Two names linked to Maple Leafs as candidates for coaching change.

Very interesting names connected to Toronto.

HockeyFeed

The Toronto Maple Leafs suffered an unexpected loss behind the bench when the Seattle Kraken announced, to the surprise of many, that Toronto Maple Leafs assistant coach Dave Hakstol had been hired to become the first head coach in the history of the Kraken franchise. The move came as a surprise due to the fact that several high profile names had been linked to the Kraken in the weeks and months leading up to the announcement, names like Mike BabcockJoel QuennevilleGerard GallantRick Tocchet and more, with Hakstol seemingly not being of the same pedigree.

The Leafs have now been left to search for a new coach of their own after being forced into an offseason coaching change behind the bench and there are already some rumblings about two candidates that could potentially make the shortlist. One of the names on that list is that of the aforementioned Rick Tocchet, the former head coach of the Arizona Coyotes. Tocchet has long had a reputation for being particularly effective at dealing with difficult player personalities, notably players like former Toronto Maple Leafs star forward Phil Kessel, and would bring a wealth of experience behind the Leafs bench if he were to be selected and if he were to accept the position.

The other name comes from recent comments made by NHL insider Elliotte Friedman in which he reveals that the Leafs may be targeting someone on the coaching staff of the Montreal Canadiens team that just made a run to the Stanley Cup Final. Friedman revealed that assistant coach Luke Richardson, who did an excellent job filling in as head coach in the middle of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, would also be a name that would make sense for the Maple Leafs to inquire about in the offseason. Friedman was clear to qualify this statement by adding that this would only be the case of Richardson becomes available following his strong performance behind the bench in the playoffs, and at the time of this writing we don't know what the future will hold for either Richardson or for current Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme moving forward.

Do either of these names appeal to you? Would you prefer one over the other? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.