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Volume 26 No. 183
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Maple Leafs Extend Shanahan After Three Straight Playoff Appearances

Shanahan has supervised an expansion of the team’s sports science department and analytics research
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Shanahan has supervised an expansion of the team’s sports science department and analytics research
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Shanahan has supervised an expansion of the team’s sports science department and analytics research
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Maple Leafs President Brendan Shanahan has signed a six-year extension though the '24-25 NHL season, as his vision has "helped turn the franchise from a laughingstock to a playoff regular," according to Kevin McGran of the TORONTO STAR. Shanahan said that there "was never any danger of him leaving the team." The Maple Leafs have made the playoffs the last three years and are "generally considered to have a core of young players that will keep them in contention for years," so long as GM Kyle Dubas "manages the salary cap effectively" (TORONTO STAR, 5/15). Shanahan said he told the Maple Leafs that this "would be quite an easy negotiation," as he "wasn’t interested in going anywhere else." TSN's Kristen Shilton noted most of the Maple Leafs’ "prominent cast were brought to the organization by Shanahan himself, carefully selected to help rebuild a franchise in dire need of a face-lift" (TSN.ca, 5/14). In Toronto, Lance Hornby notes Shanahan has "supervised an expansion of the team’s sports science department, gave Dubas his blessing on a shift to analytics research and in a popular move, brought Dave Keon back in the Leaf family and ended the honoured number system by retiring a total of 19 digits, while restoring an older and bolder team logo." However, Shanahan and coach Mike Babcock "are still awaiting" their first playoff series win together (TORONTO SUN, 5/15).

SPEAK SOFTLY: THE ATHLETIC's James Mirtle notes Shanahan is "around the team a lot, even on the road, but he hasn’t spoken publicly a whole lot over the last few years." Shanahan said that there was "no specific reason" for the length of the contract, only that MLSE "talked about continuity and to me about having consistency with the direction of the organization and so (long) term was something that was attractive to both of us." Shanahan added he and Maple Leafs ownership have a "similar" vision. He said of the Maple Leafs' success since he arrived in '14: "It's really been about the people that I’ve been able to get to come here to help me do this. I’m not uncomfortable being uncomfortable. I’m not uncomfortable not knowing an answer. I’m not uncomfortable finding someone else to help me seek that." Shanahan said his limited media availability is a "conscious choice" to "provide the ability for clarity and longevity." He said, "I manage every day. I just don’t do it through the press. Our people see me every day. ... I want to be there to support them. I don’t want to manage through the media" (THEATHLETIC.com, 5/15).