Oshawa Generals

Leafs fill out coaching staff, hire Hiller, Smith and Brewer


The Toronto Maple Leafs filled out Mike Babcock’s coaching staff naming three assistant coaches on Tuesday.

Jim Hiller and Andrew Brewer, who spent time with Babcock in Detroit, join the Leafs.

Toronto also added D.J. Smith to their coaching staff. Smith coached the Ontario Hockey League’s Oshawa Generals to a Memorial Cup victory last month.

Additionally, Matthew J. Herring joins the club as the team’s new head strength and conditioning coach.

“I’m excited to have them join the organization,” Babcock said in a statement. “We have a lot of work ahead of us but are all thrilled to be part of the Maple Leafs. We’re grateful for the cooperation afforded to us by the Detroit Red Wings, Oshawa Generals and San Antonio Spurs.”

Hiller spent the 2014-15 season on Babcock’s staff in Detroit overseeing the club’s power play. Prior to joining the Wings, the 46-year-old spent five seasons as head coach of the Western Hockey League’s Tri-City Americans.

“I’m excited at the opportunity of working again with Mike, and to also add to the value that both D.J. and Andrew bring,” Hiller said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to work with many great organizations – most recently the Red Wings – and am grateful for the chance to now join the Leafs.”

Brewer spent the 2014-15 season coordinating the team’s coaching staff in Detroit. Prior to joining the Wings, the 29-year-old spent three years with Hockey Canada as their video coach for several international events including Canada’s gold-medal team at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Smith led the Generals to a 51-11-2-4 record in 2014-15 on route to winning the Ontario Hockey League Championship and Memorial Cup. The 38-year-old won the OHL’s Coach of the Year award during the 2013-14 season after leading Oshawa to a regular season record of 42-20-0-6.

Herring joins the Leafs after spending the past two seasons as an athletic performance associate with the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs. With the Spurs, his responsibilities included strength and conditioning, sports science and nutrition. The 29-year-old was a part of the San Antonio organization during their NBA Championship season in 2013-14.

Report: Canucks’ prospect Cole Cassels could join AHL club


Fresh off a Memorial Cup win with the Oshawa Generals, Cole Cassels could get his first taste of professional hockey with the American Hockey League’s Utica Comets.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports that if the Comets advance to the Calder Cup final, the Canucks will consider adding Cassels to Utica’s roster.

The Comets currently lead the Western Conference Final against the Grand Rapids Griffins 3-2 with Game 6 schedule for Tuesday night in Utica.

Cassels had 30 goals and 81 points in 54 regular season games. He added 10 goals and 21 assists in 21 postseason games.

The 20-year-old was the Canucks’ third round selection (85th overall) at the 2013 NHL Draft.

PHT Morning Skate: Grigorenko with highlight-reel shootout goal


PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

The Buffalo Sabres may have lost their second straight pre-season game to the Toronto Maple Leafs Sunday dropping them to 1-2-1, but afterwards head coach Ted Nolan was singing the praises of young forward Mikhail Grigorenko and why not? He showed excellent hand-eye coordination receiving a pass from line mate Cody Hodgson on the game’s opening goal and then absolutely undressed Leafs starter Jonathan Bernier in the shootout.

The Ontario Hockey League’s Oshawa Generals retired the No. 91 of John Tavares on Sunday night. Tavares joins Bobby Orr, Red Tilson and Eric Lindros as the only players in Generals’ history to have their numbers retired. The Islanders captain scored 183 goals and 383 points in 223 games with the Generals before being dealt to the London Knights in his final season. (video via amfmradio590)

The St. Louis Blues signed undrafted defenseman Dmitrii Sergeev to a three-year entry level contract Sunday. Sergeev, 18, was with the Blues at their Traverse City Prospect Tournament and earned an invitation to training camp on a tryout basis. He’s since been returned to the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League ( St. Louis Blues)

Martin Leclerc of CBC’s Radio-Canada recently conducted a poll of Quebec Major Junior Hockey League GMs, which resulted in 89 percent saying they would be against a ban on fighting in the league. (HockeyFights.com)

Defenseman Blake Kessel is at Toronto Marlies camp on an invite and over the weekend he discussed his on-going rivalry with older brother, and Leafs star, Phil Kessel. (The Canadian Press)

Report: Dal Colle signs with Islanders (Updated)

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According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the New York Islanders have inked first-round pick Michael Dal Colle to an entry-level contract.

TVA’s Renaud Lavoie reports Dal Colle’s deal is three-year, two-way deal, worth $925,000 per season.

Dal Colle, 18, was the fifth overall selection at the June NHL Draft.

The 6-foot-2, 171-pound forward scored 39 goals and 95 points in 2013-14 with the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League.

Related: Get to know a draft pick – Michael Dal Colle

Flyers’ Laughton likely headed to Lehigh Valley


Philadelphia Flyers’ prospect Scott Laughton is likely headed for the American Hockey League when camp concludes and he’s OK with that.

Laughton, 20, was selected 20th overall by the Flyers in 2012 and after four seasons in the Ontario Hockey League is set to begin his professional career this season.

The 6-foot-1, 190 pound center was finding the silver lining Saturday when talking about the possibility of starting the season with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

“I know (Claude) Giroux went down there too,” Laughton told CSN Philly’s Sarah Baicker. “He’s one of the best players in the world, so if he can do it, I think anyone can.”

Laughton, who played six games with the Flyers’ AHL affiliate in 2013, won’t count his training camp as a disappointment.

“I don’t really look at it like that,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of good players here. Hopefully I get in a couple exhibition games, I don’t know what’s going to happen yet, but hopefully I can show what I can do there and then we’ll see what happens.”

Laughton could get an extended look during the preseason as Giroux is expected to miss two weeks with a lower body injury.

“It’s up to them at this point,” Laughton said. “Wherever they think is the best fit for me right now, I’ll be willing to do. We’ll see what they think up there, and we’ll go from there.”

Laughton’s three-year, $3.4 million entry-level contract doesn’t kick in until this season, which means the Flyers have plenty of time to give him a year of seasoning in the AHL before deciding whether he’s ready to make the leap to the NHL full-time in 2015-16. It’s a good problem for general manager Ron Hextall to have especially given the team’s depth at center.

Related: Schenn moves to center in Philadelphia