TORONTO - The Toronto Maple Leafs could know as soon as this weekend if they have a new head coach.
Ron Wilson met with the team earlier this week and has now returned to his home in California to mull over a contract offer from the team, Toronto interim GM Cliff Fletcher said Wednesday.
"I said 'Give us an answer by the weekend or by Monday at the latest," Fletcher said. "We'll see what happens. If he accepts, great, we look forward to working with him."
The 53-year-old Wilson was fired last month by the San Jose Sharks after his team lost in the playoffs to the Dallas Stars. It was the fourth straight season Wilson had led the Sharks to the playoffs in his five seasons there.
The move could be a sign that Leafs plan to eventually bring in Brian Burke as their new GM.
Burke and Wilson worked together in Vancouver and were college teammates in Providence. Burke is also the godfather of Wilson's daughter.
The Leafs have long been rumoured to be pursuing Burke for the job, but the Ducks are insisting he complete the final year of his contract as GM in Anaheim. That deal expires after next season.
The Leafs are without a permanent GM after firing John Ferguson in January.
Wilson would succeed the fired Paul Maurice, who has been targeted by the Florida Panthers as a possible candidate to fill their head coaching vacancy.
Wilson holds the Sharks coaching records for wins (206), winning percentage (.535) and post-season games coached (52). In 2004, he coached the Sharks to the Western Conference final.
Wilson has a 518-446-127 career record during stints with the Ducks, the Washington Capitals and the Sharks. He ranks third among active coaches in wins behind Bryan Murray and Mike Keenan.