The Ottawa Senators named D.J. Smith their new head coach on Thursday.
The team announced a three-year agreement with Smith, who spent the past four seasons as an assistant on Mike Babcock’s staff with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“D.J. Smith is a winner. We believe he is the best person to drive the development and success of the Ottawa Senators,” Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said in a team release. “D.J is a great communicator and an exceptional strategist. His passionate approach, coupled with his ability to teach the game, is exactly what we were looking for throughout the process. We’re thrilled to welcome D.J. and his family to Ottawa.”
Prior to joining the Maple Leafs, Smith served as head coach of the OHL’s Oshawa Generals and won the Memorial Cup with the team in 2015. In three seasons with the Generals, Smith compiled a 135-53-3-13 record and was named OHL Coach of the Year in 2013-14. He won two Memorial Cup titles as a assistant coach in six seasons with the Windsor Spitfires before joining the Generals.
“I’m so happy for DJ,” Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock told TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun on Thursday. “One thing I believe is the idea that if you come and work with me, you share your info, I share mine, and you get to go on your way. I’m pumped for him. We had four years together. Now he’s set up good. He feels good. He’s a good coach, he’s a good man, he’s going to do a good job. They’re lucky to have him.’’
With DJ Smith’s move to OTT and expectation that Jim Hiller will be going elsewhere too, there are openings on the TOR bench. One is expected to be filled by Paul McFarland. He coached the Panthers No. 2-ranked PP last season
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) May 23, 2019
New Leafs assistant coach Paul McFarland, 33, has close ties to DJ Smith from coaching together in Oshawa.
Appears Leafs were planning on having them together as assistants before Ottawa swooped in and hired Smith.
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) May 23, 2019
The @MapleLeafs announced today that the hockey club has hired Paul McFarland as an assistant coach.
The Maple Leafs also announced assistant coach Jim Hiller has been granted permission to explore opportunities outside the organization.
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) May 23, 2019