In a long-talked-about move, on Thursday the Leafs and assistant coach D.J. Smith parted ways, as he took the vacant head job in Ottawa. I say they “parted ways” instead of him being poached because it was unclear, and perhaps unlikely, that he was ever coming back with Toronto beyond this season anyway.
Much has been said about the Leafs’ coaching situation since their first-round exit a few weeks ago, but after Kyle Dubas gave Mike Babcock the full vote of confidence going into next season, the focus quickly shifted to the assistants potentially being replaced. Smith’s name had been in the rumour mill for Ottawa’s job since the late part of the regular season, so to see him move on was not surprising and it’s tough to say whether the Leafs ever really cared. They obviously didn’t bother to try and stop it.
What’s a bit more surprising, and perhaps a little strange, however, is the way things are playing out for the Leafs’ other assistant, Jim Hiller, who most would have argued to be a far bigger loss than Smith. In the case of Smith, who was supposedly in charge of the …
Author: Ryan Fancey / The Leafs Nation