It has been simply over every week since Brad Treliving was introduced because the new Toronto Maple Leafs basic supervisor (GM). Treliving has plenty of choices to kind out in a comparatively brief time frame.
Choice One: The Contract Extension with Auston Matthews
After all, the primary choice on the agenda is the scenario with famous person Auston Matthews. His contract runs out on the finish of the 2023-24 season. A part of holding him glad must do with cash, and the way a lot the Maple Leafs are prepared to pay to maintain him within the fold.
Simply as importantly, Treliving has the problem of convincing Matthews that the staff shouldn’t be going to take a step backward within the upcoming seasons. If he have been to determine to change into an unrestricted free agent (UFA) on the finish of subsequent season, he would have quite a few suitors to select from. It will make sense that he would wish to play for a staff with a strong probability to compete for the Stanley Cup now. Treliving must show to Matthews that the Maple Leafs are a type of groups.
So, setting the direct negotiations with Matthews and his agent Judd Moldaver apart, Trelving must construct, or at the least keep, a aggressive staff round Matthews.
Choice Two: What to Do with Maple Leafs’ Head Coach Sheldon Keefe
Treliving’s second choice is what to do with the present head coach. That call places coach Sheldon Keefe squarely on the new seat. Strike one for Keefe is that he’s a coach who was employed by earlier GM Kyle Dubas. That’s not a great place to be in. New GMs often like to usher in their very own head coaches.
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Strike two for Keefe is the truth that he solely has one 12 months remaining on his current contract. That contract represents zero job safety. Curiously, there’s a hearsay that the Maple Leafs would possibly prolong him. It is smart as a result of Toronto was a staff prepared to pay Mike Babcock over $30 million to not coach. In distinction, the $2 million that Keefe presently makes is peanuts as compared.
Nonetheless, it’s solely possible the Maple Leafs may provide to increase Keefe’s contract for an additional 12 months or two and determine six months later to fireplace him. Wanting again, in 2011-12 the Maple Leafs gave then-head coach Ron Wilson a contract extension in December, solely to show round and fireplace him three months later.
What We Presently Know
The one two issues that we all know so far are (a) Keefe has not been fired but and (b) Treliving and Keefe are speaking. The most important query that should be answered of their conferences collectively is whether or not Treliving and Keefe share the identical imaginative and prescient. What’s the proper route the Maple Leafs must go if they’re to take the following step of their growth?
However there’s additionally a second vital query, and it’s one we’re certain Treliving and Matthews are speaking about. That’s how he feels about Keefe as a coach. Depend on the truth that these conversations are more than likely occurring with the opposite core Maple Leafs’ gamers as nicely.
We Will All Quickly Know How These Conferences Go
We’ll all know the way these conferences go quickly sufficient. If Treliving does determine that Keefe shouldn’t be the correct coach for this staff, there can be no benefit in ready to launch Keefe of his duties. In reality, as a result of that has not occurred but, we would assume the conferences that relate to Keefe’s future with the staff have gone in his favor.
Treliving shared that he was open to retaining Keefe because the Maple Leafs’ coach. Maybe that’s the way in which he’s at present leaning.
Nonetheless, Does Any of This Take away Keefe From the Scorching Seat?
With that being the case, does that take away Keefe’s butt from the new seat? After all, it doesn’t. There’ll nonetheless be stress on the Maple Leafs to carry out proper out of the gate subsequent season. If they’ve an analogous begin to the one that they had final season (4-4-2 in October) or the season earlier than (4-4-1 in October), there may not be the identical willingness to let the staff “trip it out.”
If there was a shedding streak, and it prolonged into November, regardless of a vote of confidence from administration and even when Keefe has a contract extension in hand, he may nonetheless discover himself out of a job. No matter what occurs within the subsequent few days or perhaps weeks, Keefe can be on the new seat to maintain this staff profitable and shifting ahead.
It isn’t a strong place to seek out oneself in, however it appears to be a lifestyle for NHL coaches.
[Note: I want to thank long-time Maple Leafs’ fan Stan Smith for collaborating with me on this post. Stan’s Facebook profile can be found here.]