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Brendan Shanahan’s plan for the Leafs in progress

From the Globe and Mail's James Mirtle:

Two years after Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment made a controversial bet on Shanahan – who had never worked for an NHL team in any capacity – what he will say is that he feels the Leafs are ahead of where he expected them to be.

He has a top coach in Mike Babcock, with a Stanley Cup and Olympic-gold pedigree. He has an experienced general manager in his 73-year-old mentor Lou Lamoriello, working on transactions. He has an up-and-coming executive in Kyle Dubas, managing the minor leagues (where the Toronto Marlies finished at the top of the standings), a renowned bird dog in director of player personnel in Mark Hunter and a cap guru in Brandon Pridham.

After the weekend, Shanahan also has 18-year-old wunderkind Auston Matthews, the projected star centre the Leafs selected first overall at the entry draft in Buffalo.

It’s a start.

“I had an idea before I even accepted the job of what needed to happen in Toronto,” Shanahan said in a wide-ranging conversation with The Globe and Mail about the rebuild the Leaf organization is undergoing. “But because I’ve gotten support [from ownership], things have fallen into place a little bit quicker. Other people have bought into it and come aboard.

“In each of my [hiring] meetings – whether it’s been with Mike Babcock or Lou Lamoriello or Kyle Dubas, Mark Hunter, Brandon Pridham – my approach has been honesty. ‘This is who we are. We need your help. We have a long way to go.’ But I like some of the early signs. And we’ve had some luck, obviously, with the lottery draft. It was nice to have a little bit of luck on our side, as well.”

Continued

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brendan+shanahan, kyle+dubas, lou+lamoriello, mike+babcock, toronto+maple+leafs

Comments

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The “Shanaplan” is off to a good start and the approach they are trying to take is the right one. However, that was probably the easy part.

As each season passes there will be more pressure but they must stick to the plan. Just because the team might look ahead of schedule at any moment doesn’t mean you start bumping the timeline and start adding veterans instead of continuing the build process. It’s easy to fall into the trap that a team is just a player or two away when the roster is still too young to really make the next step.

It’ll be interesting to see who is really in control when the Leafs start having decent success again. The choices now are easy (ie who should we pick #1) but no so much when a team becomes a real contender (do we add a veteran piece when we know it will hamper youth development, is a quality backup goalie worth more than a solid penalty killer)

Is this day and age things CAN turn around quick with the right management in place. But the goal in Toronto should be to create a franchise that competes every year. That take commitment and a bit of luck.

Posted by evileye on 06/27/16 at 09:59 AM ET

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Shanahan and Babcock are still on their honeymoon with Leaf media and fans.  This year should turn the tide,  I think media and fans will go Postal if they don’t make the playoffs.

Posted by jhpcarrier97 on 06/27/16 at 05:25 PM ET

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Shanahan and Babcock are still on their honeymoon with Leaf media and fans.  This year should turn the tide,  I think media and fans will go Postal if they don’t make the playoffs.

That’s an awful short honeymoon and if Leaf fans are going to get all twisted if they don’t make the playoffs this year, it’s just further proof that they really don’t support the plan or understand it.

Sure, they may make the playoffs next spring, but expecting it so soon is more than a bit premature. A team rarely goes from dead last to playoffs in one season. A more realistic expectation would probably be 2019 playoffs.

Posted by evileye on 06/28/16 at 08:51 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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