In keeping with the “out of the box” thinking that is going on at MLSE these days in how to rebuild the hockey team, and with the “proof in the pudding” of recent goaltender signings attributed to the wealth of knowledge Francois Allaire brings to the table in his capacity as Goalie Coach/Consultant, is it time to go a step further? Would the hiring of a “Forward Coach/Consultant” bring any value in trying to sign UFA’s, RFA’s and/or College FA’s?
Let’s think about this for a minute. Three goalie prospects and a veteran netminder have either signed or waived their no-trade clause (of their own free will) in order to come to the Leafs. While a beautiful city, the teams performance combined with the pressure of the Toronto media, it’s not exactly a selling point for many prospects choosing to come to MLSE; consider now that a Swede and a Finn have come across the ocean for a chance to fulfill their NHL dream, with many other suitors with less goaltending depth being passed over in order to sign here. Does the impact of having a top notch goalie consultant on the payroll really mean that much?
Now let’s consider a top name in the organization that can mentor the young forwards, teach them about face-offs and positioning in the offensive and defensive zones. Someone who will spend hours after practice feeding one-timers and offering advice on how they can prepare themselves for life in the NHL. Would this add value? Would this make Toronto the “place to be” for young forwards?
Who do you hire for this newly created position? A former leader of the team? Someone well respected in the NHL? A former player only? I’m going to throw some names out just for fun…not necessarily open to the role based on their personal or professional committments/availability, but some names for discussion nonetheless:
1) Mats Sundin (an obvious candidate)
2) Wendel Clark
3) Doug Gilmour
4) Lanny McDonald
5) Jonas Hoglund (just kidding!)
Or go a little further outside that box…
6) Wayne Gretzky…he’s available, but no doubt a long shot.
7) Pat Lafontaine
8 ) Steve Larmer
9) Guy Lafleur
10) Pavel Bure
What do you think? Am I crazy? Is there some merit to this?
Assuming you think it’s a good idea, who would be #1 on your list for Forward Coach on the Leafs and/or your favourite team?
Our lines are open…
About the Author
Written by Mike De Petrillo
Leafs fan; former OHL LW; Live in Toronto