TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 9: Connor Brown #12 of the Toronto Maple Leafs waits for a faceoff against the St. Louis Blues during an NHL game at the Air Canada Centre on February 9, 2017 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Blues defeated the Maple Leafs 2-1 in overtime. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

William Nylander is mum on contract talks, Connor Brown and Doug Gilmour discuss their excitement for the upcoming season, the Leafs promote a scout and hire a new one, and more in the links.

Leafs Links

Leafs PR: Tim Speltz promoted to Head Amateur Scout, Scott Bell hired (Twitter)
Tim Speltz served as Director of Western Area Scouting for the Leafs the past two seasons after joining the organization following decades of success in Spokane in the WHL. Bell was an assistant coach for the University of Minnesota this past season and previously served as an amateur scout for the Pittsburgh Penguins. He’ll be an area scout based out of Minnesota in his new job with the Leafs.

Said University of Minnesota head coach Don Lucia after hiring Bell last summer: “He checked all the boxes for what I was looking for. He’s a relentless recruiter, a successful coach, and he is well respected.”

Brown: Tavares believes in what we’re doing here (TSN1050)
Connor Brown joined Overdrive a few days ago to discuss the offseason and the excitement about the upcoming season.

On the draw of playing in Toronto now:

I felt like I was lucky to be drafted by the Leafs. A lot of guys from Toronto, every kind of has that perception that you don’t want to play in Toronto because it’s non-stop and it’s 365 days. But for me, I love it. They’ve done such a good job sheltering us. We’ve got such a good thing going on. Everything you hear from the fans – everyone is excited. We had a tough series last year, but they haven’t been down on us at all, I’ve felt, this summer. It’s just sheer excitement. It’s cool to be a part of, especially having watched them growing up.

On the process of watching the FA period and following John Tavares’ decision:

As a player, that’s a tough time. You lose a lot of buddies in that time. Bozie, JVR, Leo, Marty – you lose buddies. It’s highs and lows. But to be able to sign a top-five guy in the league… every team wanted him. It’s nice that he sees what we’re trying to build here and he believes in what we are doing here. He’s excited to play at home, like a lot of us are. A lot of us love playing at home now. It’s really exciting for me. He’s pumped. We’re pumped. The season can’t come quickly enough.

Nylander on contract talks with Leafs: ‘I want long term’ (TSN)
Unsurprisingly, William Nylander was a man of few words on ongoing contract negotiations with the Leafs.

On whether talks have advanced recently:

Nothing since Zach’s golf tournament. It’s just going slow, and that’s what Kyle [Dubas] wants.

On his preference as far as contract term:

Of course, I want long term. That’s what I want to do. But we’ll take it slow day by day and see what happens.

Nylander on Tavares: We will be hard to match-up against (TSN)
Doug Gilmour spoke at SmashFest and described his excitement about the upcoming Leafs season.

On the matchup problems three high-end centermen create for the opposition:

You’ve got three picks right now. Throw the bait out there and see what they do. I think the biggest thing is you might take pressure off of Auston. You might take pressure off of Tavares. You might take pressure off of Kadri. It’s a good problem to have.

Why Josh Leivo could, and should, be a Top 9 forward for the Leafs (The Athletic)
Ian Tulloch takes a look at the curious case of why Josh Leivo can’t seem to crack Mike Babcock’s lineup and what kind of impact he might be able to make given the opportunity. Trade rumours circulated about Kyle Dubas potentially giving Leivo a fresh start earlier this offseason, but it increasingly looks like he’ll come into camp again as a Leaf. Leivo has played just 29 NHL games and five AHL games over the past two seasons combined.

Bowen, Ralph agree to 5-year extensions to call Leafs games on radio (The Sun)
It’s not the TV broadcasting deal most Leafs fans want for the duo, but the good news is that Joe Bowen and Jim Ralph are going to be calling games for what could be a special five years of Leafs hockey. “I’m excited as hell about the next five years to watch this team and be a part of it,” said Bowen. “And the best part is I will be with Ralphie.”

New Maple Leafs ECHL affiliate Newfoundland Growlers unveil jerseys (Sportsnet)
There is a distinct Golden Knights feel to the jersey kit of the Leafs’ new ECHL affiliate.