After three seasons running the NHL's Department of Player Safety, Brendan Shanahan is moving along to join the Toronto Maple Leafs front office. The team announced Shanahan will take on the role of president and alternate governor effective immediately.
This might not be the best news Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis has heard this season. Any time you get a new boss there is some cause for concern, usually it's because the direction of the team isn't what ownership wants to see. Whether it's bad news for Nonis, coach Randy Carlyle and everybody else or not, it does at least mean there are probably going to be some changes coming. Maybe many changes.
Considering the collapse the Leafs had down the stretch to miss the playoffs and their heavily criticized style of play proving in the end to not be successful, it's understandable. New MLSE CEO Tim Leiweke wants to build a winner and this season was a step back.
For Shanahan this will be his first foray into the team management side of things but since retiring he has remained heavily involved in the NHL, most recently serving as the discipline chief and instituting a new, transparent process to discipline. He has changed the role for the better in many ways in his relatively short time on the job after replacing Colin Campbell.
He never played for the Maple Leafs in his long and successful NHL career but he's from nearby Mimico. Plus, with the pressure he faces in his role with every single one of his suspension decisions being scrutinized at every turn, he should be plenty accustomed to the spotlight he's about to face in Toronto.
In that role in the NHL offices it will be interesting to see if he is succeeded by Brian Leetch, who joined the Department of Player Safety beneath Shanahan along with Brian Burke's son Patrick before this season.