(Toronto) Brad Treliving has a long list of things to do as the new general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, but his priority is to meet the best player on the team.

Officially introduced as the 18th general manager in team history following the departure of Kyle Dubas last month, Treliving said Thursday he plans to travel to Arizona soon to meet with Auston Matthews. The latter will be able to sign a contract extension from July 1. If he simply prefers to spend the last year of his contract, Matthews will become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

“We’re not just talking about a good player,” Treliving said at a press conference. We are talking about an elite player. Securing Auston’s future with the team is a priority. But beyond the contract, I just want to develop a relationship.

“I don’t want to go visit him and start negotiating a contract. I want to meet the person. I want to give Auston a chance to get to know me and what we want to accomplish. »

Treliving also intends to speak with head coach Sheldon Keefe. He would not immediately confirm Keefe’s return behind the bench next season.

“I think he’s a really good coach,” Treliving said. But I think you have to work with someone to really know if they are good or bad. You have to get to know him.

“I come here with no preconceived notions. »

Treliving left the Calgary Flames in April after nine seasons with the team.

The next few weeks will be busy as he prepares for the NHL Draft and the opening of the free agent market. Up to 12 Maple Leafs players could take advantage of free agency.

“We’re going to have to put the pedal to the metal,” admitted Treliving.

Like Matthews, William Nylander can also sign a contract extension from July 1. Matthews and Mitch Marner will have a full no-trade clause from that same date. Nylander will be allowed a list excluding 10 possible destinations.

“There’s a lot to do and time flies,” Treliving concluded.