After a work week bookended by candid press conferences and endless speculation, the Toronto Maple Leafs are on the hunt for a general manager.
Team president Brendan Shanahan announced Friday the club and GM Kyle Dubas – who was on an expiring contract – decided to "part ways." Also gone are AHL coaches Greg Moore, A.J. MacLean, and John Snowden. Meanwhile, Jason Spezza, Dubas' special assistant, reportedly resigned.
All of this turbulence comes with several franchise-altering decisions coming to a head over the next six weeks. The future of head coach Sheldon Keefe is to be determined, the draft goes June 28-29, and, on July 1, free agency opens and trade protection kicks in for multiple core players.
"I want to be very thoughtful and thorough, but I do think it is a priority and it needs to happen rather soon," Shanahan said of the timeline for hiring a GM.
Here's a non-exhaustive list of potential candidates.
Treliving, a 53-year-old longtime executive who recently parted ways with the Calgary Flames following nine seasons as GM, checks off a lot of boxes.
Shanahan noted previous GM experience would be an "attractive quality" – check; experience managing a Canadian franchise – check; history of pulling off a bold, complicated, star-studded trade in the offseason – check, thanks to the Jonathan Huberdeau-Matthew Tkachuk blockbuster in late July 2022.
TSN's Chris Johnston believes Treliving is actually the favorite to win the job.
Where Treliving's candidacy takes a hit: The Flames failed to make it past the second round of the playoffs during his tenure. Now, just like the Huberdeau-Tkachuk trade not working out for Calgary in Year 1, a lack of playoff success isn't entirely Treliving's fault. As with Dubas and the Leafs, players and coaches must execute. Nevertheless, Treliving deserves some blame.
Pridham, one of four assistant GMs under Dubas, is, for all intents and purposes, the Leafs' interim GM. He's the new point of contact for rival executives, and Shanahan will be considering him for the permanent job.
Hired out of the NHL's head office early on in Dubas' run, then promoted to AGM in 2018, Pridham was Dubas' right-hand man. The 49-year-old is a salary-cap wiz who's well-connected in the hockey operations and player agency worlds.
In other words, Pridham is the leading internal option. Hiring from within would have its benefits, given the short runway to complete a lengthy to-do list, which includes potentially trading Mitch Marner or William Nylander and figuring out what to do with 11 free agents, including RFA goalie Ilya Samsonov.
It's fair to say Pridham and Dubas were probably on the same page for a lot of managerial decisions. They're that tight. Would hiring Pridham then mean the Leafs are essentially extending the Dubas era? Or, conversely, would the new guy be able to assess and correct Dubas' missteps better than anyone else?