The Toronto Maple Leafs have announced a few staff changes, notably hiring ex-NHLers in off-ice roles. Per the announcement, former Maple Leafs backup goalie Curtis McElhinney has been hired as the team’s Director of Goaltending Development and Scouting, defenseman Jake Muzzin has been named a pro scout, and Chris Bourque will be a college free agent scout.
The most notable announcement here is that of Muzzin, as he still has an active playing contract with the Maple Leafs. As noted on CapFriendly, Muzzin is set to spend the season on long-term injured reserve as repeated injuries have ended his playing career. This announcement confirms that although Muzzin won’t provide his services on the ice with Toronto, he’ll still contribute to the organization’s success in an off-ice role.
Some more notes from what is expected to be a hotly contested Atlantic Division:
- After scoring 27 goals and 50 points last season, Jake DeBrusk has cemented himself as a capable NHL goal scorer just entering the prime of his career. With an expiring $4MM AAV contract, DeBrusk is in a position to hit the unrestricted free-agent market next summer. The Boston Bruins, who selected DeBrusk 14th overall at the 2015 draft, are expected to make a push to retain their three-time 25-goal scorer, and Bruins GM Don Sweeney confirmed to reporters today (including Ty Anderson of 98.5 The Sports Hub) that there are currently “ongoing discussions” regarding a new deal for DeBrusk.
- Buffalo Sabres franchise defenseman Rasmus Dahlin earned a massive eight-year, $11MM AAV contract extension from the club today. As a result, focus has shifted to 2021 first-overall pick Owen Power and the significant contract extension he might receive. The Times Herald’s Bill Hoppe relays word from Sabres GM Kevyn Adams that Adams is “still talking” to Power’s representatives regarding a contract extension. Power’s deal would undoubtedly come in at a lower cost than Dahlin’s, though the price is still expected to be significant. 2020 fifth overall pick Jake Sanderson earned an $8.05MM AAV on an eight-year contract from the Ottawa Senators after a 32-point rookie season. Power is a few months younger than Sanderson and scored 35 points in his own impressive rookie year, so it’s possible that Power’s next contract exceeds Sanderson’s AAV, if only by a small margin, should the parties involved agree on an eight-year term for the extension.