Ron Wilson has been offered the head coaching job of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Sun Media has learned. Interim general manager Cliff Fletcher admitted yesterday he is in negotiations with a coach take over from the fired Paul Maurice.
Fletcher did say he had only interviewed one coach. and it has been previously reporteed that he had spoken with Wilson, let go by the San Jose Sharks after a disappointing playoff run.
Wilson was a successful collegiate player and was drafted by the Maple Leafs in the 1975 NHL Entry draft in the eighth round.
He played 64 games for the Leafs, scoring seven goals with 15 assists. Wilson then went on to play pro in Switzerland, before returning to the NHL for three seasons with the Minnesota North Stars before retiring in 1988.
As a coach, he began is career behind the bench in 1988 as an assistant with the Moncton Hawks of the AHL before moving on to the Vacouver Canucks as an assistant, and then the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, Washington Capitals and San Jose Sharks as the head coach.
His best showing as a coach came during the 1997-98 season when he lead the Washington Capitals to the Stanley Cup Finals, losing to Scotty Bowman’s Detroit Red Wings.
The Sharks have generally underachieved in the playoffs during Wilson’s five seasons there and were eliminated in the second round this season in six games by the Dallas Stars.
Interestingly, Wilson and Anaheim Ducks general manager and executive VP Brian Burke are close friends and former teammates at Providence College in the 1970’s, suggesting that Burke, who is said to be the next Leafs GM once he gets his release from the Ducks, may be unofficially calling the shots behind the scene.
Wilson was born in Windsor, Ontario but is an American citizen. He played for three years at Providence College and set several NCAA scoring records for defencemen and was named ECAC Player of the Year in 1975.