Toronto Maple Leafs: Search for General Manager and Head Coach Heating Up

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Toronto Maple Leafs: Search for General Manager and Head Coach Heating Up

Apr 13, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Toronto Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan talks to the press during a press conference at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Getting rid of the General Manager, coaching staff, and most of the scouting department was the easy part of Brendan Shanahan‘s plan to put the Toronto Maple Leafs back on track. However, finding the right people to replace Dave Nonis and Peter Horachek will be a tough task, and there has been no clear indication of when Shanahan wants those vacancies to be filled.

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It would be expected that finding a GM would be first on Shanahan’s to do list, because there is not much NHL experience in the Leafs front office. However there is one factor that may influence their decision on who they take as coach and GM. The NHL made a new policy that states if a coach, GM or president of hockey operations leaves whoever they are under contract with, (even if they were let go from that position) any new employer would have to give up a draft pick to the previous team. Where this plays in the Leafs hunt for their open vacancies, is that most of the rumored candidates for GM and head coach are currently employed with other teams. Names like Mike Futa, Jeff Gorton, Paul Fenton, Julien Brisebois, and Sean Burke fall under the compensation rule, where a draft pick would have to go to the team that they were previously with.

Jun 27, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; A general view of the complete draft board after the completion of the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The likelihood of the Leafs hiring one of the names mentioned above anytime soon is unlikely, because many of the potential candidates will not be given permission to leave until after the draft. What that means is it will probably be Shanahan, Mark Hunter, Kyle Dubas and Brandon Pridham, along with the scouting staff,  who will run the draft table. Hunter has been a busy person since joining the Leafs in late October. As the director of player personnel, he has the tough task of scouting and evaluating current and future players for the Leafs. Since joining the Leafs, he has attended many CHL and NCAA games in order to have a deep knowledge of the draft. He was in Oshawa during the OHL championship series, where he was asked about his plan for the draft. The Toronto Sun wrote about Hunter’s approach to the draft, where he had this to say about his scouting preparation.

"“I started (with the Leafs) late, didn’t I? I think it was late October,” Hunter said on Saturday of his hiring by team president Brendan Shanahan. “So, I’d have to say probably only about 200, if not a few less.”"

Next: The 411 on the GM Candidates