New GM engaged in preliminary talks with Leafs superstar even before hiring became official

Published May 31, 2023 at 2:42 PM

Brad Treliving has been at the forefront of the Leafs' GM search since the very beginning and the two sides have finally made it official, with the Leafs announcing Treliving as the 18th GM in franchise history today. While most are probably thinking "now the real world begins", you're both right and wrong. Treliving does have a lot of work ahead of him this summer, but even before the hiring was announced, he had actually already started on that work.

According to Sportsnet's Luke Fox, Treliving has already reached out to Auston Matthews and his agent, Judd Moldaver, to engage in preliminary talks and open the lines of communication in hopes of establishing a connection with Matthews that might help when the two sides get together to discuss an extension.

Matthews has said he wanted to stay in Toronto long-term and nothing has changed that. However, per multiple reports, he may not sign on July 1st as he may want to learn the team's plans and direction first. Perhaps that was the purpose of Treliving reaching out to the Matthews camp early - to inform them of what his plans are if hired and to gauge the level of interest Matthews might have in signing on July 1st after all.

Treliving's lived experience with the Gaudreau and Tkachuk ordeals last summer can help him throughout this process. Not only will he want to avoid losing another top player for nothing in free agency, but he'll also want to take the temperature of other stars in the organization to determine whether or not they're content with their current situation. If he has any indication that that may not be the case, he could look to make a move before anything goes public, much like how the Tkachuk situation unfolded.

May 31   |   1337 answers
New GM engaged in preliminary talks with Leafs superstar even before hiring became official

Will Auston Matthews sign on July 1st after all?

Yes53239.8 %
No23317.4 %
He'll sign, just not right away39729.7 %
He's as good as gone17513.1 %
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