Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Malgin, Gardiner, Subban, Marlies Coaches

In this edition of Toronto Maple Leafs’ News & Rumors, I’ll share news that Denis Malgin is returning home to Switzerland to play. Second, I’ll take a look at former Maple Leafs’ defenseman Jake Gardiner, who’s still suffering from back problems that hobbled him during his last season in Toronto.

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Third, I’ll share a rumor that the Maple Leafs have asked the New Jersey Devils about defenseman P.K. Subban. Finally, I’ll share information about two new Toronto Marlies’ coaching hires.

Item One: Denis Malgin Returns Home to Play in Switzerland

On Monday, the Swiss Hockey News reported that Denis Malgin had signed a four-year contract to join the ZSC Lions of Switzerland’s National League. Malgin had spent the 2020-21 season on a loan to Lausanne HC.

During his time with Lausanne, Malgin scored 19 goals and 23 assists (for 42 points) in 45 regular-season games. He also scored two goals and an assist in four playoff contests.  

Item Two: Jake Gardiner’s Surgery Will Force Him to Miss the 2021-22 Season 

For Maple Leafs’ fans who try to keep track of former Toronto players, there was news out of Carolina that defenseman Jake Gardiner was going to have hip and back surgeries and isn’t expected to play this season. According to Hurricanes’ general manager Don Waddell, Gardiner would have surgery and, after the damage was analyzed, a timetable would be set for his recovery. 

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Those who know Gardiner’s history with the Maple Leafs should not be surprised he dealt with back problems last season. During his last season with the Maple Leafs, he missed several games with similar back issues and played hurt much of the time.

Jake Gardiner, Toronto Maple Leafs
Jake Gardiner, when he played for the Toronto Maple Leafs (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

During the 2020-21 season, Gardiner totalled only eight assists in 26 games. Being a Gardiner fan, I’m sorry to see him suffer from injuries. However, there’s a financial benefit for the Hurricanes. The fact that he’ll go on long-term injured reserve helps mediate the Hurricane’s salary cap situation following the hefty offer sheet recently signed by former Montreal Canadiens’ Jesperi Kotkaniemi. 

Item Three: Any Truth to Rumors about P.K. Subban and the Maple Leafs?

In a quick note, I came across a rumor that suggested the Maple Leafs had shown interest in New Jersey Devils’ defenseman P.K. Subban (the 2013 Norris Trophy winner).

P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadiens
P.K. Subban when he was with the Montreal Canadiens (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Specifically, to quote Jimmy Murphy from Boston Hockey Now, “Multiple NHL sources have confirmed to BHN and NHN that the Boston Bruins, on more than one occasion, have explored what it would take to acquire Subban and at the same time convince the New Jersey Devils to eat at least half of the $9 million cap hit he carries in the final season of his current contract. The Toronto Maple Leafs have also expressed ‘more than lukewarm interest’ in the 2013 Norris Trophy Winner.”

Item Four: Toronto Marlies Hire New Goalie Coach

​​The Toronto Marlies made two coaching hires yesterday according to Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun. One of those moves was to add Hannu Toivonen as the goalie coach.

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Toivonen’s name might be familiar. He was chosen during the first round of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft (29th overall) and played 61 NHL games between 2005 and 2008. He continued to play overseas and in the minors, finally retiring in 2019. Talk about well-travelled. ​​During his career, he played for 17 different teams all over the world.  

Toivonen found his first job as a goalie coach with the University of New England last season. Working with the Marlies will be his first professional coaching job. It will be interesting to see if he can help turn around the Maple Leafs’ fortunes with young goalie prospects that include Joseph Woll, Ian Scott, Erik Kallgren, and the recently-signed Keith Petruzzelli.

I’m quite sure that, after the social media backlash over the hiring and quick firing of Jack Campbell’s former-mentor Dusty Imoo, the Maple Leafs’ organization did its due diligence on Toivonen. No organization wants to make too many big mistakes that close together.

Item Four: Did the Marlies Hire Another Wunderkind in Troy Paquette?

Watching the Maple Leafs’ coaching hires and speculating about what the organization is thinking is an interesting pastime. The second hiring alluded to above was that the Marlies hired a new young video coach in Troy Paquette. This former goalie is new in the coaching circles at just 25 years old. 

Interestingly, as a former goalie, Paquette never played above the junior level. The last time he suited up in a game was in 2015-16. However, this season will be Paquette’s fourth as a video coach. He’s worked with the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs for three seasons and also was goalie coach for Queen’s University the past two seasons. Interesting, the focus on the Marlies’ goalies.

What’s Next for the Maple Leafs?

I have to admit that I’m anxious for the Maple Leafs’ training camp to begin. The key roster spots I’ll be watching are both left-wing positions in the top-six. The more I read about Michael Bunting, the more interested I am watching to see if he can develop with this team.  

Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Matthews, Marner, Nylander & Amirov

I know many readers are pessimistic about the season; however, I just can’t bring myself to go there. Call me naive, I guess. But, I’m good to get the regular season started again. There are so many young players that I’m anxious to watch.

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