Toronto Maple Leafs: The Exit Interviews Part 2: Management

Jul 13, 2020; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas (left) and president Brendan Shanahan (right) during a NHL workout at the Ford Performance Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 13, 2020; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas (left) and president Brendan Shanahan (right) during a NHL workout at the Ford Performance Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports /

Another season has come to an end sooner than the Toronto Maple Leafs expected and it was exit interview time once again.

With another first-round exit from the NHL playoffs, the media had a ton of questions for both the Toronto Maple Leafs players and management.

The main roster has 12 players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents (UFA) on July 28th and one Restricted Free Agent (RFA).

Those players along with management were asked about the future of this team and how to fix the problem of routine first-round exits. In this article, I will highlight what the head coach and management had to say.  (Quotes from and

Highlights Toronto Maple Leafs Management Exit Interviews:

Kyle Dubas – General Manager

When Kyle Dubas was asked about the three losses in a row to end their playoff series against the Montreal Canadiens, here is what he had to say: “Still digesting it.” 

In response to another year of failure, Dubas made this statement: “We’ve had painful lessons over the years. The lessons are repeated until they are learned. I think we’re getting to that point now.”  

"Unfortunately, and I know it’s not what people want to hear, but moments like this are a part of the story that preludes success most of the time. That’s what I believe in and am banking on here as we guide the ship ahead."

It is pretty sad that it has taken this long for those lessons to sink in, but like they say, there is always next year.  Here is what Dubas had to say when asked about the futures of Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares, and William Nylander:“I really believe in all four of them as players and as people.”

When asked about the future UFA Zach Hyman“Hyman has been an excellent player since he arrived here and is someone we will try to work to bring back.”

Dubas also hinted that the team would be willing to bring back Jason Spezza if head coach Sheldon Keefe thinks his team will benefit from having Spezza around.

I for one hope they do bring him back and reward him with more than league minimum.

Dubas’ response when asked about upcoming UFA Frederik Andersen: “If something works out, there is interest on our side as well.” 

He said he also has “some interest” in bringing back Alex Galchenyuk.

Lastly, here is what Dubas had to say regarding the future of Morgan Rielly who is entering the final year of his contract: “Morgan is a huge part of what we do here.”  Seeing has how both sides have plenty of time to discuss a new deal, Dubas added “Patience is a good thing.”

Patience is something that Toronto Maple Leafs fans have very little of and rightfully so.

Brendan Shanahan – Team President

First is a message to the fans “We understand the disappointment that everybody feels. We wanted to be a beacon of happiness for you.”

When asked about what is missing from this group that needs to be addressed. “There’s a killer instinct missing we need to address.”

Regarding the big four of Matthews, Marner, Tavares, and Nylander. “Any team in the league would love to have any one of them, but we want them, we like them, we want to keep them here. They’re special players.”

As true as this may be, at some point one of these four will likely need to be moved to improve the team in other ways, such as defense.

Shanahan on this group moving forward. “As horrible and as devastated as we feel today, we are not going to stop until we accomplish this, we are going to do this here in Toronto with this group. The team will evolve, but we are going to get this done.”

On management’s job moving forward. “Until we get those results in the playoffs, none of us are going to be satisfied with our job.”

Sheldon Keefe – Head Coach

Sheldon Keefe was asked what he thought when he woke up the morning after the game seven loss. “I’m not really sure if I can classify it as waking up, because I’m not sure I ever actually went to sleep.” 

Keefe on the anger being heard from the fans. “I understand the fans’ anger and it’s justified.” 

Keefe on his players. “One thing that’s abundantly clear to me today with every player I met with and spoke with is they care deeply and this has impacted them greatly.”

Keefe also said that finding a way to fix the power-play will be “a major focus” this off-season.

Next. Exit Interviews Part 1: The Players. dark

That concludes this years exit interviews. Let’s hope management has learned what needs to be fixed and is able to address those needs in the off-season.