Not long after it was announced that former Leafs assistant coach DJ Smith would be taking over the bench in Ottawa, Elliotte Friedman had another interesting tidbit of information to share:
With DJ Smith’s move to OTT and expectation that Jim Hiller will be going elsewhere too, there are openings on the TOR bench. One is expected to be filled by Paul McFarland. He coached the Panthers No. 2-ranked PP last season
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) May 23, 2019
The tweet says it pretty outright, but this would be a great look for the Leafs. After the Panthers cleared the bench to make way for Joel Quenneville and his staff, McFarland was an interesting young name hitting the market. The 31-year old served on the Panthers bench for two years, and after coaching the 16th-ranked Power Play in the NHL in 2017-18, he coached the Panthers’ 26.77% success-rate Power Play in 2018-19.
With the Leafs struggling to produce with the man advantage in the back half of the last season, and with special teams being a key difference-maker in their first-round loss to the Boston Bruins, a pick-up like McFarland would surely be to the Leafs’ benefit.