We are near the christmas break and with 2 more games to go the Toronto Maple Leafs at this point appear to be ahead of where they were last year. After 33 games the Leafs are 16-13-4 and in 7th place in the Eastern conference compared to last year at this time when they were 12-17-4
With this being the final year of Ron Wilson's contract does he deserve an extension and when if that? Well I think you need to play this year out first the team hasn't made the playoffs in the 3 years he has been the head coach with this year being his 4th year and while you can argue that until this year he hasn't really had the players and poor goaltending has let him and the team down the past few years.
The case to extend him is players like Clark McCarthur, Carl Gunnarsson, Luke Schenn and Tyler Bozak and have developed and done quite well and continue to get better, although Bozak regressed last year but looks closer to the player he was a couple years ago and Lupul is having a career year this year and him and Phil Kessel are the NHL's leading duo right now at the moment.
As for the case to not extend him well there's of course what I mentioned earlier the missed playoffs the past few years but there's something else and that is the god awful penalty killing and in year 4 of Ron Wilson its not really getting any better in fact with changing a few of the players and changing the assistant coached this year its actually gotten worse in fact here's their penalty killing under Ron Wilson
And this year 73.2% which is good for you guessed it dead last in the NHL just barely above San Jose's pathetic 73.6% so I guess different players and different coaches aren't working what is?
Another reason you want to wait is there's options out there Randy Carlyle a former Stanley Cup winner and another option is maybe you think Dallas Eakins is ready for the NHL because if its not here there is sure to be a team eventually that might take a chance on him thinking that he could be the next guy and do you want to extend Wilson now and possibly miss the playoffs and watch Eakins go to another team in the off-season and Carlyle go elsewhere because he will get another opportunity
And what if the Leafs start to fall out of the playoff race in the month of January do you fire him? Well for me its only for 2 things. 1. If you believe Eakins is ready right now or you hire Randy Carlyle before someone else does and I assure you someone will by next season and if you have checked the record of new head coaches so far this year only Ken Hitchcock in St. Louis is having any success at all the rest of them really haven't and it remains to be seen if Darryl Sutter will have any success turning around the Los Angeles Kings.
I say you let the year play out first and see what happens first before making any decisions I know not extending him makes him a lame duck coach but he has to earn a contract extension first and he hasn't done anything so far now in year 4 of coaching the Maple Leafs to warrant that at this point.
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