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Why hiring Shane Doan was the wisest opening move in the Matthews negotiations

Hiring Matthews’ childhood hero who also happens to be a brilliant young NHL executive was possibly the best shot Treliving could’ve taken given his limited ammo.

In Brad Treliving’s first official hire as GM, he brought on Coyotes legend Shane Doan as special advisor to the general manager.

While your average hockey fan may remember Doan as the long-tenured captain of the Coyotes, the 46-year-old has had a fairly illustrious career in hockey management since retiring from the NHL in 2017.

Shortly after retirement, Doan worked in the National Hockey League's hockey operations department for three years. He worked closely with club executives and the NHL's Competition Committee, gaining valuable experience in the business and management side of the game.

Later on, he landed a job working as the chief hockey development officer for the Arizona Coyotes, which then led him to work for Hockey Canada as General Manager of both the Canadian men’s Olympic team in 2022 and multiple IIHF world championships.

Perhaps his most important asset to this position in particular is his relationship with Auston Matthews.

Leafs fans know the story. Matthews grew up in Phoenix Arizona, where, from a young age, he was obsessed with the Coyotes. His heroes were Daniel Briere and Shane Doan.

Doan skated with Auston when he was just 16 years old. It’s no secret that this hire was made with that connection in mind.

And it was a genius move by Brad Treliving.

If the Leafs were worried that Matthews may not be as willing to stay in Toronto with Kyle Dubas gone, hiring Matthews’ childhood hero who also happens to be a brilliant young NHL executive was possibly the best shot Treliving could’ve taken given his limited ammo.

It’s no secret that Treliving has always been a highly intelligent, forward-thinking GM and this hire is further proof of that. The hire likely comes from the pair’s past relationship. Treliving worked as an assistant GM for the Coyotes for 11 years while Doan was captain.

“It’s the Toronto Maple Leafs,” said Doan. “It’s one of the premier — not just hockey franchises — sports franchises in the world. That doesn’t come along very often. Combine that with the relationships that I had with Brad and some of the other guys, it made it so it was something that I couldn’t pass up.”

It’s worth noting that Doan has a good relationship with Matthew Knies as well. Knies played junior hockey with Shane Doan’s son, Josh. The two were both born in 2002. According to Knies, Doan has coached him  “ever since I was five or six,”.

Another great connection to have between the players and a brand new front office.

While this is certainly a great start to his tenure, Treliving still has a lot to prove as the new GM of the Leafs. Will he be able to sign Matthews to an extension before July 1st? What about Nylander? Will he be able to move Matt Murray at the draft? Who will he take with the 28th overall pick?

All of these questions will be answered in time, all we can do now is wait.

Dave Felsbourg

Saturday, June 10, 2023

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