Grading Brad Treliving's First Season as the Toronto Maple Leafs GM

2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Round One
2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Round One / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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The NHL Entry Draft

Grade: B+

Starting off in chronological order, the draft was the first main event of the Treliving era. Though to be fair, he had just been hired and it's debatable how much influence he had on the Leafs picks.

He entered the draft with three selections and made all of them, opting not to make a trade to acquire more picks. The Leafs shocked many when he drafted London Knights forward Easton Cowan at 28th overall.

So far, this seems to be the right call with Cowan having a breakout year scoring 96 points through 54 regular season games including a 36-game point streak. He has followed that up with 27 points in 16 playoff games.

His play this year has awarded him the Red Tillson trophy for the OHL’s most outstanding player, an award won by many good NHLers in recent years like; Wyatt Johnston, Jordan Kyrou, Alex DeBrincat, and Mitch Marner. 

The next pick the Leafs had was in the fifth round, 153rd overall. Treliving used this to select overage center Hudson Malinoski from the Brooks Brandits of the AJHL. Malinoski, from Saskatoon, played his freshman year at Providence College this season, scoring 18 points through 35 games.

This was on par with fellow Leafs prospect and NCAA rookie Nicholas Moldenhauer at a 0.51 points-per-game pace. Both players are raw talents that have decent NHL ceilings if they can take the necessary strides over the coming seasons.

The third and final pick of the draft was 6-4 left-shot defenseman Noah Chadwick from the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the WHL. At the time, he looked like a concerning pick; Another big bodied defenseman who couldn’t produce and who scouts said was a poor skater.

Overall, Treliving’s first draft looks promising with Cowan looking like a potential steal, Chadwick making great strides, and Malinoski showing some promise.

The jury is of course still out but many players who have followed a similar progression to Cowan have gone on to have very fruitful NHL careers. The most recent being the aforementioned Wyatt Johnston who almost exactly mirrors Cowan’s development path up to this point. As of right now, this draft gets a B-plus for me.