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Why hasn’t Ron Wilson signed a new deal as yet?

Does it strike anyone as interesting or even odd that Ron Wilson has not (at least, if he has, it has not been announced publicly to my knowledge) been signed to a contract extension yet?

I’ve posted a few times on his often unfortunate and rather dour approach to his dealings with the press, but how can we not recognize that the guy has been a top NHL coach?

Beyond the “numbers” he has had long runs with now four different NHL teams.  The first team he has not had success with so far is the Leafs.  Arguably, he hasn’t had what he needed to work with to actually be successful.

Given his NHL resume, having taken teams to the Cup finals, his international success, his relationship with Burke, it seemed to me (and maybe it is) a slam dunk that Wilson be signed to an extension beyond the upcoming season, at least for one season.  (That would make it a minimum five years in Toronto, pretty much what he has done in the other markets he has coached in.)

But for some reason, an extension has apparently not happened yet.

Weeks ago, longer, in fact, (click here to read my post from early March) I suggested in this space that a deal would be announced soon after the regular-season ended for the Leafs.  It didn’t happen, evidently.

Is it just the organization waiting for the right moment to make the official announcement?

Or has Burke perhaps thought that, as successful a coach as Wilson has been and is, maybe he (Burke) needs a bit more time to see if Ron is the best fit for the group Burke is putting together.

Let’s face it:  there are all kinds of good coaches out there.  Former NHL coaches (many with great track records—Hartley, Keenan, Quinn, Crawford to name just a few) who are now without a job.  Plus a whole host of guys in the AHL and top-flight junior A coaches.  How many NHL assistants are just waiting for their chance?

Yes, the list is long of guys waiting for their first—or last, in some cases—opportunity.

No, Wilson is not the only guy who could lead the Leafs. The question is:  is there someone out there who is or might be available who could do an even better job?

We all recall that Wilson wasn’t Burke’s “choice”, as Cliff Fletcher made that decision before Burke got here.  So maybe Burke is in an uncomfortable position.  He likes Wilson, and has worked with him over the years on the U.S. national team side of things.

But this is different.  They work elbow to elbow every day, season after season.  Burke is a very involved, opinionated, media-savvy guy.  Wilson presents as more reluctant to engage publicly sometimes the way Burke does. Not that Wilson doesn’t have plenty of opinions.  He’s just a different guy.  He plays the public "game" differently.

I have to believe their relationship is a good one.  But both are impatient for results.

Importantly, Burke does not have a track record of getting rid of coaches.

Not many NHL coaches go three years without making the playoffs—even if they’re working with  line-ups that have been cobbled together—and keep their job.

Maybe Burke wants to see legitimate success, not just occasional spurts of life, before he springs for a new, long-term deal for the coach.

Maybe he needs to see Wilson show that he can still develop top penalty-killing and power-play (at least one of the two) units on a consistent basis.

I don't really know.  I just thought a deal would have been done by now.

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