Brad Treliving is the leading candidate to be the next general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports.
“Until I’m given any reason to believe otherwise, I’m leaning more and more towards him. But it’s not set 100 per cent, not confirmed,” Friedman said in an interview on NHL Network on Tuesday.
The former Calgary Flames GM would replace Kyle Dubas, who was let go by the Leafs on May 19 after five years at the helm. Toronto was ousted in five games in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Florida Panthers – following losses in the first round of the post-season in Dubas’ first four years in charge.
The Flames and Treliving mutually agreed to part ways in April after the team missed the playoffs.
Treliving was hired as Flames’ GM in April 2014.
The Leafs have had plenty of off-ice drama since being eliminated. Four days before Dubas was fired, he said during a press conference he wasn’t sure he wanted to return to the Leafs as GM because of family considerations. He had a contract that expires in June.
Three days later, Dubas’ agent sent new financial requests to Leafs president Brendan Shanahan. The next day, Shanahan informed Dubas he was no longer GM.
Coach Sheldon Keefe, hired by Dubas and with long-standing ties to the ex-Leafs GM, has one year left on his contract.
The new Leafs GM will also have key decisions to make on some of the Leafs’ top players.
Top forwards Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews and William Nylander (10 teams) all have no-movement clauses as of July 1. Matthews is eligible to sign a long-term extension the same day.
The Flames made the post-season five times in nine seasons under Treliving, with their best showing being two second-round appearances.
Last summer, Treliving had to do some heavy lifting after Johnny Gaudreau signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets in free agency and fellow star forward Matthew Tkachuk indicated he would not be open to re-signing a long-term deal with the Flames. Treliving dealt Tkachuk to the Panthers for forward Jonathan Huberdeau and defenceman MacKenzie Weegar in a deal that was widely praised, considering the lack of leverage for Calgary.
However, the Flames had a rocky season, with reported friction between players and coach Darryl Sutter, as well as between Sutter and Treliving.
After Treliving left the Flames, the team later fired Sutter.