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5 Reasons Treliving Can Be a Good Maple Leafs GM: One Maybe

It looks as if the Toronto Maple Leafs have hired Brad Treliving as the team’s new GM. Why could he be solid in that role? Why might he not?

The truth is that, when I heard that Brad Treliving would be named the new general manager (GM) of the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight, the first question I posed in my head was to wonder who he might bring in as the new coach. 

I have named this post, “Five Reasons Brad Treliving Can Be a Good GM: One Reason Not So Much.” When Treliving left Calgary, one of the reasons seemed to be his deteriorating relationship with then-coach Darryl Sutter. 

That made the situation between the two men difficult; but, in my mind, it’s a positive for his hiring with the Maple Leafs.

Brad Treliving Maple Leafs GM Job

Here’s my question that made me wonder about Treliving: “Why in the world would Treliving ever believe that Sutter could be the leader that would bring home the Stanley Cup to Calgary?”

That’s my “Maybe.” As I said, perhaps it’s a positive for his new job. While it hasn’t yet been made official, it seems all but signed, sealed, and delivered.

Related: Ex-Maple Leafs’ GM Dubas: Symbol of Hockey’s Generation Gap

Treliving Was The Frontrunner All the Way

The rumours were that Teliving has been seen as the number one candidate for the GM job with the Maple Leafs from the get-go. That’s mainly due to his experience and the skills needed for the job he’ll have to do in Toronto. 

Here are five reasons why Treliving could be a strong choice as the Maple Leafs’ GM:

Reason One: Treliving Has Experience in Similar Situations 

Treliving has the experience, which was the key trait Brendan Shanahan noted from the start of the GM search. He previously dealt with challenging situations that involved star players and contract negotiations during his tenure as the GM of the Flames. 

Matthews & Nylander are both up for contract extensions.

That experience should be valuable when navigating potential contract disputes or trade discussions with high-profile players like Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and William Nylander.

Reason Two: Treliving Has to Have Learned from Past Mistakes

You really don’t want someone in the GM’s position who has not made mistakes, because you know they will come. In this case, Treliving made the “right” mistakes. He trusted that Johnny Gaudreau would re-sign with the team and allowed him to play the season without a contract extension. Gaudreau walked to the Columbus Blue Jackets in free agency. The Flames got zilch in return for a really solid player.

Having gone through such tough decisions and experienced both successes and setbacks, Treliving has gained valuable insights and lessons from his time in Calgary. That kind of knowledge (the big mistake) can help him avoid repeating that same mistake again. 

Mistakes allow for better-informed decisions that can benefit the team’s long-term goals.

Related: Maple Leafs’ Offseason: 4 Priorities the Team Must Engage

Reason Three: Treliving Has Learned How to Manage the Salary Cap

Treliving has demonstrated skill in managing the salary cap and building a competitive roster within this era of budget constraints. Given that the Maple Leafs will likely be in a salary-cap crunch for the foreseeable future, that knowledge can be crucial. 

The team will have a number of high-value contracts popping up soon, and Treliving’s expertise in salary-cap management could prove vital in maintaining a competitive team while keeping the core intact.

Reason Four: Treliving Has Trade Negotiation Skills 

Treliving has experienced making significant trades under a ton of pressure and without holding the better hand. Specifically, Calgary found itself in a tough spot when Matthew Tkachuk made it clear that he would not be re-signing with the team. 

The Flames then had to explore trade options for the 24-year-old star forward, who was coming off a 100-point season. Because Tkachuk was a restricted free agent (RFA), he had leverage in determining which teams he would be willing to sign long-term extensions with. 

Huberdeau Weegar Tkachuk trade
Huberdeau Weegar Tkachuk trade

Tkachuk effectively created a situation where he had a de facto no-trade clause, without having one written into his contract. Treliving was in a difficult spot, but he managed to complete the first sign-and-trade in NHL history. 

It meant that Tkachuk agreed to a contract extension with the Florida Panthers before the trade was finalized. It then allowed the Flames to acquire valuable assets in return. 

The trade was a creative strategy the could open up possibilities for other NHL teams when dealing with RFAs. It would allow teams to agree to assets in return instead of potentially losing a player for nothing in free agency.

Reason Five: Treliving Is Resilient and Composed 

Because the specific role of a GM in Toronto comes with huge public scrutiny and the pressure of a caring (sometimes to a fault) fanbase, it’s a tough job. Treliving has already similar demands from a passionate Calgary fanbase.

It should help him handle a high-pressure environment like Toronto with composure.

The Bottom Line

Assuming that the decision of who will become the next general manager of the Maple Leafs has been made and it’s Treliving, his experience, knowledge, and ability to navigate challenging situations make him a potential solid GM for this particular role. 

Now we’ll see how he does under the pressure of time. July 1 is fast approaching, and there’s work to be done.

Related: Five Moves the Maple Leafs Must Make: And Now!

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. afp1961

    May 31, 2023 at 10:46 am

    Jim as you know I have never been a big Dubas fan. From day one I derided the notion of giving the keys to the greatest NHL team/franchise on earth to a rookie. And rookie mistakes did he make for the first three years of his tenure when I believe the seeds of our current situation were sown. Last two years admittedly dubas improved, changed his blueprint and became more of a conformist to what many believe is the right ingredient to win playoff hockey in todays NHL. Alas too little too late.

    Now we have an experienced guy that has gone through all the rigors, trials and tribulations inalbeit a Canadian but smaller market. Treliving will have all the bells and whistles, tools, infrastructure, budget, back off mgmt staff, trainers, chefs, shake makers and sports pyschologists he would ever want. Now its time to drive more accountability into this overly entitled group.

    Cannot wait to see the first 3-5 moves he makes. Beginning with Matthews, then coaching staff, Marner & Nylander, samsonov and stabilizing the goaltending…..

    • gfinale

      May 31, 2023 at 12:50 pm

      Totally agreed, can’t wait!! My guess is Marner traded soon. Handshake agreement with Matthews or out by July 1 too. Nylander can wait, only 10 team and probably worth more at trade deadline, if needed.

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  4. gfinale

    May 31, 2023 at 12:35 pm

    1. He’s not Dubas!
    2. He’s not Dubas

  5. gfinale

    May 31, 2023 at 12:37 pm

    Who thinks Shanahan possibly had Treliving all lined up in case the Dubas thing didn’t work out? He sure didn’t seem to spend any time with anyone else.

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