Why Doug Gilmour Could Be A Future Coach of the Maple Leafs

Although this speculation may be rather farfetched, after hearing a room full of scouts discussing the topic at an Ontario Hockey League game, it got me thinking about the “what if?”

Former Leaf Doug Gilmour behind the bench of his hometown Ontario Hockey League team, the Kingston Frontenacs. Photo Courtesy Larry Coor

Although Doug Gilmour recently signed a five-year contract extension as head coach with the Kingston Frontenacs in July 2010, there have been recent stipulations that suggest an earlier than expected exit from the OHL club.

Leafs’ head coach Ron Wilson has been facing some criticism for his coaching tactics lately. When Gilmour gains more experience coaching, he would make for a perfect fit as the coach of his former NHL team.

Although Gilmour had a brief stint coaching the Toronto Marlies in 2008, his reason for leaving was simply to return to his roots and hometown of Kingston, Ontario to serve as the head coach of the OHL club. Gilmour’s relationship with the Leafs has remained positive, and his style of coaching and expectations of his players fit the bill to what Brian Burke wants in a hockey club.

It’s no surprise that “killer” is loved by fans across Leafs Nation, and what better way to generate some positive media for the club than have a fan favorite and long-time Leaf captain man the bench. At the same time, with people unimpressed of his current coaching track record, it could tarnish his reputation knowing the Toronto media.

Seeing Gilmour coach many games in the OHL has proven to me how passionate and knowledgeable Gilmour remains to be of his preferred sport, and although he has received some criticism in Kingston, there’s no question the energy he can bring to the table while coaching a team.

His first season with the Frontenacs was somewhat of a struggle as he took over the team in its rebuilding stage. But, in 2009-2010, he led the team to a second place finish in the OHL’s East Division with a record of 33-30-5, and has brought the club to a clinched playoff spot in the 2010-2011 season. They are currently sitting fifth in the Eastern Conference.

Gilmour’s great hockey personality enables him to identify with the players he coaches and he has helped develop some great talent while coaching Kingston.

Florida Panthers first round draft pick Erik Gudbranson commented that Gilmour’s coaching helped him regroup after a roller coaster start to the 2010-2011 season with the Panthers, where he was unable to reach a contract agreement with the club, and also prepare him for the 2011 World Junior tournament in Buffalo.

“Dougie is a great guy in the room, he’s very helpful and good with experience, and he’s shed a lot of light on situations like this for me,” Gudbranson told Meryem Ortanca in a December 2010 pre-World Junior interview. “He’s made it really easy for me to make transitions and stuff like that, and he’s built up my confidence to the point where I can come out here and play a good, solid game and I’m really happy with that.”

What Gilmour could bring to the table for the Toronto organization is not only his seasoned experience in the NHL, but his experience dealing with the Toronto media spotlight and serving as captain for many years in one of the hockey markets in the world. His Stanley Cup ring and playoff experience wouldn’t hurt the team either, who will definitely be pushing to make the playoffs for years to come.

His experience as assistant coach of the Marlies while also running the show as head coach in Kingston has surely given him a taste of what it’s like to have the responsibilities of a coach, but he still has a long way to go. Eventually, with the right staff under him, it might not be impossible.

Although this theory may be out of reach, it seems that many people who have known or worked with Gilmour see it as a possibility in the future.

 

Photo used under Creative Commons, courtesy http://www.flickr.com/photos/larrycoor/

 

 

 

Jeff Blay
Journalism grad from St. Catharines, ON, Canada. Newfoundland heritage. Passionate about hockey whether it's junior or pro. News junkie and literature fanatic. Sun Media Reporter, The Hockey News intern, former Media Relations with the Ontario Hockey League's (OHL) Niagara IceDogs, contribute to an OHL radio show called In the O Radio (www.intheoradio.com), and write prospect features for Andy Strickland's TrueHockey.com. Follow @JeffBlay on Twitter.

3 Comments

  1. 46 years a fan says:

    Absolutely. Go with a winner to build a winner, the way he built the best team in toronto since 1966-67. Toronto has a storied past of good ol boys and smoozzers who never actually did squat. Tired of watching losers command the leafs. Doug is a true winner, he’s been there and almost brought it to toronto in 93. He’s the right man for the job.

  2. hi there doug my name is nick cerra and you were and still are a big inspiration to me. when you came to toronto from calgary i was absolutely flabergasted, definately the best leaf that time and still when you moved on to jersey, montreal, chiocago, buffalo. but when you came back to t.o. i was extremely happy. and then devasted when the injury happened. to me you are always a leaf! i would really like to see you become coach of our beloved leafs. you are the missing link to the stanley cup. i was hoping to have a pic of you, if you have the time to send one. (email for address). thanks very much and all the best in whatever you do. but to me you deserve to be behind the leafs bench. i know it is going to happen. thanks and god bless

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