The Toronto Marlies announced today that they have hired Jon Elkin as a goaltending consultant. A few weeks ago, Piero Greco left to join the Islanders, leaving a vacancy.
In 2013-2014, Elkin worked for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds under Kyle Dubas as GM. His goalies that year were two very interesting prospects. Backup Brandon Halverson, an OHL rookie who was drafted in the second round the next summer by the Rangers. He’s now in the Rangers’ system, and is likely going to play in Hartford this year.
Elkin’s starter that year was a fellow by the name of Matt Murray, playing in his last year in the OHL. He had his best season, which is expected at that stage or development, and he’s gone on to, what is it now? Only two Stanley Cups so far.
After that season, Elkin moved to the Arizona Coyotes in 2015-2016, where he certainly got a wide range of experience coaching a very long list of netminders. Arizona is the one team in the NHL that is always willing to trade a goalie.
Elkin joined a staff of goalie coaches led by Sean Burke who was also an AGM. It’s not clear what his responsibilities would have been. The Coyotes had Mike Smith, Louis Domingue and Anders Lindback sharing out the games, with prospect Niklas Treutle playing twice. Veteran Nathan Schoenfeld was also on the roster, but never played.
Treutle was the AHL starter with Marek Langhamer and Domingue assisting him, but there were also three other goalies who played a few games each.
The next year in Arizona, Burke was gone and that left on two coaches for a similar number of NHL-contracted goalies. Smith and Domingue split the starts, but three others show up on the roster, and Tucson’s inaugural AHL season had a crowded crease too.
Last year, the two Coyotes coaches had an even more impressive list of charges with Antti Raanta joining the team to great success, Scott Wedgewood coming on board, and Langhamer, Domingue, Adin Hill and Darcy Kuemper all playing some games.
All of that makes the Marlies situation seem staid by comparison.
The Marlies right now have four goalies: Calvin Pickard, Garret Sparks, Kasimir Kaskisuo and Eamon McAdam. By the time training camp is over, that number is likely to be a little smaller, but looking ahead to the future, Ian Scott could be around for another spring with the Marlies, and eventually, the team needs to start adding prospects, not men of 25 or so.
A coach like Elkin with experience with one of the best goalie prospects in recent history isn’t a bad choice. So he came from the Soo. Some of the best people have. And several of them now work for the Leafs.