With assistant coach Paul McFarland leaving the team at the end of the season, the Toronto Maple Leafs should look to hire Bruce Boudreau to replace him.
The Leafs hired the former Florida Panthers assistant coach for the 2019-20 season, where his main role was to run the team’s power play. Toronto is currently sixth in the NHL with a 23.1 per cent success rate with the man advantage.
It did not take long for people to consider candidates to replace McFarland and one name that goes right up to the top of the list is Bruce Boudreau. The 65-year-old was recently let go by the Minnesota Wild after spending time notably as the head coach of the Anaheim Ducks and Washington Capitals.
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Of course, there are many reasons why Boudreau would be an ideal fit for the Leafs beyond the fact that he is a Toronto native and used to play for the team. He would bring some much-needed experience to a coaching staff that doesn’t have a lot at the NHL level.
Sheldon Keefe is in his first season as an NHL head coach and assistant Dave Hakstol only has three and a half years from his time with the Philadelphia Flyers. What Boudreau would provide the Leafs beyond the necessary experience is someone who is motivated to get behind an NHL bench and could use the Leafs as a bridge opportunity.
Some will point to Boudreau’s lack of playoff success as a reason why he would not be a logical candidate for the Leafs and you wonder if he would ever want to be an assistant given his experience. There are several teams looking for permanent bench bosses next season like Calgary, New Jersey, Dallas, San Jose and Seattle, but it’s tough to say whether any of them are an ideal fit for him.
Out of the teams mentioned above, the Sharks and Stars would be the only ones that makes the most sense but even they have a tough road ahead of them. Joining the Leafs would probably be the only one that can give him a more sure bet to compete for the Stanley Cup that has eluded him for years.
Where the Leafs would benefit from adding Boudreau would be in their defensive play, considering the Wild and Ducks were strong defensive clubs under Boudreau and we know what he was able to do during his time with the Capitals.
It should also be noted that only Scotty Bowman and Jon Cooper have a better winning percentage with 500 or more games of experience from behind the bench than Boudreau.
Again, this might be a stretch considering the Leafs will have many different avenues to explore when it comes to hiring a new assistant. The other thing to consider is that Haktol runs the team’s penalty kill so unless the team can shuffle things around, it might not work as a fit in that regard.
Regardless, it wouldn’t hurt for the Leafs to get Boudreau’s opinion on the team’s current position and what he could offer to them.
Do you think the Leafs should look at replacing McFarland with Boudreau? Who else should the team consider as a potential replacement? Let us know in the comments below.