Report: Maple Leafs’ Peter Horachek won’t be back as coach, other major changes coming

Photo Credit: John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Peter Horachek didn’t win many games as the club’s interim bench boss, but he did accomplish something long believed to be impossible: he made Leafs fans miss Randy Carlyle. 

To the surprise of absolutely nobody Horachek will reportedly not be brought back as the Maple Leafs’ coach, according to Sportsnet’s Damien Cox. The changes may not stop there though, as the future of Maple Leafs general manager Dave Nonis remains in significant doubt.

During a ‘Headlines’ segment during Hockey Night in Canada’s broadcast of the Maple Leafs’ 82nd game on Saturday night, Cox elaborated on what comes next for the Maple Leafs:

This long Maple Leafs season is (over) and all signs point to Monday being the day when a lot of major announcements are made involving the Leafs.

We know and everybody knows I think, including Peter Horachek, that he will not return as the Maple Leafs coach, but I think the changes are going to include a lot of other areas. It’s not clear whether Dave Nonis is back, he’s still meeting with Brendan Shanahan in fact the management team is hunkering down this weekend to make their final decisions.

So the final decision on Nonis’ future with the club has yet to be made in Cox’s formulation, though signs are increasingly pointing to the likelihood that Nonis has watched his last game from the general manager’s suite. One of those signs? A list of potential managerial targets who on the Maple Leafs radar:

Or how about the report that the question of Mark Hunter or Kyle Dubas taking over for Nonis has been both discussed and discarded?

If you’re looking for smoke signals that hint at the direction the Maple Leafs front office will chart going forward, those are significant ones. 

Like winter comes to Westeros, change is coming to Toronto. 

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  • TGT23

    Thomas you have absolutely written a number of wonderful articles this season for leaf nation fans. This is one of your better ones.

    It is obvious that Horacheck and Nonis are going to be made sacrificial lambs for the M.L.S.E. who have taken a lot of defeats this year, no, no, no I’m not talking about on the ice but where it really counts at the bank as literally hundreds of thousands of fans tuned out the leafs after January lst of this year. Some of these so called loyal leaf fans had the audacity to suggest Phil Kessel quit on the team. But as Adam the wise sage he is pointed out Phil Kessel got 25 goals this year and just had some bad luck over the last 4 months of the year.

    As I was saying M.L.S.E. took a huge hit financially with their giant squid of arms reaching here and there and everywhere into the pocket wallets of leaf hockey fans.

    Thus it has become priority numero uno to give the listing leaf ship a new paint job. A sparkling brand new G.M. and a brand new coach.

    Now Thomas you being one of the elites of hockey knowledge can help me out. I am confused about one thing. Perhaps you have the answer my friend. Intelligent leaf fans, nooooo it isn’t an oxymoron to realize that the tanking to quote the late great Karen Carpenter “We’ve only just begun”, that being the case, the new G.M. and Coach will be totally involved in the tanking of not one, not two, not three, to quote Lebron James, years of future tanking. Thus the new G.M. and Coach will have on their resume three long, long, long frustrating years of futility just as bad as this season.

    In the real world out there leaf fans realize that the foundation will be built pillar by pillar and this will take a number of years of tanking.

    I would tend to think and I wonder if you agree with me that who ever the new G.M. or new coach is, his stay will be limited to those tanking years as it will be then that M.L.S.E. will bring in a new coach a new G.M. to help guide this young talented team towards the playoffs. This new G.M. and Coach will be the new sacrificial lambs three years from now as the angry mob of leaf fans spew their wrath, with weeping and gnashing of their teeth and rendering of their Phil Kessel sweater. The sad commentary about all of this is that you have a number of rabid loyal young leaf fans who will have basically gone through their entire education system with having seen only one leaf playoff series.

    It doesn’t get any sadder than that.

    • TGT23

      “But as Adam the wise sage he is pointed out Phil Kessel got 25 goals this year and just had some bad luck over the last 4 months of the year.”

      That’s not what he pointed out. You are making things up. You’ve put words in someone else’s mouth and then called him stupid for it. Good job

      “In the real world out there leaf fans realize that the foundation will be built pillar by pillar and this will take a number of years of tanking”

      Ironically, many of those fans are the people on here like myself, Dangle, Jeffler, and countless posters who you take shots at for their belief in facts and stats over guessing.

      Most Leaf fans… Including most fans who post here… Are ready for the 3-7 year total rebuild. It can’t be any worse on the ice than the last 10 and hey, there is HOPE after the sucking.

      • TGT23

        Completely agree it’s going to suck but it will be so much more worth it in the end.
        The only people that will de-rail the rebuild are fans like him that will start complaining that the team sucks and the rebuild is taking too long.

  • STAN

    With all due respect, Drance writes some nice columns, but this isn’t one of them. All this is is a synopsis of Damien Cox conjecture. Damien is right about 31 percent of the time.

    As for the Leafs future, I’m more pessimistic and skeptical than ever because there’s no empirical evidence that Shanahan has the guile and wisdom to get the job done.

    In Vancouver, new team president Trevor Linden has at least two qualities that Shanahan doesn’t with the Leafs – he has his team (the Canucks) in his blood and has an impressive CV in business. He ran things. Successfully. As an executive. Linden seems to have found the right people in GM Jim Benning (deep Maple Leafs ties) and coach Willie Dejardins.

    That being said, Shanahan can prove his executive leadership mettle in the next few months by finding the right people to extract two, three or four top-notch players from this June’s very rich amateur draft. But, again, I would recommend anyone hold their breath for this to happen. The Leafs have been among the worst drafters in the past 30 years, but when they do get it right (Tukka Rask, Anton Stralman, Brad Boyes) they trade them away for virtually nothing.

    Perhaps, as Cox speculated, much will be known as early Monday, including the fate of the incompetent Nonis. Perhaps Shanahan has already decided who will lead this team for the next stretch and will unveil him/them Monday.

    Or perhaps Shanahan will demonstrated his personal survival savvy by maintaining the Nonis card through at least the first part of next season, thereby extending his own tenure in the corner suite.

    After all, it’s just a game.

    • TGT23

      Firings will come fast but I think he’ll wait on hirings.

      Good chance the people he wants aren’t actually available yet. If that is the case he’d be smart to just wait it out.

      I’m not one to shoot for the moon. All I really want is a GM who has an eye for young talent and a coach who can develop them to play the right way.

      Who can see a guy like Kadri and a guy like Bozak and tell which is a first line guy and which is a 2nd line guy.

      Who understands you have to build lines not just acquire players.

      I’m probably hoping too much but man am I hoping for a fresh start here. A real one.

  • TGT23

    i feel awful for horachek. thrown into an impossible situation on a sinking ship and then the team recognized major issues and decided to tank. they sold reliable roster pieces and put together a heap of junk. he was given a team incapable of playing a championship style of play. he would be an excellent coach elsewhere. maybe san jose or an equally talented roster with some skill on offence and defence. bad goaltending and defence sunk him similar to wilson and maurice. he was a really nice guy and he’s a very good coach. i hope he finds a job elsewhere.