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How much time does Ron Wilson get?

Some of you who follow this site will remember that I forecast, well before the end of the last NHL regular season, that Ron Wilson was a slam dunk to receive a contract extension.

It didn’t happen.

It wasn't really a prediction,  I was absolutely certain that Wilson would get at least one more year in addition to the upcoming 'year number 4' on his initial contract, signed with then interim GM Cliff Fletcher.

Perhaps I had bought into the notion of Burke being loyal to his "guy", even though it was Fletcher who named Wilson to the post originally.  I sensed that Burke would not want Wilson to be a classic "lame-duck" coach heading into an important season, one where a good start would likely be pretty important- a start that lasts longer than the first four games, anyway.

In any event Wilson enters the fourth and, for now, final year of his contract with the Leafs- with no extension in the offing, at least not yet.

Burke went out of his way this past week to make it clear that he has already been "loyal" to Wilson and that if the team starts the season well, then an extension won't be far behind.

By any definition, though, the coach is in a "lame-duck" situation, to be sure.

We’ve discussed Wilson’s strengths and his lesser capabilities in this space over the past couple of years.  He has a long track record as a successful NHL coach, blemished only, really, by his last three years in Toronto and, to a certain extent, by a relative lack of success in the playoffs.

Some will argue that he has had precious little to work with in his three seasons in Toronto.  Others will, correctly, suggest that other coaches have done more, in less time, with not a whole lot more (maybe even less…) talent.

But we are here, now.  No extension.  The Leafs are, on paper, the best team that Wilson has had since he came on board.

But here’s what I’m wondering:  what will it take to earn Wilson an extension?  A .500 start after 20 games?  Is two games above .500 enough after 41 games?

Conversely, what will it take for Burke to do something he rarely does—make a change behind the bench?

Does Wilson see the season out, regardless of how the term does?  Or would certain things happening create the environment where Burke acts “early”?

I believe Wilson is here for the season, and that he will still get his extension.

What do you think?


  1. See, Michael, that's what you get for prognosticating. ;)
    You all know my feelings on this issue. RW, no matter if he gets an extension or not, is, I hope, just a placeholder until Todd Gill is ready to take us to the Promised Land.
    As far as how do I feel about RW and this year, my instinct says BB is getting kind of tired of making excuses for him. He's not an idiot, and I'm sure he can judge RW's competence to a hair. No playoffs this year (which won't happen, of course) and BB fires him into the sun.

  2.'re absolutely right. My job is commenting on what has already happened...when I start trying to "predict", I'm out of my league! (Seriously, I rarely do the "predictions" thing...what people feel/think in September is usually not even close to what reality is come April, so I generally don't bother....and if I do try, I'm usually wrong...)

  3. I think RW's tenure is, ah, tenuous at the moment.
    Bad start, and there's a switch by the end of January.
    REALLY bad start, and he's gone before Christmas.
    So-so year, but no playoffs, it'll be "see ya" at the end of the season.
    If we make the playoffs, he gets the extension.

  4. I wouldn't consider Wilson a lame duck, because at the end of the year, it will be Burke and Wilson's "new" support staff hired by Burke that will decide each of the players future in the organization.

  5. This is more difficult than pre-season predictions on Leafs making playoffs/not.What Burke states publicly & actually believes privately are two vastly different realms.Not difficult if Leafs perform at either end of the spectrum out of the gate.Ten losses in a row, 15, 20, Wilson is of course out.How many wins in a row will it take to get that extension?

    What happens if Reimer gets injured early? Or what happens if Leafs incur a series of unfortunate injuries to a number of top 6 forwards/defense? Does this buy Wilson even more time? Is Burke absolute in his mind playoffs or no extension?

    I believe there is a lot of grey here if Leafs start out and maintain 0.500 record. Even if they are just 0.500 at Xmas there is still a chance for after All-Star break push with this franchise.But again what are Burke's true expectations here?

    Key here is that young man from Morweena Manitoba. Interesting that both Montreal and Nashville scored same number of goals as the Leafs last season, Price and Rinne huge reasons for post-season play (of course defensive system as well). Therefore I suggest Wilson prepare Reimer's warm milk and read him a bed time story every night in order to get that coveted contract extension.