The intriguing concept of Brendan Shanahan joining the Maple Leafs has been rattling around the restless mind of Tim Leiweke for months. But after an explosion of speculation from a variety of media outlets in the past 48 hours forced the idea to be fast-tracked, that concept is about to turn into reality. Shanahan, according to multiple sources, will resign his position as the NHL’s director of player safety as early as Friday and immediately join the Leafs this weekend as the team closes out a disappointing season. While his precise job could not be confirmed, sources suggest the Hall of Fame winger will likely be named president of the Leafs hockey club, not only president of hockey operations. A formal press conference to announce his hiring could happen as early as Monday in Leiweke’s latest eye-popping maneuver. Shanahan has been toying with the idea of joining the Leafs for weeks. His preference, it’s believed, would have been to stay in his current job until the end of the Stanley Cup final in June. However, it is unlikely commissioner Gary Bettman, even with the Leafs not involved in the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs, was comfortable with Shanahan remaining on the job if the hockey world knew he was soon going to take an executive position with a member club. When rumours about Shanahan and the Leafs began to fly on Wednesday, Leiweke apparently believed he had to act immediately and Bettman reluctantly agreed. There has been much conjecture about what role the 45-year-old Shanahan would have, particularly after another ex-star, Trevor Linden, was named president of hockey operations of the Vancouver Canucks. However, it’s believed Shanahan will have an even more senior role that will extend beyond over-seeing general manager Dave Nonis and the hockey department. Being named president, as opposed to president of hockey operations, would mean he would be involved in other business and league matters, such as the upcoming 100th anniversary of the Leafs. He may even be groomed to become the heir apparent to Leiweke as CEO of the entire MLSE sports conglomerate.