Unless you have been living under a rock lately, you might know that the Leafs are in the process of finding a new general manager to replace John Ferguson.
Today we learned that the bright minds and the very skilled researchers of our friends MLSE, found that the Cliff Fletcher was still under contract with the Phoenix Coyotes. Even though they fired him back in April, this would have been the last season of his contract, and he is currently getting paid by the Coyotes right now.
I like the idea of Fletcher coming to Toronto on an interim basis and possible hiring him as team president and somebody to take over for the General Managers position. That is if MLSE decides to fire Richard Peddie.
He was the general manager of the Leafs from 1991-1997 and he brought the likes of Wendel Clark, Doug Gilmore and Mats Sundin to Toronto. In 1993 was was selected as "Man of the Year" and also "Executive of the Year" by The Hockey News.
He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004 in the Builder category.
I see this guys as being the perfect guy for taking over as president. Especially if its the Leafs because as they are right now they are in desperate need to make a change. If Cliff Fletcher was in a position like this, he would not hesitate to make the right move and fix it.
Let's look at the other candidates I think would be a good choice for the GM position:
David Poile, General Manager and Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations of the Nashville Predators.
David Poile, a Toronto native, has alot of experience in this position. He has alot of experience in this position starting with the Atlanta Flames in 1972 as the Administrative Assistant. He was promoted to the assistant general managers position of the Flames organization five years later. Poile then left the Flames to take a job with the Washington Capitals as Vice President and General Manager where he spent 15 years there. Over those 15 years the Capitals made it to the playoffs 14 of those years, including a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals during the 1997-1998 season. Even though Poile left the Caps in 1997 for the new expansion team, the Nashville Predators, the Capitals still had a large majority of the players that David Poile provided for them. Poile also served as the General Manager of the US Nation team in 1998 - 1999 for the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships.
Ken Holland, General Manager, Executive Vice President, and Alternate Governor of the Detroit Red Wings.
Ken Holland is nothing but a winner. He is entering into his 11th season as the general manager of the Detroit Red Wings and is arguably one of the most successful general managers in all of professional sports. He has won 2 Stanley Cups (1998, 2002) 3 Presidents trophies (2002, 2004, 2006) seven Central Division titles (1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007) and 4 regular season Western Conference titles (2002, 2004, 2006, 2007). Have I said enough yet? Holland's most successful years have come these past two seasons, when the salary cap was put in place. He has assembled the Red Wings and won the second most games in franchise history after going on a record of 50-19-13.
Brian Burke, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Anaheim Ducks.
Brian Burke spent 6 years as the Vancouver Canucks President and General Manager (1998-2004). He initially joined the Canucks back in 1987 as the Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations. He left in 1992 where he became the General Manager of the Hartford Whalers (now know as the Carolina Hurricanes). He rebuilt the Whalers and made several player transactions including Chris Pronger. During his tenure in Vancouver he led them to consecutive 100+ point seasons (2002-2003 & 2003-2004 seasons). Vancouver becoming the only team to do that other then Detroit, Ottawa and Philadelphia. Since the 2001-2002 season with the Canucks, Burke's teams have made it to the Stanley Cup playoffs, and one of the seasons he won with the Anaheim Duck during the 2006-2007 season.
I think all of these men have proven that they can take on a job as the General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Even though Ken Holland looks very impression, I personally like David Poile and Cliff Fletcher combination because Poile is also know to make big transactions when the team needs it and that was also how Fletcher ran the Leafs. For example, David Poile made a trade with the Philadelphia Flyers for Peter Forsberg and gave up, Scottie Upshall, and Nashville first and third round picks at the 2007 Entry Draft. Fletcher pulled off one of these moves aswell. In June of 2004 Fletcher traded Clark to the Quebec Nordiques in a multi player trade which happened to involve a young Mats Sundin. So this is why I like this combination. Two GMs who have a similar approach to the game.