TORONTO - Brad Treliving has a long to-do list as the new general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The No. 1 priority is sitting down with the team's best player.
Named the 18th GM in franchise history following the stunning dismissal of Kyle Dubas last month, Treliving plans to soon visit with star centre Auston Matthews, who is set to enter the final year of his contract and can sign an extension July 1.
“We're not talking about a good player,” Treliving said Thursday as he met the media for the first time at Scotiabank Arena. “We're talking about an elite player in the world. Getting to Auston is a priority. But outside of the contract ... just getting to build that relationship.
“It's not walking down and trying to arm wrestle about contracts. It's getting down and me getting a chance to meet him. But more importantly, having Auston get a chance to meet me (and) know what we're about.”
Treliving added he will also sit down with head coach Sheldon Keefe to chart a path forward, but didn't commit to him being behind the bench next season.
“I think he's a really good coach,” Treliving said. “My view is determining whether a guy is good, bad or indifferent, you have to work with him. You have to get to know him.
“I'm coming in with no preconceived notions.”
Treliving left the Calgary Flames in April after nine seasons in charge.
An extremely busy stretch ahead includes preparing for the NHL draft and free agency, which could see as many as 12 roster players go to market.
“We'll go pedal down here pretty quick,” Treliving said. “This is not the dating game ... we're going to get right into pushing hard here.”
Similar to Matthews, fellow star forward William Nylander can sign a contract extension July 1. Matthews and winger Mitch Marner will also have their full no-movement clauses kick in the same day, while Nylander gets a 10-team list.
“There's a lot to do,” Treliving said. “And the clock is ticking.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 1, 2023.