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Maple Leafs eye experienced GM; have spoken to Treliving


The Toronto Maple Leafs’ search for a new general manager is underway after the team announced last week that Kyle Dubas would not return.

TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger reports the Maple Leafs are looking for an experienced candidate and the team is believed to have engaged with former Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving. 

"I want to take you back to last Friday and [team president] Brendan Shanahan laid out the parameters very thoroughly, I would say. Right near the top of his list is an experienced general manager," Dreger said Tuesday on Insider Trading. "I believe they have engaged with Brad Treliving, so the process is underway. What I don’t expect Shanahan and company to do is go through the process similar to what Calgary did, likewise what Pittsburgh is doing in search of their general manager, where they identify as many as maybe a dozen candidates to interview. So, this could be a week, it could be more. No specific timeline, but again they are leaning on experience.

"I know that the St. Louis Blues would like all the speculation around their general manager, Doug Armstrong, linking him to the Toronto Maple Leafs, to go away. A high-ranking source within the Blues’ organization describes the speculation as fabrication. They value Doug Armstrong because of the work that he’s done as general manager – [a] very successful GM and he’s also under contract. So, it’s unlikely Armstrong is going anywhere."

Treliving parted ways with the Flames last month ahead of his contract expiring on June 30. He had served as general manager of the Flames since 2014. 

Armstrong, a 58-year-old from Sarnia, Ont., is one of the most respected executives in the league after leading the Blues to their first Stanley Cup title in 2019. Armstrong joined the Blues' front office in 2008 as the director of player personnel before being named general manager in 2010. 

The 58-year-old is currently on a five-year deal with the Blues, signed through the 2025-26 season.

"There’s no question the reasons Armstrong’s name is out there because the Leafs would have talked about him internally because he is in many ways the ideal candidate – checks all the boxes, except that he’s not available," TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun added. "For him to become available, one of two things would need to happen: Doug Armstrong would have to go to his boss and say ‘This is a special opportunity, can I see what’s going on here?’ Or Brendan Shanahan would have to say ‘I know your GM has three more years left on his deal, but is there any way I can talk to him?’

"Again, it seems like a long shot, but you understand why the speculation is out there, because he would be the ideal fit in Toronto."

The new general manager in Toronto will inherit a long to-do list, with Auston Matthews’ name likely at the top of it. Matthews is eligible for an extension as of July 1, the same day his no-trade clause will kick in for the final year of his current contract.

"Really all there has been is a mountain of speculation – since Kyle Dubas and the Maple Leafs parted ways – about what this might mean for Auston Matthews, whether it’s likely or more likely to get a deal," TSN Hockey Insider Chris Johnston said on Insider Trading. "What I can tell you is nothing has changed since the last time we heard Auston Matthews speak in front of the cameras. It’s his intention to remain in Toronto as he said on locker cleanout day.

"Really, at this point in time, he’s just sitting back and watching and seeing how this plays out. Him and his agent need to get all the data here. Who is the new general manager? What is his or her vision for the team? Who’s coaching the team? All the roster decisions that are coming. I think it’s obviously going to take some time for that to shake loose.

"I should mention as well that the Leafs top players, in their discussions with Brendan Shanahan, were told that they are not likely to be moved, that the vision right now is the core four will be back next year. So that obviously includes Auston Matthews."

Dubas spent the past five seasons as general manager, having taken over the role from Lou Lamoriello in 2018.