For Steve Spott, it will be same as it ever was.
Spott, 45, is a week into his new job as head coach of the Toronto Marlies. Spott takes over from Dallas Eakins who was hired to be the Edmonton Oilers head coach.
A host of Marlies veterans including Ryan Hamilton, Will Acton and Greg Scott will not be back.
Assuming 23-year-old Joe Colborne finds his way to the Leafs, the Marlies will be in the hands of young players such as Greg McKegg, Spencer Abbott and Jerry D’Amigo.
Spott, who came to the Marlies after five years behind the bench of the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers, has the experience necessary to work with kids. Players such as Carolina’s Jeff Skinner and current Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog are Ranger graduates.
“It’ll be a younger group of guys so there will be a lot of teaching but ultimately the plan is to go with the younger guys,” Spott said. “I think there’s a good rapport, a good comfort level for myself and from them.”
Spott had Josh Leivo and D’Amigo in Kitchener. As head coach of last year’s Canadian World Junior team, Spott is familiar with Morgan Rielly and Team USA winger Tyler Biggs although only Biggs can stay with the Marlies should there not be enough room with the Maple Leafs.
“One thing I’m proud of is the development we’ve had over the years in Kitchener,” Spott said. “My plan doesn’t change. It’s about allowing these players to play and making sure they’re ready to play when they get called to the Leafs.”
Spott has already conferred with Leafs coach Randy Carlyle.
“We’ll make sure our systems with the Marlies will completely mirror the systems of the Leaf organization so that when our guys do get called up they’ll be prepared,” he said.
The secret to development, Spott said, is patience.
“You have to allow them to make mistakes. You can’t treat all 23 guys the same way. You have to find out their trigger points, what makes them tick, and then ultimately push them to become the best they can be. It’s giving them every opportunity to be successful.”
Spott has already interviewed Derek King, an assistant under Eakins and plans on meeting Gord Dineen, another assistant under Eakins.