The Toronto Maple Leafs may have filled the vacancy on their coaching staff created by the departure of Paul McFarland. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman indicated via Twitter that the club will hire former NHLer Manny Malholtra to serve as an assistant to head coach Sheldon Keefe.
Malholtra, 40, was a seventh overall pick of the New York Rangers in 1998 and played 16 NHL seasons with the Rangers, Dallas, Columbus, San Jose, Vancouver, Carolina and Montreal, and was known throughout his career as a two-way center and faceoff specialist.
The Mississauga, ON native served as a player development and assistant coach under former Leaf Travis Green.
“I’m very grateful to the Canucks organization for the opportunity given to me to start my coaching career. It was truly a great experience to learn from Travis Green and the rest of his staff,” said Malhotra. “I’m now very excited for this opportunity with the Leafs moving forward — to be with Sheldon, his staff and this young, talented team.”
The Leafs spoke with former Chicago Wolves coach Rocky Thompson and former Washington, Anaheim and Minnesota bench boss Bruce Boudreau, but even after the hire may still be looking to add to fill the vacancy created by not renewing the contract of assistant coach Andrew Brewer.
One name that has been mentioned to fill one of the vacancies is Toronto Marlies assistant A.J. MacLean. The 36-year-old Nova Scotia native worked with Keefe as part of his coaching staff with the OHL’s Soo Greyhounds and made the move to the pro ranks when Keefe was hired to be the Marlies head coach in 2015.
It is expected that Malholtra will be working with the Leafs forwards, while former Philadelphia head coach Dave Hakstol will work with the Toronto defense.
“The work ethic, character, intelligence and attention to detail that made Manny the ultimate teammate when he played are all assets that have translated to his coaching. That, combined with his charisma and communication skills, make us really excited to have him join the organization,” Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said in a press release. “On behalf of the Leafs, I’d like to thank Travis Green, Jim Benning and the Canucks organization for the opportunity to speak with Manny.”
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