Leafs looking at Wilson?

Former San Jose coach, Ron Wilson.  (Sun Media)

Former San Jose coach, Ron Wilson. (Sun Media)

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:45 PM ET

The Maple Leafs probably won't have a new general manager in the near future, but the same likely can't be said about a new head coach.

Interim GM Cliff Fletcher made it clear earlier this week that time is of the essence in getting the team in order and, to that end, Sportsnet reported last night that Fletcher has made contact with Ron Wilson, who was fired by the San Jose Sharks earlier this month.

The belief is that the Leafs want a coach in place before the NHL entry draft in Ottawa in three weeks.

Wilson, who spent parts of three season as a Leafs forward in the late 1970s, was a midseason replacement behind the Sharks bench in 2002-03, then averaged 46 wins a year in his three full seasons in San Jose.

Many signs point to Fletcher staying on as GM into the 2008-09 season, which means that the interim label probably can be dropped for the time being. Speculation persists that the Leafs want to put together a management team of sorts until Brian Burke is done with the Anaheim Ducks. Then, Burke would be hired to run the show.

The Leafs have talked to Dave Nonis about coming aboard in a management position, and were about to do the same with Doug Armstrong before he was hired as vice-president of player personnel by the St. Louis Blues.

Meanwhile, sources say captain Mats Sundin, who becomes a free agent July 1, left Fletcher "on pins and needles" after their face-to-face meeting late Thursday night, in which he failed to commit to another season with Toronto.

NOT IMPRESSED

The talk among some NHL executives is that Sundin isn't impressed with the fact the Leafs don't have a full-time GM in place, that there's no urgency to hire a coach and nobody is sure what direction the club might take next season.

One has to wonder if the Wilson report and Sundin's sentiments were related.

If Sundin does decide to test the free-agent waters, the belief is he'll be seeking a two-year contract in the $16 million to $18 million US range.

And reports indicate that former Leafs coach Paul Maurice, who was fired 31/2 weeks ago, either has met with Florida Panthers GM Jacques Martin or will do so at the NHL scouting combine in Toronto this weekend, regarding the Panthers' coaching vacancy.


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