The Ron Wilson era has started in Toronto and after hearing his first press conference on Tuesday it most assuredly will be entertaining. Wilson has a track record of improving young teams and that will be put to the test shortly as GM Cliff Fletcher embarks on a youth movement starting with the NHL Entry draft next week.
Wilson’s next order of business will be talking to the players currently under contract with the Leafs, as well as sitting down with captain Mats Sundin in an effort to keep the big Swede in a Leafs uniform.
His second order of business will be to assemble a coaching staff. Keith Acton has been retained and he will bring with him valuable knowledge about the players currently with the team. Wilson has had a long working relationship with Tim Hunter who was snubbed by the San Jose Sharks yesterday when they named Todd McClellan as their new head coach replacing Wilson. Don’t be surprised if Hunter surfaces in Toronto.
That would leave possibly one other spot and it could not be filled by anyone more qualified than Doug Gilmour. If you want tenacity, leadership, talent, competitiveness and skill, you are talking about Gilmour. This franchise needs to reward former players with coaching and managerial skills with front office and coaching positions.
Doug Gilmour knows what this city is like when it is hockey mad over a winning team. He would go a long way to returning the franchise to that kind of hysteria. And while we are at it why not have Joe Nieuwendyk return to work with Fletcher in the front office.