When Brendan Shanahan left his job in the league office to take over the Toronto Maple Leafs in the spring of 2014, the three-time Stanley Cup champion had one goal: get the Leafs back to the top of the pecking order.
Despite struggling in recent years, Toronto is the third most valuable team in the NHL and Shanahan was determined to make the on-ice product match the franchise’s worth.
Enter Mike Babcock, Shanahan’s coach his final year in Detroit.
Babcock is the only coach in the esteemed Triple Crown Club – leading Team Canada to gold at the 2004 IIHF World Championships , the Red Wings to a Stanley Cup in 2008, and winning a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Babcock also coached the team that brought home the gold in Sochi four years later.
Shanahan was hoping that by luring Babcock away from Detroit, the coach would bring some of that winning magic with him. Unfortunately, that magic didn’t come in Babcock’s first season.
But they are slowly putting the pieces together to get the Leafs back to their 13-time Stanley Cup Championship form.
Shanahan And Babcock Hope Leafs Fans Will Be All Smiles This Season
The Leafs have a ton of young, skilled prospects who will see the ice this year. They added Matt Martin and Roman Polak to help guide the young players. And although the Leafs missed out on bringing in league superstar Steven Stamkos, who opted to re-sign with the Tampa Bay Lightning, they made a couple big moves in net: they acquired Frederik Andersen from Anaheim and then traded away Jonathan Bernier to the Ducks weeks later.
Last week, they added another piece in goal: veteran Jhonas Enroth.
Enroth signed a one-year, $750,000 deal with the Leafs last week after spending the 2015-16 season in Los Angeles. In 16 games played with the Kings, Enroth registered a 7-5-1 record with a .922 save percentage.
The 28-year-old native Swede seems pretty excited to help rebuild one of the Original Six teams, even if he will be Andersen’s backup. The Leafs fans may finally have something to smile about again, too.
Very happy, proud and excited to join one of the biggest hockey clubs in the word! #leafsnation
— Jhonas Enroth (@JEnroth125) August 22, 2016