The busiest off-season in recent memory is almost over for the Toronto Maple Leafs. The proud franchise has made numerous moves that will reverberate throughout the organization in the near future and beyond. The Maple Leafs have now put all the correct pieces in place in their front office and management to assure that there will be a new and exciting culture change.
It started with the addition of Mike Babcock as the new head coach. That was followed by his assistants on the bench including D.J Smith, who won the most recent Memorial Cup with the Oshawa Generals, Andrew Brewer, who has done extensive work with Hockey Canada and Jim Hiller who has coached in both the WHL and the NHL with the Detroit Red Wings.
Then came the addition of Lou Lamoreillo from the New Jersey Devils. He will become the new Leafs general manager. Lamoriello’s influence and pedigree is well respected across the league and he brings a winning attitude to the organization. The latest move made by the Blue and White also involves a former Devils’ employee as the team has hired Jacques Lemaire as a special assignment coach.
What Does Jacques Lemaire Bring?
Lemaire brings with him a wealth of experience and a proven track record of winning when it counts. He is a former Montreal Canadiens forward who won an astounding eight Cups with the organization.
I have no idea what a Special Assignment Coach does, but pretty cool having Jacques Lemaire join an All-Star cast with the @MapleLeafs
— Gareth Wheeler (@GarethWheeler) August 14, 2015
After he retired, he went into coaching and worked the bench of the Canadiens, New Jersey Devils and Minnesota Wild. Through the years he also collected the Jack Adams award twice as the top coach. He also coached the Devils to a championship in 1995. Lemaire also won an Olympic gold medal with Team Canada and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1984.
Lemaire and his incredibly impressive resume will be an excellent addition to the Leafs revamped coaching staff.
Taking advantage of a 2nd chance. Devon Setoguchi says he's gone to rehab, been clean and sober for 5 months, close to signing with #leafs
— Glenn Campbell (@CTVGCampbell) August 11, 2015
Setoguchi is a former member of the Sharks, Wild, Jets and Flames. He had his best statistical NHL season in 2008-09 with the Sharks where he recorded 31 goals and 65 points in 81 games. If the Leafs are indeed planning on bringing him onboard, it will most likely follow their recent trend of one year deals.
In the recent past, they have found success and failure with such contracts. Mason Raymond was a success story and had a fantastic year. David Booth on the other hand, got injured and did not live up to the hype.
Setoguchi would be a good addition for the Leafs this year. He would be looking for a bounce back year and to get his career back on track. It also gives the Buds a buffer for their young and developing prospects. Setoguchi can fill a roster spot while they excel and continue to learn in the lower leagues.
As August continues to roll on, no deal has been signed as of yet. If something does get done, it will be a calculated gamble that you can be sure the Leafs have thought long and hard about.