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Maple Leafs GM Brad Treliving should be taking notes from Kyle Dubas in Pittsburgh

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Photo credit:Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Seney
8 months ago
It’s always important to give credit where credit is due. Pittsburgh Penguins general manager and president of hockey operations, Kyle Dubas, pulled off a massive trade over the weekend and ended up acquiring Norris-trophy winning defenceman Erik Karlsson. In the process, the Penguins also managed to get younger and save $3 million in cap space, even though Karlsson is now on the books for $10 million per season for the next four years.
The trade was creative as hell, it was a great deal for the Penguins and Maple Leafs GM Brad Treliving should be taking some notes. Treliving may need to make a creative trade of his own in 2023-24, if he’s going to be able to make a drastic impact to the roster, while holding onto William Nylander.
The Leafs will be maxed out for cap space throughout next season and it will likely take a third team to help facilitate, if Toronto’s going to be able to make a deal work. What Dubas pulled off in Pittsburgh was a masterpiece and Treliving will be in tough to reach this level of creativity.

Treliving Likely Impressed By Incumbent’s Work

After the Karlsson trade was in advanced talks on Sunday morning, it became obvious the Penguins were going to end up with the mobile defenceman. What was leaving the Penguins was the question everyone started wondering.
Turns out Dubas unloaded three of the Penguins absolute worst contracts in the process, including Jeff Petry, Jan Rutta, and Mikael Granlund.  All three players were fresh to Pittsburgh. Both Petry and Rutta didn’t have strong seasons, meanwhile Granlund arrived mid-season and scored once in 21 games, looking hurtfully out of place on the Pens. Everyone in Pittsburgh were shaking their heads when ex-GM Ron Hextall acquired Granlund for a second-round pick and now Dubas has cleaned up the mess, redecorated, and upgraded several of the finishings.
Dubas deserves all the credit, he went into Pittsburgh, got a lay of the land, spoke to the head coach, captain and several of the executives and made it his goal to clean the books up, but also acquire one of the most talented defenceman in the game.  The Karlsson trade was one of Dubas’ best and certainly a great way for him to kick off his tenure in Pittsburgh. After Treliving did work on the free-agent market in July, look for him to get creative with a trade or two next season. He’ll need to as the Leafs are far from a finished product.

Maple Leaf Trade Winds Are Very Quiet

August is a weird month in the NHL, where normally, not much happens. You have the trickling in of the last bit of free agents to sign new contracts, and like the Karlsson deal, you get the odd blockbuster to shake things up before players start leaving their cottages and making way to training camp. As far as the Leafs go, the trade chatter is awfully quiet at the moment.
Earlier this summer there was William Nylander being discussed as a prime trade candidate after it was obvious the two sides were quite far apart on a new contract extension. While there seems to still be a gap, from all accounts the contract talks are trending in a positive direction. For me, I don’t see Nylander getting moved at all, and even without a contract extension, I’d expect to see #88 finish the season in Toronto.
The same can be said about Auston Matthews. Contract talks have progressed nicely and I’d expect you’d see a deal announced in the next two weeks. My guess would be $13.5 million over four seasons.
Then we had the Matt Murray debacle and it turns out LTIR is the play here as Murray’s apparently injured and cannot play to start next season. Considering he was healthy and available to end last season, certainly a few questions floating around about those fine details. Regardless, he won’t be traded now and the attention will turn to other Leafs.
When it comes to a potential big trade in season for Treliving and the Leafs, the likes of TJ Brodie, Nick Robertson, and Connor Timmins are players to watch. All three could be in play at different points and depending on the deal, could be moved together.
For now though, it’s sunny skies and very quiet when it comes to the Maple Leaf’ trade winds. The Penguins meanwhile pulled off a baby miracle, thanks to some fine work from Dubas. Treliving on the other hand, has a couple of extensions he’d like to get sorted before any sort of blockbuster move is discussed in Leaf land.

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