In Monday's 32 Thoughts, Jeff Marek named three possible hires for the Maple Leafs open coaching slot. Two were names he'd heard as possibles, and one is just a rational guess everyone has made by now. Let's start there.

Mitch Love

MLHS did an article about AHL coaches the Marlies could hire and led with Love, but nope, sorry, guys. Not happening. Love is the name everyone expects to see get an NHL job of some kind this year. So who is he?

He's 39, a former defenceman from BC who had no points and huge PIM in a minor-pro career. Seriously 327 PIM one year in the WHL.

Directly post-playing career in 2011, he moved to an assistant coaching job in the WHL for the team he finished his junior career with as captain. The Everett Silvertips kept him behind their bench for seven seasons under three head coaches before he took the head coaching job in Saskatoon.

In the meantime Hockey Canada had chosen him to we an assistant coach on the U17 teams twice. He coached the U18 team at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup his first year in Saskatoon, and has been an assistant coach of the WJC team twice in 2020 and 2021.

He moved to the AHL as head coach of the Stockton Heat in 2021, and then moved with the team to Calgary this past season as they became the Calgary Wranglers. They are the Flames affiliate, naturally.

There was much talk that he was looking to be promoted to the Flames, and he wasn't, so there is a natural speculation that his old boss is going to bring him to Toronto. Calgary were great this year, losing in the semifinals to the Coachella Valley Firebirds. Stockton won their division under Love the prior year as well.

Karl Taylor

Marek mentioned Karl Taylor, long time coach of the Milwaukee Admirals as a possibility. Taylor is 52, from North Bay, and is a former winger in the OHL and then Canadian university hockey.

He finished playing at the University of New Brunswick in 1995, and in 1997 became their assistant coach. He then worked for Red Deer College, the ECHL for a very long time, finishing with the Reign in Ontario before they transitioned up to the AHL. He moved to the Wolves of the AHL and then the Texas Stars and the Ads.

Most of those are good teams, quality organizations, and Milwaukee has been known to produce teams better than they should out of the Nashville prospects. If he's making a move up to the NHL, now is basically the end of his window, and it's possible he's out of the mix entirely in Nashville with the changes taking place there.

Todd Nelson

Head coach of the Hershey Bears who are still playing this week in the Calder Cup finals, Nelson is another name Marek had heard mentioned.

Nelson is 54, from Prince Albert, and was drafted by the Penguins in the fourth round back in the 80s. He played for the Raiders in the WHL, then toped out at AHLer for various teams ending with the Grand Rapids Griffins in 2022.

The very next year (stop me if you've heard this before) he became the Griffins assistant coach. He moved to various teams in the UHL and AHL for years, and has some NHL experience. He was an assistant on the Thrashers for two years. He took over when Edmonton fired Dallas Eakins, and he was an assistant for the Dallas Stars for four years, leaving when they fired Rick Bowness, who he had worked under during his tenure there.

He took the Bears job as head coach, and has certainly made the case he might be good enough for another NHL job.