Brad Treliving reveals why he didn't trade Matthews, Marner, Nylander or Tavares this summer

Mike Armenti
September 26, 2023  (1:30 PM)

The Leafs fell short of expectations once again in this past Stanley Cup Playoffs, leaving many thinking that a major shake-up was on the way in Toronto. Former GM Kyle Dubas seemed to be prepared to leave nothing off the table this summer and appeared amenable to the idea of finally mixing up his core, but when he was fired and replaced by ex-Flames GM Brad Treliving, all bets were off.

Before Treliving was hired by the Maple Leafs, President of Hockey Ops, Brendan Shanahan, spoke with the media and revealed that it was his intention to keep the Leafs' core together this summer. As it turns out, Treliving also felt as though that was the best option as well.
In a recent sit-down with The Athletic's Jonas Siegel, the Leafs' GM was asked whether or not he thought about mixing things up and changing the core this summer. He explained why he chose not to do so.
"Coming in and not having an inside view and just saying, 'I've got to do something just because of the narrative here' doesn't make any sense," said Treliving. "I have to get to know it. I have to know where we can improve. But to do something, to take a really good piece and say, 'I'm moving it so I can stand up and say, I made a change' doesn't make sense to me."

This is a mature approach for Treliving to have taken. Most other GMs would want to come in and make a move for the sake of putting their own fingerprints on this team. The fact that Treliving took a more methodical approach, and also a much more human approach, goes to show that perhaps Shanahan and company picked the right guy for the job.
If the goal is to make the Leafs a better team, you don't accomplish that goal by trading away a top player for a return that may be somewhat underwhelming. Tavares had a full NMC, so he wouldn't have been moved. Marner's NMC kicked in on July 1st, as did Auston Matthews' NMC, but those guys were never on the block anyway. Nylander, for as much as people criticize his play, is a great player on a steal of a contract this year ($6.96M). Also, there weren't many trades involving Nylander that would have shown the Leafs as the clear winners in the deal, so most moves for the Swedish winger might have been viewed as a downgrade.
The truth here is that we won't know whether or not running it back was the right decision until April-June. A lengthy playoff run or a Cup victory means that Treliving and company made the right call. Another early exit - well, maybe a trade would have put them in a better position to be able to win.
Brad Treliving reveals why he didn't trade Matthews, Marner, Nylander or Tavares this summer

Do you think Brad Treliving made the right decision to keep the core together in Toronto?

Yes, they have a good team9755.4 %
No, they needed a shake-up4827.4 %
The Leafs suck3017.1 %
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