Brendan Shanahan leaves NHL, join Maple Leafs

Bruce Bennett

Is Brendan Shanahan the man to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs back to glory?

After nearly four years in the NHL offices, Brendan Shanahan is ready to take on a new challenge.

That challenge: The Toronto Maple Leafs.

According to a report from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star, Shanahan will leave his position as the NHL's director of player safety and join the Maple Leafs' front office, taking on the role of team president. The Leafs confirmed the news on Friday morning and will hold a press conference Monday. Shanahan starts his new job immediately.

The NHL announced that Stephane Quintal will take over for Shanahan at the Department of Player Safety, a role he'll fill for the remainder of the regular season and 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Following a Hall of Fame playing career, Shanahan joined the NHL offices in December 2009, and eventually replaced Colin Campbell as the league's chief disciplinarian, a position that he held since June 2011. The move will continue a league-wide trend that has seen several teams pick former players to take on major roles in the front office. Just this week, the Vancouver Canucks hired Trevor Linden as their new president of hockey operations. The Colorado Avalanche, meanwhile, have reassembled their Stanley Cup teams with Joe Sakic, Patrick Roy and Adam Foote all having roles in the front office and behind the bench. Steve Yzerman has been the general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning for several years now and recently signed a four-year contract extension with the team.

This may just be the start of what could be a wild offseason in Toronto, following its second-half collapse that saw the team fall from third place in the Eastern Conference to completely out of the playoffs over the final month of the regular season. While Randy Carlyle seems to be on the hot seat, Sportsnet's Chris Johnston reported on Thursday night that general manager Dave Nonis is expected to remain with the team in his current role.

Shanahan, who has no prior experience as a team executive at any level, spent 21 years in the NHL playing 1,524 games and scoring 656 goals for the New Jersey Devils, St. Louis Blues, Hartford Whalers, Detroit Red Wings and New York Rangers.

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