Brad Treliving, Leafs general manager
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Brad Treliving confirms that we can expect more additions

Published March 19, 2024 at 11:13

The Toronto Maple Leafs can expect to add another player or two from the NCAA free agent market, according to GM Brad Treliving.

With the GM meetings ongoing in Florida this week, it has given reporters a chance to get some 1-on-1 time with the various NHL general managers. For TSN/The Athletic's Chris Johnston, this meant some face time with Treliving.

Johnston had a chance on Monday to probe Treliving for information on a variety of topics, from the successful Ilya Samsonov reclamation project, to his first trade deadline experience with the Leafs and more. One of the most intriguing sections of their conversations, though, came when discussing Treliving's interest in dipping his toe into the NCAA free agent pool.

When the Leafs shipped prospect Dmitry Ovchinnikov off to the Minnesota Wild in the Connor Dewar deal at the trade deadline, rather than just sending a lone draft pick, it left the door open to bring another player in. In fact, the Leafs kept two contract slots open to allow them the ability to pursue some of the top collegiate players who are about to enter the free agent market.

Treliving revealed that he has been very active recently, attending NCAA games in person to get a good, close-up look at some of the top options out there. He told Johnston on Monday that it's his hope that he'll be able to land one of the big fish collegiate UFAs.

"Yeah, we're talking to some of those. That was part of when we did the deal with Connor we added an expiring contract. It was just to give us a little more flexibility, whether we get into the NCAA game or any other (situations) if we add a player."

Treliving admitted that once the deadline passes, a GM is more of a "cheerleader" than anything else, so he has opted to use his time to scour the various markets for some pieces that may help the team over the long-term, as the immediate roster is set for the playoffs.

"You're out seeing more games. That last couple of weeks before the deadline you're focused in on the (NHL) team and what you maybe do with the deadline and 'How do I fill this hole a little bit more?' Really, you feel like you're just a cheerleader now."

Treliving also joked that the ball is in the court of the players and the coaching staff now and that his job now mostly entails drinking coffee, watching the games and reacting like any other fan, which may include shouting the occasional obscenity.

As far as which NCAA free agents Treliving may be interested in, he did not tip his hand and name any names. With the team so thin on the blueline beyond this season, it may make sense to sign someone like Luke Krys, a right-shot D who played at Providence College this season, racking up 6 goals and 11 assists for a total of 17 points in 35 games.

Another area of need for the Leafs is up the middle of the ice, so it wouldn't be shocking to see them pursue a center. Someone like Jacob Quillan, for example, might make sense for the Leafs. The Dartmouth, NS native stands 6 feet and is very thick at 200 lbs. He was able to rack up 15 goals and 29 assists for a total of 44 points across 36 games so far with Quinnipiac University this season. Collin Graf is another potential option at center from Quinnipiac with the 21-year-old enjoying a 48-point campaign.

March 19   |   465 answers
Brad Treliving confirms that we can expect more additions

How many college UFA's will Brad Treliving end up signing over the next few weeks?

Just 112526.9 %
He'll fill both available contract slots27960 %
He won't sign any college UFA's6113.1 %
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