One helped make him the player he has become, the other gave him a chance in the National Hockey League.

Maple Leafs defenceman Mike Kostka has equal respect for Florida Panthers coach Kevin Dineen and the man who sends him over the boards now, Randy Carlyle.

Dineen cut Kostka at Panthers camp in 2011, but had coached the Etobicoke native for two years with Portland of the American Hockey League.

That both Dineen and Carlyle were solid NHL players with lengthy careers certainly was not lost on Kostka.

"We had a ton of respect for Kevin, and a lot of that stemmed from his coaching, but also his track record and career he had in the NHL as a player," Kostka said.

"Whenever you have played for a guy who has played in and had a lot of success at the NHL level, there is initially that respect going into it before you even get things going, and Randy is a great coach as well. It is harder for guys if they have not played for the players to relate to them."