Blues also talking to Nonis

LANCE HORNBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:12 AM ET

If Dave Nonis isn't to be part of a newly structured Maple Leafs management team -- and a bridge to hiring Brian Burke -- he shouldn't be out of work for long.

St. Louis Blues president John Davidson mentioned Nonis by name yesterday as a potential part of a revamped Blues' front office with general manager Larry Pleau. Pleau's wife Wendy is battling cancer and Pleau has been taking time off to be with her.

Pleau might step aside to spend more time with her.

Nonis met earlier this week with Blues chairman Dave Checketts in New York, then came to Toronto to see members of the Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. search committee, led by CEO Richard Peddie and sports lawyer Gord Kirke. Those discussions carried into yesterday, but Nonis didn't return calls last night and the Leafs have put a news blackout on anything pertaining to their GM vacancy.

Talk of a Nonis-Burke connection still won't go away, even though the latter says he'll honour the last year of his contract as Anaheim's GM.

Nonis' links to Burke from Vancouver and the reported inclusion of Leafs interim GM Cliff Fletcher in yesterday's interviews have many wondering if Fletcher will be asked to stay with a young contract point man through 2008-09, until Burke or another big name is free.

TSN reported that more discussions with the Leafs and Nonis could take place in a few days, during which Nonis is likely to consider his options somewhere he can be his own boss.

While St. Louis is a good prospect, rumours of him landing in Atlanta as GM appear premature as Thrashers ownership has not decided if Don Waddell will be moved to a different position with the team.

The MLSEL committee started off with an impressive wish list to interview, such as Burke, Doug Wilson and Lou Lamoriello, but hit dead ends through both direct and third-party contact. Detroit Red Wings' consultant Scotty Bowman told The Fan 590 earlier this week that the Leafs were dreaming if they thought a big fish such as Wings GM Ken Holland would be exposed.

"It's nice to think everyone is available, but these people are important to their teams," Bowman said.


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