Dave Nonis finally fired by Maple Leafs, along with coach
Let the healing begin: General Manager Dave Nonis has been fired by the Toronto Maple Leafs, less than 24 hours after the team’s season ended.
Coach Peter Horachek, who had the thankless job of leading this team on an interim basis after Randy Carlyle was fired, was also let go. Assistant coaches Steve Spott, Chris Dennis and Rick St. Croix (goaltending) have also been relieved of their duties, which was a surprise. In the sense that we were unaware the Leafs’ goalies were being coached.
According to the team, assistant GM Kyle Dubas and Director of Player Personnel Mark Hunter will co-mange the team as the search for a new general manager commences. One assumes they’ll stick around under the new GM, too, as both were added by President Brendan Shanahan and are integral in forming the Leafs’ draft strategy.
Named Senior Vice President and General Manager on January 9, 2013, Nonis held a record of 94-97-21 in 212 games in his position with the Maple Leafs, and holds an all-time record as a general manager of 224-188-46 in 458 games between the Vancouver Canucks and Toronto. He originally joined the Maple Leafs’ organization as Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations on December 6, 2008.
Hired by the Maple Leafs as an assistant coach on July 11, 2014, Horachek was named interim head coach on January on 7. In his time behind the bench, Horachek compiled a record of 9-28-5 in 42 games. He holds a career NHL coaching record of 35-64-9 in 108 games between the Florida Panthers and Toronto.
Nonis has had his champions and apologists in the media over the years – mainly one guy with familial connections currently looking for another Toronto source right now – but this firing is well-deserved and likely a year too late. James Riemer bought him time with a great half–a-season that resulted in a playoff berth. Nonis bought himself time by keeping Carlyle around, firing him and then attempting to show it was the coaching and not the construction that was sinking the Leafs, when in fact it was always the latter.
Brian Burke’s roster that Nonis helped build and later inherited was, at best, a playoff bubble contender. Nonis did nothing to improve it. Sure, it may have been Carlyle that chased away players like Mikhail Grabovski and Clarke MacArthur with his love of fourth-line pugs, but it was Nonis who had to manage, or prevent, those losses.
Adding Stephane Robidas and Roman Polak were poor decisions. The only nice thing that could be said about the David Clarkson contract was that Nonis found a way to escape from under it. And that Clarkson's a good Canadian boy, obviously.
But Nonis couldn’t escape his fate, which was to pay for this fractured mess of a roster with his job, the franchise showing little faith in his ability to dig out of this hole (or to build around Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel, if the balls bounce the right way).
Who takes over? Smart money’s on Rob Blake, assistant GM with the Los Angeles Kings.
He’s learned from one of the best in Dean Lombardi, he was GM of the 2014 Canada world championships team, and he’s friends with Brendan Shanahan and worked with him at the NHL.
He also seems like the kind of guy that would get along with Mike Babcock too. Wait, what that’s crazy…