Hiring Mike Babcock was pretty huge for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Long gone are the days of Randy Carlyle, replaced with a new coach for this edition of the rebuild: one that's won a couple of Olympic Golds with Canada, and helped lead the Detroit Red Wings to the playoffs over and over and over again.

Of course, there are other factors to what makes a successful team than just the coach. For example: we can probably agree that Mike Babcock is rather good, but that hasn't stopped the Maple Leafs from being right at the bottom of the standings. He isn't getting a Team Canada roster in Toronto; the actual players he has at his disposal are important, too.

A lot of them are, well, young. Like Morgan Rielly, for example. And via Elliotte Friedman's 30 Thoughts, here's what Babcock has been working on with him (#29) - and now, Frank Corrado, too:

Earlier this season, Morgan Rielly explained how Mike Babcock instructed him to engage opposing forwards earlier. Don’t let them get to the net, stand your ground well before that. Now going through the same lessons: Frank Corrado. He describes the exact same message. It’s also interesting how it’s not an assistant delivering the message, but the head coach showing the film.

Proactive, not reactive. And it's a direct approach with the kids under his tutelage, which is nice to see, since Babcock and Rielly, at least, should be spending quite a few years working with one another.

How has it paid off? Via War on Ice, it looks like Rielly's really grown under Babcock:

Tougher circumstances, and for the first time in his career, he's above 50% in 5v5 corsi: 50.4%. Although it is, perhaps, worth noting that he's a negative relative corsi player for the first time in his career (-2.5%), but his -5.9% relative zone starts may have something to do with that.

He's being trusted with tougher circumstances, and proving himself in them. And he's definitely climbed under Babcock:

And as for Corrado? His sample size is much smaller, but growth is evident there as well:

What Babcock's doing seems to be working.