Brendan Shanahan’s first off-season as Toronto Maple Leafs president is almost over, but that doesn’t mean he’s done.
The Leafs are expected to hire another assistant general manager to work with Kyle Dubas under Dave Nonis, something Shanahan said they should have in the works by next week.
“There’s always more to do,” Shanahan said Thursday. “Once you get something accomplished, it’s always on to the next thing. I think we made some good changes, but it’s about getting on the ice and playing and competing and seeing what you have and developing.
“For me, once you do something it’s always: What’s next?”
This off-season, the Leafs traded defenceman Carl Gunnarsson to the St. Louis Blues for Roman Polak; signed defenceman Stephane Robidas and forwards Leo Komarov, Petri Kontiola, Mike Santorelli, Daniel Winnik, David Booth; re-acquired forward Matt Frattin from the Columbus Blue Jackets for Jerry D’Amigo and signed defencemen Jake Gardiner and Cody Franson, forwards Peter Holland, Carter Ashton, Trevor Smith and Troy Bodie and goaltender James Reimer to new contracts.
Behind the bench, they extended coach Randy Carlyle’s contract, fired assistants Scott Gordon, Dave Farrish and Greg Cronin, hired Peter Horachek and promoted Steve Spott from the AHL’s Marlies to an NHL assistant role. And in the front office they fired Claude Loiselle and Dave Poulin and began the process of replacing them by hiring 28-year-old Dubas.
When he was introduced just after the 2013-14 season ended, shortly after an eight-game losing streak took the Leafs out of playoff contention, Shanahan promised a “culture change” for the team. At Thursday’s news conference to reveal Ted (Teeder) Kennedy would be the first player honoured as part of the new Legends Row, Shanahan didn’t let on about any more grand plans to that end.
“I really just think that you just want to do things the right way,” he said. “When you talk about making big changes, it’s really about doing a whole lot of little things the right way.”
One thing left on Shanahan’s off-season to-do list was meeting with captain Dion Phaneuf, who will be starting a US$49-million, seven-year contract signed at the Winter Classic. Shanahan seemed ready to make his trip to Prince Edward Island to see Phaneuf.
“We’ve scheduled some time to spend together,” Shanahan said. “I think he’s out catching me some lobsters right now.”