Leafs Keep Front Office Together
It's not that Dave Nonis wasn't impressed with the Tampa Bay Lightning and new owner Jeff Vinik.
"Whoever the successful candidate for that job is, he's going to be in an excellent position with that ownership group," said Nonis today.
After going through the interview process with the Bolts as they look for someone to succeed Brian Lawton as the club's general manager, Nonis has instead decided to sign a new two-year deal with the Leafs as senior vice-president and director of hockey operations.
The deal locks Nonis in through the 2011-12 season with no out, even if another GM opening becomes available.
"I'm very lucky. I have more to say about our team than some GMs do," said Nonis of his unique position as Brian Burke's right hand man. "It's not a job that's comparable with other positions around the league."
Nonis' decision was partly professional, partly personal. He and his wife, Susan, live with their 16-year-old son Nicholas on a farm in Point Roberts, Washington, about 30 kilometres outside of Vancouver. Nonis played college hockey at the University of Maine and was captain of that team for two years, and his son plays AAA hockey and has aspirations of his own.
"To disrupt his situation for me right now wasn't the right thing to do," said Nonis.
Nonis also believes the job he came to Toronto to do remains incomplete.
"If you look at our roster now and compare it to 16 months ago, it's not only different, it's younger and better," he said. "But we've still got lots of work to do. The job is not done by a longshot. There are more pieces to add."
The Leafs have signed a number of free agents already since being eliminated, including goalies Jussi Rynnas and Brent Scrivens. The Leafs are still looking at 24-year-old Czech centre Roman Cervenka, who played for the Czech Republic at the Vancouver Olympics, but won't make a decision until after the world championships.
As it stands, the next big date for the Leafs will be July 1st and the unrestricted free agent period.
"We'll be busy, and I think we can add some pieces that can help us," he said. "But I think the bigger pieces are probably going to come through trades. We just have to be patient."