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MAPLE LEAFS HIRE FORMER STANLEY CUP, JACK ADAMS WINNER PAUL MACLEAN

The Toronto Maple Leafs have added a wealth of experience to the coaching staff with Friday's announcement that the team has hired former Jack Adams award winner and Stanley Cup champion Paul MacLean to act as an assistant coach on Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe's coaching staff.

The news comes a week after the Leafs had hired former Vancouver Canucks assistant Manny Malhotra to replace the departed Paul McFarland, who has accepted a head coaching position with the Kingston Frontenacs earlier this year.

MacLean had spent last season as an assistant coach with the Columbus Blue Jackets, who recently handed the Leafs their fourth consecutive early postseason exit, much to the dismay of Leafs' faithful.

His Stanley Cup championship came in 2008, when he was a member of the Detroit Red Wings coaching staff under former Leafs head coach Mike Babcock, while his Jack Adams came in the 2012-13 season with the Ottawa Senators. MacLean had also been a finalist for the award just one season prior.

Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe has nothing but respect and admiration for his newly appointed assistant coach, which is evident in the statement he made following Friday's announcement.

"Over nearly two decades as an NHL coach, Paul has filled every role on a coaching staff, winning a Stanley Cup and Jack Adams trophy along the way," said Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe. "Adding someone of Paul's expertise and character to advise and assist our staff is something that we felt was very important as we seek to make tangible steps next season."

The Maple Leafs face a very important offseason ahead as they look to regroup after a disappointing 2019-20 campaign in which the club was expected to take a big step forward in the postseason.



Whether the additions of Malhotra and MacLean will be enough to get this team over the hump remains to be seen, but GM Kyle Dubas is far from finished tinkering after adding some quality hockey minds to Sheldon Keefe's coaching staff.

The next step for the Buds is addressing roster needs between now and the start of the 2020-21 season, whenever that may be. The Leafs are expected to take a long look at prized UFA defenseman and Stanley Cup champion Alex Pietrangelo should he make it to market on October 9th, if not sooner with all the rumours of a potential sign-and-trade being on the table.

MIKE ARMENTI
SEPTEMBER 25, 2020  (14H35)