The Toronto Maple Leafs have offered their vacant head coaching position to recently dismissed Sharks bench boss Ron Wilson, according to various reports.
Wilson is reportedly on his way to meet with team officials to discuss the opportunity.
Leafs interim GM Cliff Fletcher confirmed he has offered the position to a candidate, but wouldn’t say who it was.
“We’re in negotiations right now with a coach,” said Fletcher. “Hopefully we will get it resolved in the near future.”
A hiring of a coach lends to the speculation Fletcher is intent on staying on board longer than the summer as the Leafs struggle to find a replacement for the fired John Ferguson.
“Am I interested in keeping it? Not permanently, no,” Fletcher said of the GM job. “But I’m prepared to continue as long as necessary until the issue is revolved favourably for our board.”
The Leafs have long been rumoured to be pursuing Brian Burke for the job, but the Anaheim Ducks are insisting he complete the final year of his contract as GM with their team. That deal expires after next season.
“There’s no change, I’m under contract,” Burke said after the GMs meeting.
Toronto has been in the market for a new coach since they fired Paul Maurice in early May.
Wilson, who was let go shortly after the Sharks were eliminated by Dallas in the second round of the playoffs, led the Sharks to a 49-23-10 record this season. The 53-year-old has also been the head coach in Washington and Anaheim.
Maurice, meanwhile, may be in line for the vacant Florida Panthers job.
“I’m in the beginning of the process and I’ve identified certain candidates that I want to proceed with some interviews in the week coming up,” said Panthers GM Jacques Martin, while not mentioning anyone by name.
– with files from The Canadian Press