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Look for Maple Leafs to Get Bigger & Tougher Soon

The Toronto Maple Leafs’ new general manager (GM) Brad Treliving is a different kettle of fish than former GM Kyle Dubas. Perhaps it’s because Treliving was himself a hockey defenseman standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 225 pounds. However, how that translates to players is that Dubas liked skill over physicality and Treliving now wants to have some big, physical guys around.

The word is that Trelivng might be (will likely be?) considering adding size and physicality to the team’s bottom-six forward group.

Related: Why David Kampf Is a Huge Re-Signing for the Maple Leafs

In a Phone Conversation, Elliotte Friedman Noted Ryan Reaves

The video below comes from Friedman joining the Jeff Marek Show to discuss what the Maple Leafs will do with their bottom-six forward group. Friedman explains why Treliving could go after players like Ryan Reaves or Miles Wood.

As Friedman discussed these potential options – Reaves or Wood – he highlighted Treliving’s desire to enhance the Maple Leafs’ roster with players who bring a physical presence. Is that going to be a deal going forward for this team?

Friedman Notes Exploring Trade Possibilities

Friedman also suggests that the Maple Leafs might utilize their draft picks and prospects to pursue trades that could bring in players known for their size and toughness. He believes acquiring Tom Wilson from the Washington Capitals is a bit of a pipe dream; however, he speculates that players like Reaves or Wood could fit the profile the team is seeking.

As Friedman speculates, the team’s goal would be to add players who could contribute to the bottom-six or potentially even the top-six forward group. At the same time, they would have to provide a physical presence on the ice.

The plan sort of reminds me of the first season Wayne Simmonds was in Toronto. Until he broke his wrist, he was regularly part of the team’s top six. Eventually, it didn’t work out for the team.

Related: Maple Leafs Treliving Hints at Samsonov Contract Agreement

Treliving Reliving His Time from Calgary

Because Treliving previously served as the GM of the Calgary Flames, Friedman speculated that he might be adopting a similar strategy with the Maple Leafs that he used during his time with Calgary. Friedman recalled Treliving’s efforts to acquire physical players during that time, including a pursuit of players like Miles Wood.

This recent history suggests that Treliving values players who bring a rugged, hard-hitting style to the ice. At Calgary that included players like Milan Lucic.

Identifying Potential Targets

Friedman noted that, although Wilson might not be a realistic trade option, he suggests that players with a similar profile could be on the Maple Leafs’ radar. Again he noted Miles Wood as a potential target. In doing so, he acknowledged Wood’s physical presence and ability to contribute to the team’s needs.

That need now seems to be focusing on finding players who could embody the physicality that the Leafs desire. It would seem that, while Treliving appreciates the skill and finesse his team has, he wants to complement that skill and finesse by adding physicality to the team’s roster.

The Bottom Line

It would also seem that, although Treliving is bringing back some of the same team former GM Dubas built, he also has some ideas of his own. The one noted here is to build a team that’s much harder to play against.

That will likely happen AFTER the team works out its first priority. That would be to extend the contracts of Auston Matthews and William Nylander. When that is done – we’ll see how Treliving rebuilds the team’s bottom-six units.

Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Kampf, Karlsson & Shiny Objects



  1. Chris

    June 28, 2023 at 10:34 pm

    Size and toughness are useless without skill; Reaves didn’t have a single point in six playoff games. If Treliving can’t tell the difference between why you should acquire a Wilson and why you shouldn’t sign a Reaves, then the Leafs are in trouble.

    • gfinale

      June 29, 2023 at 8:46 am

      It sounds like Reeves would have fit in perfectly with the Corpse 4 during the second round! Seriously though, I agree!

  2. gfinale

    June 29, 2023 at 7:58 am

    Yes, quite! The Leafs with Treliving are starting the big and physical with Easton Cowan!!!

    • gfinale

      June 29, 2023 at 8:03 am

      Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone gets fired by Treliving for picking Cowan 28th while Treliving could not be involved. He must have left some instructions and that wouldn’t have been it.

  3. gfinale

    June 29, 2023 at 8:15 am

    The Leafs simply haven’t had the cap to get top 6 physical players with way too much of it tied up in the soft Corpse 4. Simmonds was the closest thing that first year and should have been a wake up call. They can’t just get a token tough guy or two, they need the skill to play as well. Think Bob Probert, Wendel Clark, Darcey Tucker, Shanahan, Gordie Howe! It’s a big part of a good team and it has been MASSIVELY missing during this entire Corpse 4 playoff losing era!

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