The Toronto Maple Leafs have made a huge change this offseason. Kyle Dubas is out as the team’s general manager (GM). That means a new person will be hired.
A number of potential candidates would like to be considered for the vacant GM position. The reason is simple. The Maple Leafs GM job is one of the most attractive in the NHL. What makes it such a plumb job?
And, what challenges lie ahead for the person who eventually is hired?
Related: Complexities of the Maple Leafs Signing Matthews to an Extension
The Maple Leafs GM Job Is a Coveted Opportunity
When a top job in the NHL’s general manager club becomes available, it’s rare. The Maple Leafs GM job is appealing partly because it’s an Original Six team. But perhaps even more, the team is strong. Usually, when a GM position pops up, it’s because the previous person did not have success.
That’s not so true in Toronto. Sure, the team had its playoff struggles, but the Maple Leafs have been consistent winners during the past five regular seasons. The team has a young core of talented players in their mid-20s, and the potential for success is undeniable.
In short, this team has been a powerhouse; and, unless huge changes are made, it’s likely to continue to be so over the next while. For a GM, it’s an enticing opportunity. That said, the team is not without its challenges.
One Challenge Is the Salary Cap and Addressing the Team’s Core
One of the key challenges for any new general manager will be determining the future of the team’s core players. The biggest question is whether or not to keep the team’s Core Four together. Or, should a new GM make changes to the team’s central structure?
Certainly, most Maple Leafs’ fans would like to break up the Core Four. They are not alone. Many outsiders suggest that, until the salary-cap upper limits are increased, breaking up the core is the most reasonable thing to do. However, Maple Leafs’ president Brendan Shanahan has indicated his intention to keep them together.
What happens if a new GM believes a different approach is needed? Could that be a possible change; or, will Shanahan’s assurance to the top players trump any ideas the new GM might have? Surely, that very question has to be a topic of conversation during the hiring process. Few GMs would jump at the chance to go into a job without the necessary authority to make the moves he believes will help shape the team in a positive direction.
Related: Is Brad Treliving Really a Contender for the Maple Leafs’ GM Job?
A Second Challenge Would Be Evaluating the Team
Because it’s tough to objectively evaluate the team from the inside, it’s essential to consider all insights when assessing what the Maple Leafs need to improve. The new GM needs to seek input from those outside the organization; however, given the news that the exit interviews with players were “rough,” the new GM needs to interview current team personnel. These valuable perspectives on what changes might be needed are crucial for getting the pulse of the team.
The biggest problem with any new GM is that all this work must be done in a hurry. It’s a time of transition, but the transition shouldn’t take too much time. There are significant contract issues ahead for key players such as Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and William Nylander. These decisions need to be made on the sooner side, and any new GM must figure things out quickly. As well, because of the value of each player, these negotiations might be delicate.
The Maple Leafs GM Job Is Highly Attractive
Sure, there are a ton of challenges; however, the Maple Leafs GM job is highly attractive. The potential is there, even though postseason success has eluded the team. That said, any GM worth his salt would love to have the chance to be the one who breaks the almost 60-year Stanley Cup drought. That would put the person into the centre of Maple Leafs’ history.
This team has a core of talented and young players who can do the job. Their regular-season success proves as much. How far away is the chance for significant improvement? The opportunity to push this team forward simply has to be enticing for candidates.
Is Brad Treliving the Front Runner?
All this post has been theorizing about the possible position of power the team’s new GM might possess. Could this job be one of destiny?
And, specifically speaking, could former Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving be the person to carry the torch? He seems to be the current frontrunner. Time will tell, but not too much time.
There’s work to do.
Related: Why Brad Treliving Is Growing on Me as Maple Leafs’ GM
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May 26, 2023 at 9:31 pm
The main reason the GM or head coach job for the Leafs is sought after when they have a decent chance is that, if they win the Cup, they’re a hero of the biggest hockey city and hockey fan base in the world! No good GM is going to take the position if they must keep the “core” 4 though.