Toronto Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan publicly admitted last Friday there was urgency for his team to find its next GM after walking away from Kyle Dubas last week. Not surprisingly, a week later, it appears the Leafs are hard at work assessing potential candidates for the job.
According to Daily Faceoff insider Frank Seravalli, the Leafs’ list of GM interviewees is expected to, at minimum, include Jason Botterill, Marc Bergevin, Brad Treliving and Peter Chiarelli.
As the process to find next #LeafsForever GM gets moving, I’d expect Toronto to interview at a minimum Jason Botterill, Marc Bergevin, Brad Treliving and Peter Chiarelli – if they haven’t already.
Four names to chew on in TO.@DailyFaceoff
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) May 26, 2023
The list of names reflects Shanahan’s assertion last week that experience would be an attractive trait in Toronto’s next GM hire.
After many successful seasons working in the Pittsburgh Penguins system and running their AHL affiliate, Botterill was GM of the Buffalo Sabres from 2017-18 through 2019-20. The Sabres struggled badly during those years, and he was maligned by many after dealing Ryan O’Reilly the summer before he won the Stanley Cup, Conn Smythe Trophy and Selke Trophy, but the hindsight on that trade has changed dramatically in the years since. Tage Thompson, the key piece Buffalo acquired in the deal, has blossomed into a superstar. Botterill spent the past three years as assistant GM of the expansion Seattle Kraken.
Treliving has the most recent experience, having just parted ways with the Calgary Flames following their elimination from playoff contention in April. In nine seasons under his watch, the Flames won two Pacific Division titles, but they only won just a single playoff series – two if you count their qualifying round victory in the 2020 bubble. Treliving was backed into a corner when his two superstars, Matthew Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau, wanted out last summer and was perceived to have done well in replacing them with Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar via trade and Nazem Kadri via free agency, but it wasn’t enough to keep Calgary in the playoff picture this season.
Bergevin currently works as a senior advisor for the Los Angeles Kings. Before that, he served as GM of the Montreal Canadiens for close to 10 seasons, building a team that reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2020-21. Like Treliving, Bergevin brings years of experience working in a hockey-hotbed Canadian market, but he would be the most polarizing hire among the candidates mentioned Friday given his regime drafted Logan Mailloux 31st overall in 2021 despite him renouncing the draft after being convicted of a crime of a sexual nature.
Chiarelli won a 2010-11 Stanley Cup as GM of the Boston Bruins, a position he held from 2006-07 through 2014-15. He wasn’t nearly as successful in helming the Edmonton Oilers, taking them to one playoff berth in four seasons despite being gifted the Connor McDavid pick No. 1 overall in his first draft as Oilers GM. Chiarelli has worked with the St. Louis Blues for the past several seasons, first as a senior advisor and most recently as their vice-president of hockey operations.