Toronto Maple Leafs: How Long Will the Kyle Dubas Era Last?

Toronto Maple Leafs (Mandatory Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports)
Toronto Maple Leafs (Mandatory Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs will enter their fourth season under Kyle Dubas, but will there be a fifth if the team underperforms once again?

During his reign as general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Kyle Dubas has taken his fair share of criticism. Whether it was the Nazem Kadri trade, the way he handled the four goalie situation, or the contracts he gave the core-four, many fans have been upset with his moves.

When you have a different philosophy or mindset, the general public isn’t usually going to agree with you. If something works one way, nobody’s ever in a hurry to change it, because if “it aint broke, don’t fix it”.

Since Dubas cares more about possession and analytics more than your “old-school” hockey mind, his thinking seems to upset a lot of Leafs fans. It’s understandable as to why, because the team hasn’t won a playoff round with him in charge, despite some great regular season’s.

Also, with Lou Lamoriello winning the Executive of the Year for two consecutive seasons, that continues to rub salt in the wound of Leafs fans who would have preferred him to be the general manager of the team.

Could the 2021-22 Season Be Dubas’ Last Year as GM?

The Toronto Maple Leafs 2020-21 season was their best chance at advancing in the playoffs in the last 20 years. As the No. 1 seed of the North Division, they had an opportunity that they should have seized.

However, John Tavares and Jake Muzzin got hurt and as a result, they blew a 3-1 series lead to the Montreal Canadiens. Instead of winning their first playoff series since 2004, the team faltered like they typically do.

Despite the disappointing ending, how much blame can we put on Kyle Dubas?

10 percent? 20 percent? 50 percent? 100 percent?!

During the regular season, Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner were unstoppable. Matthews won the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy and Marner led the team in scoring with 67 points in 55 games. John Tavares and William Nylander were close to point-per-game players and were on pace for 27 goals each in a typical 82-game season.

Not only that, but their defense was well-improved and Jack Campbell (who Dubas traded for) was unbelievable.

The Leafs were the No. 1 seed for a reason and everything seemed to click. Through five games, I think the city actually thought that Toronto could win a Stanley Cup.

The collapse wasn’t Dubas’ fault. He can take some of the blame because he was the one who constructed the team, but the players should take the majority of the blame. If Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner performed their best, Toronto may still be in the playoffs. Dubas signed two of the best players in the NHL to extensions, so he should deserve some praise for that.

We’re not stuck with Tyler Bozak and Phil Kessel anymore. This team has legitimate talent and will once again be one of the best offensive teams in hockey next year.

However, when you sign four players to $40M contracts and they lose in the first round, something has to give. If this team has the same players and they fall apart again next year, Dubas will probably get fired.

Four years is enough time as a GM to prove your worth and if this team doesn’t take a serious step forward next year, the architect behind the team will have to lose their job. You can’t fire all of the players, so instead, Dubas should be the one who takes the blame.

Next. Leafs Should Learn From Montreal. dark

Personally, I think the organization would want Dubas to be the GM for the next decade because of the human-being that he is and the wonderful things he’s done behind the scenes, but from a straight hockey perspective, if this team loses in the first round, or misses the playoffs next year, the 2021-22 season will (and should be) unfortunately be his last.