RUMOR: Toronto to Lose Head Coach to Rival Team

Julien Trekker
December 19, 2023  (10:38)

Photo credit: AP

The Ottawa Senators have taken a significant step by parting ways with D.J. Smith and officially embarking on the search for a new head coach.

Senators Overhaul Coaching Staff


After a tough start to the season, repeating the struggles of last year, the Senators management came to a realization: the team hasn't made significant progress in a year.
While the Senators boast a talented young core, their performance has not reflected this potential. With an 11-15-0 record, they currently occupy the last spot in their division.
Calls for Smith's firing had been echoing from fans even before the season started. With Steve Staios assuming coming in, it became evident that change was imminent unless Smith could rapidly turn things around. As you know, it didn't happen.
Nonetheless, the team is now in capable hands. Staios has named Jacques Martin as the interim head coach and brought Daniel Alfredsson on board as assistant coach.
The decision to name an interim coach is an intriguing one. This move allows the Senators enough time to find the ideal candidate to fill Smith's role, all while capitalizing on Martin's experience.
A frontrunner has emerged for the coaching position, and he currently works in Toronto.

Ottawa to Find New Head Coach in Toronto?


Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reports that the leading contender for the Senators' head coach role is John Gruden, presently coaching the Toronto Marlies.
"If you're looking for a frontrunner, league executives have told Postmedia in the last couple of weeks that the top candidate may be John Gruden, who was named the head coach of the American Hockey League's Toronto Marlies (the top farm team of the Toronto Maple Leafs) before the start of the season."
Gruden assumed the role of head coach for the Marlies at the start of the current season after spending five years as an NHL assistant coach with the Islanders and the Bruins.
According to Garrioch, a return to the NHL for Gruden could be on the horizon.
Several highly qualified candidates, including Claude Julien and Patrick Roy, are available, giving a lot of good options for the Sens.
Do you think the Senators will poach Gruden from the Marlies?