Tag: Brendan Shanahan

Peter Chiarelli

Report: Toronto approached Chiarelli before he took Oilers job


Peter Chiarelli is already at work assessing the Edmonton Oilers depth chart.

The newly appointed President of Hockey Operations and GM of the Oilers was reportedly at prospect Leon Draisaitl’s game with the Kelowna Rockets on Friday night. With Chiarelli on the scouting trip was former GM Craig MacTavish.

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Chiarelli has asked MacTavish to remain with the club at a position, which has yet to be defined. Chiarelli is also expected to meet with current Oilers’ head coach Todd Nelson in the coming days.

Friedman reports that prior to Chiarelli taking the Oilers job, the Leafs called the 50-year-old to gauge his interest in the in the Toronto vacancy.

The Leafs fired GM Dave Nonis along with interim head coach Peter Horachek and several scouts on April 12.

Leafs’ President Brendan Shanahan is also reportedly interested in both Sean Burke and George McPhee for GM role. The pair are currently part of Team Canada’s management staff for the upcoming World Hockey Championship.

Nonis ‘disappointed’, but understands firing

Dave Nonis

Part of Dave Nonis felt he was meeting with President Brendan Shanahan to discuss the next phase of their rebuilding plan when the two met on April 12 – the day after the regular season ended.

Speaking for the first time since his firing, Nonis tells the Toronto Sun’s Steve Simmons part of him also felt change was coming.

“He told me he was making a change,” Nonis said of the conversation with Shanahan. “I pretty much knew what he was thinking … I understand the reasons behind it. I’m not mad at Brendan. He’s still a friend of mine. But still, I was disappointed.

“There’s no hard feelings or ill will. I understand why he decided to make the change. I was hoping it wouldn’t happen. I thought we got along very well throughout the year. But I’ve been in the game a long time. I understand why you do this.”

Nonis along with interim head coach Peter Horachek and several scouts were let go at the conclusion of the Leafs’ season, which saw Toronto finish 30-44-8 – good for 27th overall.

“It’s a combination of everything,” said Nonis of the Leafs’ struggles. “I wish I could pinpoint all the reasons of what went wrong. I know people put the collapses together. But I don’t. The last three were different. There’s a lot of blame to go around. But I still don’t think this is a bottom-four roster. There are a lot of assets here. And with the draft picks we’ve accumulated, hopefully a lot of assets going forward.”

Under Nonis’ leadership the Leafs qualified for the playoffs in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season snapping a seven-year drought. It was Nonis’ first season as GM of the club and it earned him a five-year contract extension, which will earn him a reported $6 million over the next three years.

One of Nonis’ biggest failures in his tenure as Leafs’ GM was the signing of David Clarkson to a seven-year, $36.75 million contract. Nonis dealt Clarkson ahead of the March trade deadline to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Nathan Horton, who will likely never play again.

The 48-year-old confirmed he had deals in place for other Leafs’ veterans at the deadline as well.

“I could have traded Dion (Phaneuf) at the deadline,” said Nonis. “We had a deal, it wasn’t a great one, but it was a deal. I look at Phil and Dion and I still think they’re elite, upper-end players. They both could be traded, but it’s not like the Leafs are stuck with them if they’re back. I think they can come back and help them.”

When it comes to Phil Kessel, Nonis doesn’t believe moving the forward should be a top priority.

“I don’t think they have to move Phil Kessel,” said Nonis. “You only move him if you decide the return is worth it. If you don’t get value for him, you’re only hurting your team. I believe the baggage that comes with Phil is overblown. Are there things he has to change? Absolutely. But I can assure you of this: Whatever team wins the Stanley Cup this year will have a Phil Kessel in the lineup. I can guarantee that.

“Does he have things to work on? Yes. But he has something other players don’t have. He does have pride and he does want to win. He has to learn to focus some of those characteristics and do a better job. But he’s not a player they have to move.”

As for what’s next? Nonis doesn’t plan on sitting around and collecting his checks from the Leafs.

“I want to get back in the game as quickly as possible,” he said. “That’s the plan.”

Related: Shanahan promises more changes — ‘yesterday was just the beginning’

Leafs’ core expects Shanahan to make changes

Toronto Maple Leafs v Edmonton Oilers

After one of the worst statistical seasons in franchise history, which saw the Leafs finish 30-44-8 including a 9-28-5 record following a January coaching change, club President Brendan Shanahan vowed changes are coming to the team’s leadership group.

It likely means the end in Toronto for some combination of captain Dion Phaneuf, Phil Kessel, Tyler Bozak and Joffrey Lupul.

All of the aforementioned players know they may have played their final game in a Leafs’ sweater.

“I signed here to be a Toronto Maple Leaf, that can change. I understand the business side, I’ve been around the business for long enough that I understand this business,” said Phaneuf. “If that (trade) does happen or if it comes up this summer, I’ll deal with that then.”

The 30-year-old had 29 points in 70 games while matching a career-worse minus-11 rating. Phaneuf was also sidelined for 12 games with a hand injury, which has not fully healed.

“This was, for me, the toughest year that I’ve had in my career. The main thing is that we did not play well enough and I take responsibility for me not playing well enough for our team,” said Phaneuf. “My numbers, I think, reflect that in the offensive side of the game. I didn’t produce where I expect to produce and that affected our team success.”

Kessel along with James van Riemsdyk and Bozak – the Leafs’ top line – combined for a minus-101 rating.

“I have no idea what’s going to happen the way the season went and things like that. I haven’t really thought about it too much,” said Bozak, who matched his point total (49) from last season while playing 24 more games. “Obviously I’d like to be here, it’s where I’ve been my whole career, but who knows what’s going to happen.

“I obviously think there’s probably going to be some changes. You never know what’s going to happen so I guess we’ll just wait and see.”

Kessel, who had multiple run-ins this season with the media, had his lowest goal total in an 82-game season (25) since his second year in the league (2007-08).

“I signed (for) eight years last year. I love Toronto. The fans have been great to me. I love the guys and I love playing here,” he said. “So hopefully I’ll be back.

“I’ll have to see if that (trade) time comes. You never know how things shake out, but I want to be here.”

Lupul, who was once again hampered by injuries and limited to just 55 games, acknowledged it might be time to move on.

“Sometimes, it’s time to move on and I don’t know if it’s that time yet,” said Lupul, who missed games due to a broken bone in his hand and multiple lower body injuries. “Nothing more that I would like than to get this team back into the playoffs and make a run and try and build something good here.

“I didn’t play well enough. I struggled with injuries. I should’ve played better and the team would’ve played better.”

Shanahan has had a year to review the organization from top to bottom on Sunday he fired his general manager, head coach and as many as 20 members of the scouting staff.

This summer multiple players, which made up the core of the Leafs for a number of years, will also find new homes.

“They understand that (Sunday) was just the beginning, there will be some changes,” Shanahan said. “They recognize it. They’ve been around. They understand changes are going to be made.”