The National Hockey League on Friday announced that Stephane Quintal will head its Department of Player Safety, effective immediately and through to the end of the playoffs.

The announcement comes on the heels of Brendan Shanahan leaving the role to join the Toronto Maple Leafs as president.

Shanahan had been the NHL's chief disciplinarian since 2011, the same year Quintal joined the group.

Quintal, 45, will step into the hot seat of issuing decisions on suspensions and fines related to on-ice conduct as the games ramp up in terms of importance, with the playoffs beginning on April 16.

There were five suspensions during the 2013 post-season, down from 13 the previous playoff campaign.

The first ruling under the aegis of Quintal came Friday afternoon, when Minnesota's Mike Rupp was suspended four games for an illegal check to the head of St. Louis forward T.J. Oshie in Thursday's game. 

Quintal was a first-round draft choice of the Boston Bruins in 1987 who went on to play 1,037 games as an NHL defenceman. The Boucherville, Que., native played for the Montreal Canadiens for seven of those seasons, with stops also in St. Louis, Winnipeg, Chicago and New York with the Rangers.