Dave Nonis's new, restructured contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs may not include an extension, but it does come with a substantial raise in pay and guarantees he'll remain with the team another two years.
The Leafs vice-president of hockey operations had been in the mix for the vacant general manager's job in Tampa Bay, but bowed out of the running this week to continue on as Brian Burke's right-hand man in Toronto.
Nonis's new contract still has four years remaining on it but comes with an out clause that kicks in after 2011-12. Previously, he had an out from his contract in every off-season.
Nonis recently interviewed with new Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and was considered a front-runner for that job, but a source said Toronto's considerable financial resources played a role in keeping him in the fold. Nonis's new deal gives him a sizeable raise, pushing him into a salary range close to what many GMs are paid.
He said Tuesday that staying with the Leafs was the right decision given his family situation.
"This job and this situation is the best fit for myself and my family, first and foremost," said Nonis, who lives with his wife and teenage son in Point Roberts, Wash., near Vancouver. "I've been treated very well by ownership."
Nonis, 43, added that there was extra motivation to stay on to help right the ship in Toronto given the Leafs finished with the second-worst record in the league.
"We haven't completed the job we started," he said.
With Burke and several team scouts at the world championship in Germany, Nonis is keeping a keen eye on the NHL playoffs. While the Leafs are short on draft picks for the June entry draft, they are expected to be active in the trade and free-agent market and Nonis will play a key role in any decisions made.
He said Tuesday that Leafs management was encouraged by the team's resurgence over the season's final 20 or so games, but that the group's mindset had changed from when the Leafs entered last season with a more veteran-laden roster.
"There's still a lot of work to do," Nonis said.