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GM didn’t anticipate Klingberg hip injury

‘Clarity’ on status expected by end of week, Treliving says


The Maple Leafs are still in contract-extension talks with William Nylander and are seeking clarity on John Klingberg’s hip injury, general manager Brad Treliving says.

“I’m not going to delve into those discussions,” Treliving said of talks with Nylander, who is off to the hottest start of his career with 27 points in 19 games.

“Nothing’s changed at our end. Our desire and our hope at the end of it (is) we’re going to get Nylander signed. And there’s a process that you go through.

“Willie’s had a tremendous start to the year. But I don’t think this is just a hot start. I think he’s a really good player. And I stated from day one here, our objective was to get Auston (Matthews) signed; we got him signed. Our objective is to get Willie signed and we’re working at it.”

Treliving’s impromptu press conference — given on the eve of the 20th game of the season, roughly one-quarter into the season — amounted to a state-of-the-team address where he was questioned about some of the moves he has made, and some that might come.

Treliving revealed Klingberg’s injury is a hip ailment that has bothered him since the fourth game of season, Oct. 19 in Florida. Klingberg had double hip surgery in 2014.

“We knew the history of the player, but we didn’t anticipate that there was going to be an issue,” Treliving said.

“The event was in the Florida game on that first road trip. And it hasn’t improved.”

Klingberg is being reassessed by doctors in New York this week, and Treliving believes the team will have “clarity” on his status by the end of the week

Treliving needs to know how long Klingberg will be sidelined, if he has to find another defenceman, and if he has the salary cap space to do so. The Leafs have been linked in rumours to two defencemen: Calgary’s Nikita Zadorov and Chris Tanev. Zadorov has asked for a trade out of Calgary, and his agent tweeted he had an interest in coming to Toronto, where he would be reunited with Treliving.

The Leafs GM didn’t address the rumours but said it’s his job to explore all options.

“That’s your job all the time because you’re trying to help your team now,” he said.

“The idea that you’re always just going to trade yourself out of issues isn’t realistic.

“Coming in here, obviously, we did some things over the course of the summer. Some have gone well. Some are a work in progress. Some haven’t gone as well. So you look at where you’re at and you’re always trying to find ways to help the team.”

Treliving didn’t seem happy with the team’s record — just five regulation wins in 19 games. The Leafs are 10-6-3 and were in a wild-card spot heading into Monday’s games.

“Overall, there’s still gaps in our consistency. My overwhelming theme is we’ve just got to become more consistent as a group.”

Treliving liked that his team has been sounder defensively in the past two or three weeks, though he would like his goaltending to be better. The Leafs are giving up 3.42 goals a game, 22nd in the league.

Two of Treliving’s big signings — Tyler Bertuzzi and Max Domi — seem to have found their footing in the past few weeks. Bertuzzi is scoring more, and Domi looks comfortable as the third-line centre. But winger Ryan Reaves has been a healthy scratch in four of the last five games. He scored his first goal Friday in Chicago, but is a teamworst minus-11.





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