Leafs GM Brad Treliving Breaks His Silence On Why He Didn't Break Up The Core Four

Graham Montgomery
September 26, 2023  (8:54 PM)

After the Leafs lost in five games to the Florida Panthers in the second round last season many fans were calling for major change in Toronto.

Specifically, some fans wanted to change up the 'core four'. When former GM Kyle Dubas spoke to the media following the second round exit, it sounded like this might actually happen.
Shortly after that media availability, Dubas was fired and subsequently replaced by Brad Treliving so we may never know what Dubas was planning.
By the time Treliving was brought on, president of hockey operations Brendan Shanahan had already indicated that the team intended to keep all four of the so-called 'core four' together for at least one more season.
Of the four players, John Tavares and Mitch Marner each have contracts expiring at the end of the 2024-25 season, but both Matthews and Nylander were due new contracts at the end of this season.

Treliving Keeps The Band Together

Treliving made it clear that Matthews was the number one priority and he followed up on that by signing the superstar to a four year contract extension with an average annual value of 13.25 million dollars.
Contract negotiations with Nylander are ongoing.
In a recent interview with The Athletic's Jonas Siegel, Treliving was asked about the core four and what he had planned.
"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. 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."

While many Leafs fans were calling for big changes, Treliving kept his cool and stuck to his approach. He held individual meetings with each of the core four players as well as other team personnel in an effort to communicate his vision for the team.
He also made several moves including bringing in players like Tyler Bertuzzi, Max Domi, and Ryan Reaves to supplement the core. With nine players set to be UFAs at the end of this season, Treliving finds himself in a situation that is surprisingly flexible.
Leafs GM Brad Treliving Breaks His Silence On Why He Didn't Break Up The Core Four

Do you think Treliving made the right choice with the core four?

Yes28072.2 %
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