Brian Burke's broom continued sweeping all corners of the Maple Leafs organization the past few days with more changes on the way:
- Three members of the training staff, including seven-year strength coach Matt Nichol and head athletic therapist Rudy Cantu, are out.
- Two pro scouts, Pat Conacher and Dennis Bonvie, will not be offered new contracts, though the door remains open a crack.
- French Canadian goalie guru Francois Allaire, who brought the butterfly style into vogue with Patrick Roy and helped Jean-Sebastien Giguere to a Cup with Anaheim, has left the Ducks to work for Toronto. Whether he's the carrot that gets Swedish free agent Jonas Gustavsson to sign here or if Allaire gets a chance to work with the troubled Justin Pogge, remains to be seen.
- Corey Hirsch, who was goaltending coach, will move to a scouting/player development role.
- A new director of player personnel will soon be named, vacant since Al Coates left shortly after Burke's arrival as president and GM.
Those moving on or re-assigned included personnel from the Pat Quinn, John Ferguson and Cliff Fletcher management regimes. Assistant GM Joe Nieuwendyk, who was Fletcher's protege, already departed for Dallas to become GM of the Stars.
Allaire, who has written four books on goaltending, was with Burke and senior vice-president of hockey operations David Nonis in Anaheim.
"We consider Francois to be one of the best in the world at his craft," Burke said in a statement. "I know that he will make an immediate impact with our goalies. I'd like to thank Anaheim for making Francois available to us."
Nonis said team philosophy "has always been to build from the net out" but said there's nothing new on the Gustavsson talks as they continue bidding against clubs such as Dallas.
The Leafs have not developed their own goalie since Felix Potvin in the early 1990s and Nonis said there were still discussions going on about Pogge's fate as the date nears to mail qualifying offers to restricted free agents. The Leafs will not be bringing back Curtis Joseph, 42, but might make an offer to UFA Martin Gerber as Vesa Toskala's backup.
Hirsch will be retained to scout goalies and other players in the system, but the training staff wasn't as lucky.
Nichol worked with a wide array of Leafs from Gary Roberts to Mats Sundin to the crop of kids who arrived the past few years. Nonis said the team was looking for a change with the training staff, but said the moves had nothing to do with Burke's statements last week that the Leafs needed more "bite" in their lineup.
"I have nothing to say against Brian, I think he'll do great things here," Nichol said. "I hope I helped some people here through the years and that they stay healthy."
Cantu's assistant, Steve Dias, also is out. The team doctors are staying for now.
Nonis said Conacher and Bonvie were not having their contracts renewed "at this point", but that the new director of player personnel might have his own plan in mind. If the two are let go, ex-Leaf coach Tom Watt would be the remaining pro scout.