The Toronto Maple Leafs were rumoured to make changes to their assistant coaches anyways, but the Ottawa Senators have forced their hand naming now-former Leafs assistant coach D.J. Smith as their new head coach.
Welcome to Ottawa, D.J.! Bienvenue!
News Release: Ottawa Senators name D.J. Smith head coach: https://t.co/jubv1CDahH
— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) May 23, 2019
Making his NHL coaching debut with the Leafs in the 2015-16 season, Smith has been reportedly in charge of the defensive side of the game for Toronto.
Both the defence and penalty kill were on the weaker side of where the Leafs were successful, ranking towards the bottom of the league in general defensive metrics. While the penalty kill was essentially just league average.
He won the Memorial Cup in the spring of 2015 with the Oshawa Generals, praised for his suppressing of the Connor McDavid Erie Otters on their way to the OHL championship.
As for the Leafs, they will need to now find a new assistant coach — whether that will be upcoming coaching candidate Sheldon Keefe or a coach from a different organization, there will be a new face behind the bench to start the 2019-20 season.