TORONTO- Brad Treliving wants to « get to know » Sheldon Keefe before determining if he’s his go-to man to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2023-24.
« Sheldon has brought a lot of good things to the team, » the new general manager said when he was introduced to the media on Thursday. “I saw a group of very skilled players who got better at forechecking, defense and other aspects of the game needed to win. We will sit down, go through a process and come to a conclusion as quickly as possible. [quant à son avenir]. »
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Treviling, hired on Wednesday, had a phone chat with Keefe. He acknowledges that inheriting a coach he is unfamiliar with can be difficult.
« Like I told him, it’s a unique situation, but we’re big boys. There is a change, the situation is unique, but that’s part of the game. What I have seen from the outside, in the last two years, is a team that has collected 115 and 111 points. I think he is a very good coach”, mentioned the newcomer to the Queen City.
Keefe is 166-71-30 in four seasons since taking over from Mike Babcock at the helm of the Maple Leafs on November 20, 2019. Although he has helped the team find success in regular season, Keefe only won one series during his tenure. It was this spring, in the first round against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Keefe was the trusted man of Kyle Dubas, former general manager of the Torontonians. Now, Dubas no longer works within the organization. He was just hired Thursday by the Pittsburgh Penguins. He will be their president of hockey operations.
« To determine if a guy is good, bad or indifferent, you have to work with him and you have to get to know him, » Treliving said. I come here with no preconceived ideas. »
When Treliving got the job as general manager of the Calgary Flames on April 28, 2014, he inherited Bob Hartley as head coach. The latter had led the team since 2012. The GM decided to keep him at the helm of the team, a decision which paid off: Hartley won the Jack-Adams trophy, given to the head coach of the year, starting with Treliving’s first season in Alberta.
“I have a responsibility to bring this group to the level they are trying to reach. The important thing here […] is the team. We are all hockey people and we have a very good team in hand, led by world-class players. It’s hard to have talent, and we have it,” concluded Treliving.