Maple Leafs News: Front Office Hirings, Jimmy Vesey and Jhonas Enroth

Over the past week, there have been some interesting bits of news coming from the Toronto Maple Leafs. In the midst of a full-scale rebuild, the Maple Leafs know that upgrading their front office and the coaching staff is essential if they want to succeed in the NHL today.

In this edition of Maple Leafs News, we’ll discuss two recent hirings for the front office staff, as well as the end of the Jimmy Vesey sweepstakes.

Maple Leafs Upgrade Front Office and Scouting

The Maple Leafs have arguably one of the best front office staffs in the entire NHL. Boasting names like Lou Lamoriello, Brendan Shanahan, Kyle Dubas and Mark Hunter, the Leafs have revamped their management team to better tackle the challenge of rebuilding the franchise correctly. Hunter was actually just promoted to assistant general manager and will now share roles with the aforementioned Dubas.

In this spirit, the Maple Leafs have made a couple of recent moves. The first was the hiring of Jordan Bean to be their new video analyst. It is an analytics move, something that has become more and more common with teams around the league. Bean has previously worked with the Guelph Storm and the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL.

He was also involved with Stathletes, the sports data-tracking company. This is the same company that gained some significant attention this summer when their co-founder, John Chayka, was hired to be the next general manager of the Arizona Coyotes. By all accounts, he has also had a very good start with his team.

The second move made by the Maple Leafs was bringing Tim Speltz into the fold. Speltz is now the former general manager of the Spokane Chiefs, a franchise based in the WHL. There is also an interesting Toronto connection through Mike Babcock. Speltz hired Babcock to coach the Chiefs way back in 1994.

The official job title that Speltz has accepted is Director of Western Area Scouting. He will use his years of knowledge and experience as a general manager and member of Hockey Canada in order to scout potential prospects and players in the NHL, AHL and WHL.

The Maple Leafs have a unique ability that many franchises don’t possess. They are willing and able to spend money in order to greatly enhance their management and coaching staff, which in turn should benefit the next generation of players who will be wearing the blue and white. These are good, smart moves by the Leafs.

Jimmy Vesey Watch Is Finally Over

Teams and fans have been waiting for the decision for months now. Everything can now be put to bed because Jimmy Vesey is not a Toronto Maple Leaf. The big forward opted to go with the New York Rangers, a team many thought weren’t heavily in the running.

Jimmy Vesey
Newly signed New York Ranger, Jimmy Vesey (Photo by Gil Talbot)

Vesey made it clear he was going to test the waters of free agency and he did exactly that. Many teams were able to meet with the former Harvard forward to pitch to him why their team was the best fit. Despite some impressive pitches from Toronto and others, Vesey made the final decision that will send him to the Big Apple.

The Rangers are an interesting team. They have a lot of young talent that is looking to take over from the older guard of players. Vesey will fit alongside the likes of Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan and Kevin Hayes. Don’t forget names like Russian forward, Pavel Buchnevich, young defenseman, Brady Skjei  or the freshly traded for Mika Zibanejad.

Many people may be upset that the Leafs lost out on Vesey. Another way of looking at it is no harm, no foul. The Leafs made an excellent pitch by all accounts, so there’s no shame in that. On the plus side, not signing Vesey leaves open a spot in the forward corps for another young forward to fill. The Maple Leafs have a logjam of prospects who could fit that bill, so expect fierce competition knowing that a spot is potentially open.

Now that the bids for Vesey are over, the Maple Leafs can focus their attention on acquiring a backup goaltender to play behind new Leafs starter, Frederik Andersen.

They did exactly that by signing goaltender Jhonas Enroth to a one-year deal worth $750,000. The Swedish netminder has played for the Buffalo Sabres, Dallas Stars and Los Angeles Kings so far in his NHL career.

The season is fast approaching and there is still a great deal of work to be done, but the Maple Leafs currently appear to be in a good place.