The Toronto Maple Leafs lost an assistant coach earlier this year when Paul McFarland decided to return to the OHL and take a job running the Kingston Frontenacs, but have found his replacement. The Maple Leafs have hired Manny Malhotra, who has spent the last few seasons working with the Vancouver Canucks. Head coach Sheldon Keefe released a statement on his new assistant:
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. 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.
Malhotra, a veteran of more than 1,000 NHL games, is still relatively new to the coaching world having just retired from playing in 2016. The 40-year-old scored just 295 points in the NHL but was a hard-nosed checking center that was always among the leaders in faceoff percentage. He received votes for the Selke Trophy on many occasions, even finishing fifth in 2011.
He was hired by the Canucks in 2017 as a development coach, meaning his move to Toronto will actually be a step up and takes him a little closer to being an NHL head coach. It comes with the added benefit of a homecoming, given Malhotra is from Mississauga, just outside of Toronto.
David Singh of Sportsnet did a long feature on Malhotra earlier this summer, noting that “several people within the industry peg him as a rising star in the coaching ranks” but that he would also need some time behind the bench as an assistant at some point. That time appears to be now with the Maple Leafs.
Toronto had been linked to several other names around the league, including former Minnesota Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau, but according to Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic decided to go with Malhotra instead. Rocky Thompson, another coach they spoke with, is likely heading to the San Jose Sharks to join Bob Boughner’s staff.
Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet broke the news on Twitter.