After the 2024 trade deadline passed, Brad Treliving discussed his three new additions and the fairly low-key deadline for the Maple Leafs.

What did you like about Connor Dewar to pull the trigger on the deal before 3 p.m. EST?

Treliving: What has attracted us to Connor Dewar: He is a defensively responsible centerman. I don’t think you can have too many centermen. He is proficient on the penalty kill. It is a specific area we wanted to see if we could help ourselves with.

He gives us more depth in the middle. We have talked briefly with Sheldon (Keefe) throughout the day and a lot over the last few weeks about areas we would like to address. That is where we think Connor fits in with us. He is defensively sound. He is a very competitive player. Hopefully, he can help us on the PK.

The Dewar deal came down to the wire. What was the day like for you today?

Treliving: It was a normal trade deadline day. There has been a lot of activity leading up to today. With some of the things we were looking to do, we probably felt coming into today that what were maybe considered the “bigger deals” were not going to come to fruition. Now, you are with the staff looking at how to improve and what opportunities may be out there.

Credit to the staff. They put in a lot of work. It is a long few days leading up to the deadline, but I would categorize it as a business-as-usual deadline day.

Were you close on anything else?

Treliving: I won’t get into the speculation. We did what we did.

How important was it to keep your top prospects and first-round picks, especially seeing what some of your top prospects are accomplishing this season? Easton Cowan is on a heck of a roll in London.

Treliving: We have some good young players. We have to continue to add to it.

I try to separate fiction from non-fiction, but with our first-round pick, there were things we would look at to put it in (to play), but it had to make sense. I just didn’t feel there was something that made sense for us in the very short term. It is good to have that asset here. Now, we move forward.

You look at the years Easton and Fraser Minten are having, or even with the Marlies, I look at Dennis Hildeby developing. Coming in with a limited supply of picks last year, the (Noah) Chadwick kid has had a good year to the point where we signed him. There is (Hunter) Malinosky in Providence. It is the role of the developing staff now to continue to work with them.

Certainly, Easton has had a heck of a year. He is a heck of a player. There was no thought of moving Easton.

Did you reshape the defense core to your liking with the addition of Joel Edmundson and Ilya Lyubushkin?

Treliving: For sure. Listen, it is going to continue to be a work in progress. At the trade deadline, there are certainly some things we looked at. We talked at length about trying to improve ourselves on the right side.

We were excited to get Joel. He is a big, long, rangy defenseman. He adds length and physicality. He adds experience. By adding him and Boosh, we have added some size and bite on the backend. Now, we have to do it by committee.

We have a number of guys back there. How we fit with pairs and partners — we have some options. We were certainly excited to get Joel here yesterday.

What did you like about the prospect, Cade Webber?

Treliving: Cade is a guy our guys have been tracking a lot not just this year but even prior to that. Again, there might be a theme here. He is a long defender. I know people might look at his stat line. He is a defense-first guy. He is a big body. He moves well. He moves the puck well. But his calling card is defending and penalty killing.

He is a guy who is a little bit further along in terms of his development. Chris Bourque really deserves a lot of [credit] on this. This is a guy he has tracked hard. When the opportunity came up to acquire him, we did.

He is with a real good team. Hopefully, they go on a real long run at BU, and then we can get him signed after.

How much of what you did or didn’t do was predicated on who you might play in the first round?

Treliving: You are trying to make your team better in the ways that you can. There are big moves that happen, and then there are small, incremental moves. What we are trying to do with our team: Are there ways we can pick away at areas we think we can improve in?

We have to get into the playoffs. That is our main focus right now: qualifying. When you get in, they are all good teams. You are playing a good opponent whoever you may play.

We still have some work to do yet. We still have 20 games to go to earn the right to get into the playoffs. That is goal number one.

How would assess your team the way it looks now heading into the stretch drive and playoffs?

Treliving: There are certainly some areas I really like, but as all teams are, you are building your game. There are areas we need to improve on. We tried to make moves to address certain areas, but at the end of the day, a lot of the answers are going to come from the guys in the room. That is the reality of the situation.

We have a group that is driven. We have a group that is hungry. But we have a month here to go to put ourselves in a position where we earn a spot and in the meantime, continue to grow our game.

When you say a lot of the answers are going to come from within, what potential do you see moving forward considering the seasons the core players are having?

Treliving: I think there is great potential for our group. Our top guys are having good years. They are elite players. We want that to continue.

We have work to do in the next 20 games to get us where we need to get to in terms of qualifying, but I think the group is all about building. As good of a group as they are having individually, their mindset is all about the collective group and making sure that our game is at the point it needs to be at this time of the year.

We have played tough opponents. We will face tough opponents this week. It is going to be the same thing down the stretch. Hungry teams.

Ultimately, I believe in our group. We have to turn that belief into getting the job done that is in front of us.

What is it like when you are a GM and teams around you are making aggressive moves? This year, it seemed like it was Western Conference-heavy.

Treliving: A lot of stuff out west, right?

You have an idea of who is going to do what when you look at cap space, picks, and assets leading into the deadline. Who is armed? You go where your team is. Do you think you have a great opportunity this year? Everything has to line up in terms of the product that is available. Does it fit the needs that you have? Do you have the assets to acquire it?

Certainly, there were a lot of big moves out west, which doesn’t break my heart. You say it every year, though. Really good teams are going to miss the playoffs. Really, really good teams are going to be out in the first round.

That is the work of the manager now: best prepare yourselves for the remaining regular season games and the playoffs.

A lot of the bigger moves were out west.

How would you characterize the market overall this year compared to past deadlines?

Treliving: I don’t know if it is any different. There was a lot of activity leading up to deadline day, which is not unusual. There are lots of conversations. There are conversations that you started now that you continue into the summer. There is a lot of activity. I would categorize it as a normal one leading up to the market.

Was there anything that surprised you today? For a lot of us, it was the 2:59 p.m. deals from Vegas.

Treliving: I don’t think you are surprised. There are a lot of things you hear about over the course of time. Over time, I have learned not to get too surprised at the trade deadline. There are always some things that raise a few eyebrows, but I wouldn’t say I was caught off-guard or surprised by anything that took place today.

What is Matthew Knies’ status after last night’s injury?

Treliving: Matt is doing well. I wasn’t with the team today, but I have been in touch with him. All signs are pointing to him doing really well. We will continue to see how things go throughout the day. I anticipate that he is going to be fine and available for tomorrow.

Was it protocol that forced him out of the game?

Treliving: It wasn’t necessarily a protocol, but we thought it was best to hold him out for precautionary reasons. Matt wanted to play, but we thought we would hold him out for the rest of the game.

Will Knies be sent to the Marlies as a paper move?

Treliving: Yeah. You always want to create as much flexibility down the stretch. You never know what will happen with injuries and all of the rest of it. Matthew is not going anywhere.

What is the next step for Nick Robertson now that he is down with the Marlies?

Treliving: He has had a good year with us. I would consider him one of our players with the Leafs. We have added depth today, so we will look to have Nick back with us before too long. I think he is going to play a role with us going forward.

When you watched the game against Boston on Thursday night, did it look like two teams who think they are going to face each other in the playoffs?

Treliving: Everybody looks at it as probabilities, but it is a really good team that we played. They have the record that they have for a reason. They have been a really good team for a long time.

There were parts of the game I really liked, and there were parts of the game that were reminders that there are areas we need to improve on. I thought you could tell there was emotion in the game. That coincides with the time of the year.

You can’t be focused on one opponent. Our focus is on making sure we get our game to the best possible level we can get and get ourselves into the playoffs. You are going to face a good team regardless of who you play.