Assistant Peter Horachek was promoted Wednesday on an interim basis, becoming the 38th head coach in franchise history, but it’s unclear whether he’ll land the gig permanently.
Here’s a list of six possible candidates. Review their credentials and vote for your pick in the poll below.
All records are for regular season.
NHL head coaching experience: 26-36-4 as Florida’s interim man last season.
Pros: Knows team; more than 10 years as NHL assistant, another decade as minor-league head coach.
Cons: Little experience as NHL head coach; may be hurt by ties to Carlyle regime.
NHL head coaching experience: 505-270-19-114 in 12 seasons with Anaheim, Detroit.
Pros: Stanley Cup champ (Detroit, 2008), 2-time Olympic gold medallist.
Cons: Under contract with Red Wings until end of season; December report said he was close to extension.
NHL head coaching experience: 400-252-117 in parts of six seasons with Pittsburgh.
Pros: NHL coach of the year for 2010-11 season, Stanley Cup champ in 2009.
Cons: Since Cup win, 4-5 playoff series record with star-studded Penguins.
NHL head coaching experience: 30-23-7 as in-season hire with Washington in 2011-12.
Pros: Instilled defensive approach in run-and-gun Capitals, led them to second round of playoffs; played 19 NHL seasons; brother Mark Hunter is Leafs’ director of player personnel.
Cons: Conservative approach grated on Caps star Ovechkin, could do the same for Leafs’ Kessel; brother Mark Hunter is Leafs’ director of player personnel.
NHL head coaching experience: 36-34-14 in parts of two seasons with Edmonton.
Pros: Former Leafs assistant; former head coach of Leafs’ AHL affiliate; at one time considered one of brightest young coaches in minors and next in line for Leafs’ job; young; media-savvy.
Cons: Promise unfulfilled in two brutal seasons with Edmonton; couldn’t get young Oilers to buy into defensive play.
NHL head coaching experience: None.
Pros: One of most beloved Leafs players of all time; in third season as head coach of OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs; Toronto minor-league assistant briefly in 2008.
Cons: Virtually no coaching experience of any kind at pro level.