Leafs may poach a big-name coach to fill head coaching vacancy

Mike Armenti
May 12, 2024  (9:47)

Brad Treliving
Photo credit: Maple Leafs

The Maple Leafs' hunt for a new coach is on and TSN's Chris Johnston has identified two dark horses who could step in front of Craig Berube or Todd McLellan to steal the job.

Johnston appeared on TSN 1050's First Up on Saturday, confirming that while Berube and McLellan remain the two most likely candidates to come in and replace Sheldon Keefe at this point, he was not ready to exclude some of the more attractive names out there, such as Mike Sullivan and Rod Brind'Amour.
"I think that those conversations are probably happening a little bit. I mean, look, it might just be one phone call, right? You might be calling up Pittsburgh because there has been all these rumours and saying to Kyle [Dubas], 'would you ever let Mike Sullivan go?' And the answer might be no, and that might be the end of it, but I think the Leafs will poke around those situations.

The two names, of course, that we're hearing are Berube and McLellan, because they fit the bill as the most experienced guys that have had the [best] track record of success and are available right now. It sounds like Berube is going to have conversations starting this weekend with the Leafs."

If Sullivan were to suddenly become available, you'd think he has to be option number 1 in Toronto's eyes. A winner of back-to-back Stanley Cups in Pittsburgh in 2016 and 2017, Sullivan would easily be the best coach available and could rocket up to the top of the list of potential candidates for the Leafs if the Pens opted to make a change behind the bench.
On Brind'Amour, Johnston pointed out that he appears to have a "handshake deal" in place with Carolina to remain with the Hurricanes. However, he also pointed out that no contract has been signed yet and that if the Canes were to lose against the Rangers in Round 2, there's no guarantee that Brind'Amour wouldn't go to market.
If Brind'Amour were to go to market, you can bet your bottom dollar that the Leafs would put in a call, but that would also mean delaying their search - something Brad Treliving said the Leafs would not do.
At this point, Johnston believes that Berube is "the clubhouse favourite" to become the team's next head coach, but there's still time for that to change. Nothing is set in stone yet.
MAY 12   |   869 ANSWERS
Leafs may poach a big-name coach to fill head coaching vacancy

If these 4 names were all available, who would you hire as the next coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs?

Rod Brind'Amour53261.2 %
Todd McLellan303.5 %
Craig Berube22626 %
Mike Sullivan819.3 %
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