Toronto Maple Leafs President Brendan Shanahan isn’t fooling around.
Yesterday, Shanahan hired Brandon Pridham, who had been working as senior director of central scouting and the central registry for the NHL. Pridham will become an assistant GM in charge of the salary cap, contract negotiations, etc.
A great hire. A man with superb experience.
But that’s not the interesting part.
Shanahan shocked the hockey world by hiring analytics-friendly Kyle Dubas as an assistant GM in late July while yesterday he added Darryl Metcalf (creator of www.extraskater.com) and Cam Charron (an analytics expert who blogged/wrote about Vancouver-area sports).
The Metcalf hire was foreshadowed a little. Last week, the extraskater.com website went down without explanation. That was just as Brendan Shanahan announced that more front office hires were coming for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Not that anyone guessed that Metcalf was about to join the Leafs.
The hiring of Metcalf… would be a coup for the Leafs. Not only is his site one of the most respected in the hockey world, it’s also one of the most popular… for other NHL teams.
Sure, the job titles have yet to be determined. And no, Metcalf and Charron have no experience working for an NHL team, let alone the Toronto Maple Leafs.
But, the creation of an analytics department fronted by Dubas, Metcalf and Charron is a dramatic departure from a Toronto Maple Leafs front office that did not spend their analytics budget last season. Adding these smart, critical minds to the staff sure can’t hurt. Even if it only prevents other teams (and disgruntled bloggers) from accessing their stats online.
Like I said: Shanahan isn’t fooling around.