It’s no secret that Leafs fans are out buying museum tickets for Dougie Hamilton, the best free agent on the market this summer — or at the very least best defenseman. A local boy, the dominant right-shot defenseman has been a white whale for fans ever since they traded his draft pick for Phil Kessel. Now, after nine long years, they might finally have the chance to bring him home.

As free agency approaches, the Leafs have added their new defensive coach for this season, an experienced man by the name of Dean Chynoweth (pronounced “SHIN-owth”). He comes from Carolina, where he has coached Hamilton for the past three seasons. This connection is reminding Leafs fans of 2019 when the personal trainer for John Tavares, Wes Clark, was hired as the assistant director of player personnel days before Tavares signed his blockbuster contract with the Leafs. Could this be history repeating itself?

Under Chynoweth, Hamilton has had some of his best offensive and defensive seasons. He’s consistently been in the 57-58% shot share range, with scoring chances and expected goals both in the same range. He’s gone from being the fourth guy in Carolina to the top minute-eater for the team in the three years since the trade with Calgary. The big reason for this is the power play, but also a growth in defensive trust that has lead to regular minutes on the penalty kill. Clearly Rod Brind'amour believes in Hamilton, and Chynoweth by extension too.

Come home, Dougie, you’ll love it here.

Various Leafs and Branches

Maple Leafs name Dean Chynoweth Assistant Coach | by: Arvind

Imagining Tyler Bertuzzi as a Maple Leaf | by: Katya

Who Vegas drafted and what they did with them | by: Katya

2021 NHL Draft Profile: Brent Johnson | by: Brigstew

Senators Name Pierre McGuire Senior Vice-President of Player Development | by: Silver Seven Sens

TRADE: Oilers Acquire Duncan Keith From Chicago For Caleb Jones And A Third Round Pick | by: Copper and Blue

Hockey Men don’t watch the games, they just feel them with their guts.

In other coaching news:

The Preds are announcing something tomorrow:

And the party continues: