Toronto Maple Leafs: Best Coaching Replacements for the Team

Mark ColvinCorrespondent IApril 1, 2017

Toronto Maple Leafs: Best Coaching Replacements for the Team

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    The Toronto Maple Leafs had a great start to the NHL season but are slowly starting to show glaring weaknesses that need to be addressed. One of these issues is their coaching, or lack thereof. 

    Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke needs to fire Ron Wilson and replace him with someone capable of taking this team to the next level. There are no more excuses that Wilson does not have the talent to win, as the Leafs are very deep in all positions.

    This is a follow-up slideshow to my previous article "Why Ron Wilson Must Be Removed."

    Here is a look at five potential head coach replacements.

Marc Crawford

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    Everyone in the hockey community knows Marc Crawford. He coached the Colorado Avalanche to a Stanley Cup in 1996 and also coached in LA, Vancouver and, most recently, Dallas.   

    The guy has pedigree, and he would surely be able to handle the pressure of playing in Toronto. The only question marks would be about his coaching style and if he could adapt to the modern NHL game. 

    The guy has over 500 wins as a coach—what more can you ask for? (Oh whoops, so does Ron Wilson.)

Craig MacTavish

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    The guy is currently coaching in the AHL? Where did things go so wrong?

    MacTavish had an impressive NHL career and followed it up with a long tenure as the coach of the Edmonton Oilers. I would say he did a standup job there, but he struggled to find a job shortly thereafter. After a short stint as an analyst on TSN, MacTavish is eager to get back coaching.

    Pull this guy out of the AHL and onto the Leafs' bench.

John Hynes

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    An off-the-board pick.

    Hynes is currently the head coach of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Pittsburgh's AHL affiliate club. The team was the top of the AHL all season last year, dominating league play and looks to be doing the same this year.

    He has a history with USA Hockey and USA Hockey's National Team Development Program, which puts him on Brian Burke's radar. He also has history coaching in the NCAA, which is where Burke has looked to for coaches this past summer, picking up Northeastern University's head coach Greg Cronin.

    The guy is a stud leader, the type of guy players will work hard for. Maybe if he doesn't have the credentials to be the head coach right away, bring him in as an assistant to work his way up.

Dallas Eakins

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    Currently the head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs' AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies. 

    He has been noted as an excellent teacher and is great with young hockey players. Eakins is responsible for the progression made by many former Marlies players who are now on the big club, and he continues to produce top-quality talent for the team.

    Hiring from within the organization is a strong quality to have within the organization. This is because he is already familiar with the organization, management and team. He would make a great coach for the current young Leafs squad. 

Barry Trotz

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    I am completely aware that he is currently employed in the NHL.

    This is OK. It hasn't stopped us before.

    Barry Trotz is the most underrated coach in the league and, in my mind, he is the best. He has been the coach of the Nashville Predators since their inaugural '98-'99 season. For years he has worked with nothing (player talent-wise) but continues to put out quality teams on the ice. Nashville operates extremely low under the cap, but they still achieve considerable success because Trotz gets the most out of his players.

    Imagine what he could do with a team that uses the whole salary cap.  

    Toronto possess a new challenge for Trotz, as it is the biggest coaching job in the game. Toronto is the mecca of hockey, and anyone who is passionate about the game would be honoured to take up duty here.

    He has had a good run in Nashville, but it is time he coaches in a city where the hockey actually matters. Brian Burke needs to throw boat loads of cash at this guy to peel him out of Tennessee.

    This is the player's coach Toronto needs.

Conclusion

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    The Leafs will inevitably make a coaching change relatively soon, and when they do, one of these guys should be hired.

    Each brings a different dimension to the table, one that is very much lacked within the current Leafs coaching staff. A new coach could be the last puzzle piece to take this franchise to the next level. 

    Until the change is made, the fans will have to keep suffering the painstaking challenge of watching Ron Wilson coach and embarrass himself, night in and night out. 

    Anyone not on the list that you think should be the next Maple Leafs coach?