Ron Wilson is enroute to Toronto and will meet with Leafs interim GM Cliff Fletcher Monday night in Toronto. It is expected Wilson will sign a contract and officially become the new coach of the Maple Leafs with an announcement expected Tuesday.
Wilson and Fletcher verbally agreed to terms on a four-year contract over the weekend.
Maple Leafs interim general manager Cliff Fletcher told TSN on Sunday morning while they had a verbal agreement, the deal wasn't signed.
"It is not on paper and won't be until at least Tuesday," said Fletcher on Sunday. "There is no contract until it is signed."
The deal is believed to be in the neighborhood of $6.5 million.
Wilson, 53, has spent the last two decades behind the bench, compiling a record of 518-446-127 over his 1,091 games with the San Jose Sharks, Washington Capitals and Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. His career win totals rank third among active coaches, behind Bryan Murray and Mike Keenan. He was also an assistant coach with the Vancouver Canucks in 1991 and 1992 under head coach Pat Quinn.
He enjoyed a career season in 1997-98 as head coach of the U.S. National Team at the 1998 Nagano Olympics, and also led the Capitals to the Stanley Cup Final against the Detroit Red Wings. In 1996, he coached the U.S. to victory at the inaugural World Cup of Hockey.
Wilson, who was fired last month after the Sharks were eliminated from the playoffs by the Dallas Stars, spent five years in San Jose as head coach, leading them to four straight postseason berths and the Western Conference Final in 2004. He holds club coaching records for wins (206), winning percentage (.535) and postseason games coached (52), and the Sharks put together a 206-134-45 record in the regular season and a 28-24 playoff record.
The Maple Leafs are still in search for a general manager to eventually replace Cliff Fletcher, with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Richard Peddie and lawyer Gordon Kirke continuing to work to that end.
Wilson's relationship with Anaheim Ducks' GM Brian Burke adds intrigue to the speculation that the team may wait for Burke in an effort to hire him as general manager next summer. The former college teammates in Providence worked together in Vancouver when Burke was the assistant GM, and Burke is the also the godfather of Wilson's daughter.
Earlier this week, sources told TSN that Wilson was offered the position after meeting with the team on Tuesday. He then returned home to contemplate the offer.