When an NHL team is selecting a player, they hope that player becomes important to that team. Whether it be as an offensive producer, a great defender or high-end goalie, teams hope their picks will be remembered.
Now, the Toronto Maple Leafs have had many of those players drafted. However, they have found a way to select players that would be remembered, not just for their playing days. The Leafs have had tremendous success picking players that would go on to become either coaches or general managers. I’m sure other teams have drafted players like that, but the Leafs’ total is just crazy.
Let’s take a look at the coaches they have drafted.
Rick Ley, 1966
Ley spent time as assistant coach with the Hartford Whalers, Vancouver Canucks and the team that drafted him, the Maple Leafs. He was the head coach of both the Whalers and Canucks in his stints with those teams. His last coaching job ended when John Ferguson Jr. cleaned house after the 2005-06 season with the Leafs.
Ron Low, 1970
After 13 seasons in the NHL, Low became the assistant coach of the Edmonton Oilers in 1989. He kept that job until 1995 when he became the head coach, lasting five seasons in that job. He was the head coach of the New York Rangers for two seasons, starting with the 2001-02 season. His most recent coaching job was as the Ottawa Senators goalie coach from 2005-2007.
Rick Kehoe, 1971
One of the best players on this list, Kehoe has spent most of his professional career with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He was an assistant coach of the Penguins from 1987 all the way up to the 2001-02 season, when he became the head coach mid-season. He would hold that job for just one more season before being let go.
Doug Jarvis, 1975
Splitting his playing career with the Montreal Canadiens, Washington Capitals and the Whalers. He has never been a head coach in the NHL, but has been an assistant for all but a few seasons since 1988. He has split his time with the Minnesota North Stars/Dallas Stars, Canadiens and the Boston Bruins, where he still holds the job.
Bruce Boudreau, 1975
The first player on this list to still be a current head coach in the NHL. Spending most of his career with the Maple Leafs, He only played 141 games in the NHL. Since then he has been the head coach of the Washington Capitals and, currently, the Anaheim Ducks.
Ron Wilson, 1975
Leafs fans will remember this guy. He played parts of seven seasons in the NHL split between the Maple Leafs and the North Stars. He was an assistant coach of the Canucks for three seasons starting in 1990. Since then, he has been a head coach with the Ducks, Capitals, the San Jose Sharks and the Maple Leafs.
Randy Carlyle, 1976
This is almost too much of a coincidence. The Leafs replaced Wilson with a coach that they had drafted just one year after they had drafted Wilson. One of the few players on this list to play over 1,000 NHL games, Carlyle began his NHL coaching career as an assistant with the Capitals, lasting two seasons. He became the head coach of the Ducks in 2005, leading them to the Stanley Cup in 2007. After being fired in the 2011-12 season, he quickly found a new job with the Leafs. Of course, he was let go after this season.
John Anderson, 1977
Anderson had a lengthy NHL career, playing 814 games, mostly with the Maple Leafs. He had a relatively short NHL-coaching career though as he spent two seasons as the Atlanta Thrashers head coach and another two as an assistant with the Phoenix Coyotes.
Not the biggest name out on this list, Sommer only played three games in the NHL. He spent two seasons as an assistant in San Jose from 1996 to 1998 and has been the head coach of their AHL affiliate ever since.
Joel Quenneville, 1978
The best coach on this list, Quenneville is third in coaching wins in NHL history. What’s more amazing is that he has done it splitting his time with the St. Louis Blues, the Colorado Avalanche and the Chicago Blackhawks. He has won two Stanley Cups with Chicago.
Jeff Reese, 1984
Reese, a goalie during his playing career, has mostly been a goalie coach during his coaching career. He was let go by the Philadelphia Flyers after this season ended for them. However, he did spend five seasons as an assistant coach with the Tampa Bay Lightning previously.
Jack Capuano, 1984
Capuano only played six NHL games in his career, split between the Leafs, Canucks and Bruins. He has lasted far longer with the New York Islanders organization, beginning his tenure as an assistant coach in 2005-06. After that season, he became the head coach of their AHL affiliate in Bridgeport for four seasons. He became the head coach of the Islanders in 2010 and has held the job since, providing the team some consistency behind the bench.
Luke Richardson, 1987
Richardson is an up-and-coming coach. He spent three seasons as an assistant with Ottawa starting in 2009 and has been the head coach of their AHL affialiate in Binghamton for the past three seasons. He’ll decide if he ever wants to leave Binghamton, because he’ll certainly receive offers.
Joe Sacco, 1987
Sacco played 738 games in the NHL, playing for five different teams. He began his coaching career in the NHL as the head coach in Colorado, a post he held for four seasons, ending in 2013. He has since been an assistant for the Buffalo Sabres and Boston.
Peter DeBoer, 1988
The last head coach on this list, DeBoer turned a successful junior head coaching into an NHL coaching job. He was the head coach of the Florida Panthers from the 2008-2011. He then became the head coach of the New Jersey Devils, a post he held until midway through this season.
Darby Hendrickson, 1990
Hendrickson played just over 500 games in the NHL, playing for the Maple Leafs, Canucks, Minnesota Wild and the Avalanche. After returning from playing overseas, he became an assistant coach for one of his former teams, the Wild. He still holds the position.
Gerry Meehan, 1963
In the very first NHL Amateur Draft, the Leafs final pick would go on to be one of the important figures in Buffalo Sabres history. Meehan became an assistant general manager in Buffalo in 1984, under Scotty Bowman. The next year, Bowman stepped down and Meehan replaced him. As general manager of the Sabres, he brought players like Pierre Turgeon, Alexander Mogilny, Dale Hawerchuk, Pat LaFontaine and Dominik Hasek to the Sabres.
Ken Holland, 1975
Yeah, one of the best general managers in the history of the NHL was drafted by the Leafs. Too bad they couldn’t hang onto him during his playing career. Maybe they could have had a chance of him being in Toronto right now.
Jim Benning, 1981
After being a scout for Anaheim and Buffalo, Benning became an assistant general manager with the Bruins in 2006. He would hold that job until being named the general manger in Vancouver in 2014.
So who knows? Maybe one of the players the Leafs draft this season will go on to become a coach or general manager in the NHL one day.