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Treliving Teases Future Of Core Four When Asked About Tkachuk Trade

Brad Treliving was asked if he regretted trading Matthew Tkachuk while in Calgary and his answer may have hinted towards his “core four” plan.

When Brad Treliving was introduced by the Toronto Maple Leafs as the 18th general manager in franchise history on Thursday, he was immediately asked about what he thinks will happen with the “core four” of Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, and John Tavares One media member wanted to know if he’d learned anything from his trading Matthew Tkachuk to the Florida Panthers, subtly hinting that perhaps trading one of the core four might have the same negative result as the Tkachuk deal did on the Flames.

Related: Treliving Introduced as GM of Maple Leafs, Says “Clock is Ticking”

The question was likely meant to remind people of the cautionary tale that is trading an NHL superstar and that, like Tkachuk who has willed the Panthers to the Stanley Cup Final, if the Leafs were to trade one of Matthews or Marner, there’s a good chance they could lose that deal and one of those players could find success in another city. Treliving knows the pressure of a blockbuster trade and the media member who asked about Tkachuk probably wanted to know if Treliving is good living with the consequences of a trade potentially going wrong.

Brad Treliving Matthew Tkachuk trade Flames
Brad Treliving Matthew Tkachuk trade Flames

When asked if he regretted the Matthew Tkachuk trade Treliving said, “It was unique”. He then reminded everyone that Matthew came to the team and said, “It’s time for me to move and I’m not looking to sign long-term”. Treliving said there were challenges and that “We never wanted to Matthew Tkachuk.” Unfortunately, the circumstances presented themselves in Calgary and Treliving was forced to deal with them. He then noted that he’s not entirely convinced the trade won’t benefit the Flames and said that time will dictate how all things play out in Calgary with the players they acquired.

What Can We Learn From Treliving’s Comments

First, don’t expect a trade unless one of the “core four” come to Treliving and ask for one. We know Tavares won’t be asking, and so far, Matthews, Mitch Marner, and William Nylander have all said they’d like to stay put. Treliving talked about how excited he is to have such elite skill and talent and you can’t just go get that in the NHL. “There’s a lot of pain in getting great players,” he said. He wants to talk to each player but seemed to hint that his desire is to keep them unless the circumstances (as they did with Tkachuk) force another move. When asked one more time if he was not opposed to making a deal, he said, “We will look at all things.”

Second, while he didn’t come out and say it, Treliving likely learned that not signing Tkachuk was likely his biggest mistake. There’s no guarantee that the forward would have inked a new deal had he been approached about one prior to letting the Flames know he was intending to leave, but locking in Tkachuk early might have avoided all of the drama. Expect Treliving to learn from that and get his stars in Toronto on board as early as possible.

Treliving noted that the “clock is ticking” in Toronto and the reality is, even though July 1 is a date the Leafs should mark on their calendar because it’s when Matthews’ no-trade kicks in, it will be much earlier than that the Treliving needs to know what’s going on with one of his stars. If a trade has to be maneuvered, the best place to make that deal is the NHL Entry Draft. And, even that poses challenges for Treliving because part of the restrictions imposed by the Calgary Flames is that he is not permitted to sit at the draft table.

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