The Toronto Maple Leafs have re-shaped their front office.
Ahead of what should be a pivotal summer for the franchise, the Maple Leafs have made a number of moves behind the scenes in their hockey operations department, promoting Dr. Hayley Wickenheiser, Ryan Hardy, and Darryl Metcalf to assistant GM roles. The team also hired former NHL goaltender as the club's new goaltending coach.
In conjunction with these moves, the Maple Leafs also announced that assistant GM Brandon Pridham will remain the primary assistant to Kyle Dubas, while Laurence Gilman will have his title changed to Governor and senior vice president of the AHL's Toronto Marlies.
These aren't just your typical assistant GM positions, either.
Wickenheiser's official title now reads as assistant GM, Player Development, serving as a promotion for the Canadian hockey legend after she joined the Maple Leafs in 2021 as an Assistant Director of Player Development. Now, it appears as if Wickenheiser is the primary figure behind the development of all Leafs' players and prospects, and will likely be heading up that department alongside another international hockey icon in Danielle Goyette, who serves as the club's Director of player development.
Hired last season to serve as GM of the Toronto Marlies, Hardy will continue to work in tandem with Gilman in running the Leafs' AHL affiliate, while his duties will now expand to that of the ECHL's Newfoundland Growlers, as well.
Metcalf, the longest-tenured staffer of the bunch, will now seemingly head up the Maple Leafs' analytics department as the new assistant GM, hockey research and development. Metcalf was hired by the Leafs nine years ago after founding the ground-breaking data tracking site Extra Skater, and has remained with the organization through multiple regime changes that have now led to his promotion.
And finally, after declining to renew the contract of Steve Briere, Sanford now arrives as the replacement for the club's former goalie coach who, funnily enough, was hired by the Seattle Kraken earlier today.
Sanford spent the past five seasons as goaltending coach of the Vancouver Canucks' AHL affiliates, helping develop the organization's stable of young netminders that includes Thatcher Demko. The 42-year-old also played parts of six seasons in the NHL, logging a total of 144 career games with the Canucks, St. Louis Blues, and Columbus Blue Jackets.
With the NHL draft only days away, the Maple Leafs now have their chips in place as they prepare to build for a crucial coming season.