next season and certainly isn’t a risk for jumping into the NHL right away, so you can count on him attending. He would provide the Leafs with the opportunity to develop a playmaking center through one of the better NCAA hockey programs, and that may be necessary since although he’s highly touted, Novak also looks like he has some areas still in need of development.

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