TORONTO - The Toronto Maple Leafs hired Al Coates as their player-personnel director Monday.
The move will serve to further fuel speculation that Anaheim Mighty Ducks general manager Brian Burke will become the Leafs' GM once his deal with the Ducks expires next summer. Coates comes to Toronto after spending the previous six seasons with Anaheim.
Last week, the Leafs hired Ron Wilson as their new head coach. Burke and Wilson played together at Providence.
"We look forward to Al becoming a valuable part of the Maple Leafs management team," interim Leafs GM Cliff Fletcher said in a statement. "He brings a wealth of managerial and scouting expertise to our hockey club, which will be important as we look to strengthen the organization's depth in the coming seasons."
Coates has spent more than 30 years in pro hockey and has been part of two Stanley Cup-winning teams ('07 with Anaheim and '89 with Calgary).
A native of Listowel, Ont., Coates began his pro hockey management career with Detroit in 1971 before joining Fletcher and Calgary's inaugural staff following the '79-'80 season. Coates spent 20 years in the Flames organization, working in several capacities, including director of hockey administration and assistant to the GM before becoming the club's executive vice-president, general manager and alternate governor from 1995 to 2000.
Coates then spent three seasons with the New York Rangers (2000 to '03), overseeing the team and business operation of the Rangers' American Hockey League affiliate in Hartford.