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Former Canuck Kevin Bieksa thinks Mike Gillis should take over as Leafs GM

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David Quadrelli
9 months ago
We know, we know. There’s nothing you’d rather read about more on a Vancouver Canucks-focused site than the Toronto Maple Leafs.
But when a former player endorses the general manager that oversaw the most successful team in franchise history, that’s news! Especially in the middle of May when the Canucks — as has become tradition — haven’t played a game in over a month.
Speaking on the latest edition of the 32 Thoughts Podcast, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said that Bieksa — Friedman’s co-panelist at Sportsnet — was hot on the idea of former Vancouver Canucks general manager Mike Gillis being an ideal fit for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
As you’ve almost certainly heard already — whether you wanted to or not — the Leafs fired general manager Kyle Dubas last Friday, and have already begun their search for a new GM. Former Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving is among those who the Leafs have started their search with, but there has also been speculation that Mike Gillis could return as an NHL GM.
Here’s what Friedman had to say:
“[Brad Treliving] won’t be the only guy they talk to. We mentioned Mike Gillis on the last podcast, [Kevin] Bieksa is hot on that one. The reason is that Bieksa thinks that the Maple Leafs, right now, are the same as the Canucks were in like 2009, a team that’s on the cusp.”
Gillis was hired as the general manager of the Canucks in April of 2008 after the team fired Dave Nonis after missing the playoffs in the previous season. He subsequently opted to let veterans Markus Naslund and Brendan Morrison leave the team in free agency and chose to retool the team around emerging players.
Gillis hasn’t been in a rush to get back in the game by any means. The former Canucks GM has said in the past that he’ll only get back in the league if something makes sense for him, and you have to think that means that he gets the level of control he wants along with the ability to structure his front office and hockey operations department the way he wants to.

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