Leafs to Hire D.J. Smith

Yesterday there was a report circulating that the Leafs had offered D.J. Smith an assistant coaching gig with the Leafs. This morning Damien Cox is reporting that it’s all but certain that Smith will be accepting that role.

The fact that Cox is reporting the term is a good sign that this is actually happening. What is also interesting is that apparently Jim Hiller is all but confirmed as well. More from Cox after the jump

Given the powerhouse that Erie was this season, and how heavily favoured Kelowna was in the Memorial Cup, these are both huge feathers in Smith’s hat. Adding the Memorial Cup champion coach as an assistant and the OHL coach of the year as the Marlies Head Coach is a nice start to the summer.

I touched on Babcock’s recruiting process shortly after Babcock was hired, but this definitely fits with his hiring style. He wants to get to know his assistants away from the rink before hiring them. He also prefers to hire Head Coaches that he can groom into NHL head coaches. That sound you hear is 3rd round compensation picks rolling in.

It’s nice to see that Kelly McCrimmon is still very much on the radar, and we aren’t bound by any deadline. That is also an incredible collection of talent that you’d hope to see around a team that is going to be one of the youngest in the league next season.

It’s worth noting this isn’t D.J. Smith’s first go with the Leafs. He played 11 games for the Leafs recording one assist, and spent a fair amount of time with the St. Johns Maple Leafs providing them with truculence. He was part of the deal that returned Wendel Clark to the Leafs from the Islanders at the cost of Kenny Jonsson.

The official NHL off-season is off to a quick start for the Leafs. With a few more assistant positions to fill, goaltender coach, Marlies assistants, and the possibly a GM. Front office transactions could give us enough news to hold us over to the draft.

Assuming that the D.J. Smith and Jim Hiller hires are confirmed shortly, here is the updated organizational chart for the Leafs.


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