UPDATED: Manny Malhotra named assistant coach of the Leafs

UPDATE: The Leafs have now confirmed that Manny Malhotra has been named an assistant coach for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Original Story:

The Maple Leafs shop local, and are apparently bring in a good Mississauga boy as an assistant coach to replace Paul McFarland who left the Leafs for a head coaching job with the Kingston Frontenacs.

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Malhotra was hired as a development coach by the Canucks in 2016 following his playing career, and was swiftly promoted to an assistant position in 2017, a role he has continued with through this season.

Malhotra had a long playing career with seven different teams, but is probably best known for his playing time in Vancouver. A strong defensive forward, Malhotra received some nods for the Selke during his career, and hopefully that is an element he can bring to his work with the Leafs.

David Singh has an excellent profile of Malhotra available on the Sportsnet site that goes into Manny’s playing days, his coaching approach, his career aspirations as well as how he is one of the few persons of colour behind the bench in the NHL. 

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Here’s a snippet:

When Canucks head coach Travis Green took over the team in 2017, he was given the option of keeping the coaches that were on staff or bringing in his own. He met with Malhotra and talked to different people about him and quickly learned of his discipline and confidence to voice his opinions in the right way. Green says his decision to retain Malhotra was one of the best he’s made and notes that he’s seen Malhotra evolve as a coach over the past few years. He’s been trying to find ways to give his “hungry” assistant more responsibilities, which hasn’t been an easy task because there’s only so much work to go around a staff.

Now, this begs the question, what of Bruce Boudreau who the Leafs were rumoured to be considering?

Well, Boudreau may make sense as an associate coach if he isn’t hired to Seattle or no one else comes knocking on the door with a job offer. He’s still an intriguing candidate that you’d like to see the Leafs use their financial resources to bring into the organization.

From a coaching standpoint, I can get where if the plan is for it to be Sheldon Keefe’s bench, that having a respected former NHL head coach breathing down his neck might be a little too much, especially in what is already a high pressure market. No one should blame him and ideally he should be involved in the assistant decision.

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Malhotra certainly points to the Leafs looking at a new direction. And given the success that the Canucks have had quickly under Travis Green, stealing someone from his staff seems like a huge get.