In case you missed the news earlier today, the Seattle Kraken made history today by announcing the hiring of their first head coach in franchise history Dave Hakstol.
The 52 year old Hakstol was hired by the Kraken today after two seasons serving as an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Of course, he was also head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers for three seasons from 2015-2018. Prior to his hiring in Philly Hakstol was head coach of the illustrious University of North Dakota for 11 seasons.
With the Leafs, Hakstol was primarly responsible for the team's defensive corps and worked to match defensive pairings with offensive opponents during gameplay. The Leafs finished the 2020-21 regular season as the fifth best team in the NHL for preventing shots on goal and scoring chances. With Hakstol's departure from the Leafs today there's now a gaping hole on the team's coaching staff.
Sheldon Keefe, of course, is the team's head coach and assistants Manny Malhotra and Paul MacLean share duties equally, but the team still has a need for an offensively minded coach, specifically one who can help them on the powerplay. Enter: Bruce Boudreau.
Boudreau, the longtime veteran NHL head coach, has been open about his desire to get back into the NHL and has specifically appealed to the Maple Leafs for a position. Now, there are finally reports out there saying that Boudreau is in contention for the job. You may recall that the Leafs were close to hiring Boudreau last offseason before ultimately electing to pry Malhotra away from the Vancouver Canucks.
Frankly, I think Boudreau would be a fantastic fit for the Leafs. Sure they already have a couple "players' coaches" in Keefe and Malhotra, but Boudreau's history can't be denied. Wherever he goes he gets results and he manages to get as much offensive power out of his teams as is possible. Because he doesn't bring the "fire and brimstone" approach though, I could see Leafs GM Kyle Dubas and President Brendan Shanahan going in another direction. If Mike Babcock were still behind the bench in Toronto I think Boudreau would be the right choice as an assistant. As their current staff looks though, it's difficult to see Boudreau adding anything that they don't already have. Stay tuned.