After building the NHL’s best roster, and putting on a Master Class at this year’s trade deadline, the Toronto Maple Leafs should sign their GM to a contract extension.
Now, popular sentiment suggests that the Toronto Maple Leafs will fire their GM if they do not advance beyond the first round, but, if true, this is a very stupid, backwards way to run a franchise.
Personally, due to years of reactive and capricious decisions, I was shocked to my very core that MLSE did not fire Dubas (undeservedly) after last year’s unlucky loss to Montreal. But since they surprised me and showed some mettle, I think they should take the next logical step:
Extend Kyle Dubas right now, regardless of what happens this spring.
Toronto Maple Leafs and Kyle Dubas
The Leafs current GM was hired by Brendan Shanahan as the team’s assistant GM on July 22 2014. One year later, on April 12 2015, Dubas was named interim GM after Shanahan fired the vastly incompetent Dave Nonis.
Dubas was only the Leafs GM for 3 months and 11 days, but during this time he made at least three earth shaking moves that still shape today’s roster.
- He traded for Zach Hyman on June 19th 2015.
- He drafted Mitch Marner
- He traded Phil Kessel to the Penguins on July 1st.
He was then relegated to a mentor/mentee role with Lou Lamoriello, before becoming the Leafs GM again on May 11 2018. (info from capfriendly.com).
But it was the Phil Kessel trade that allowed the Toronto Maple Leafs to be bad enough to finish last and draft Auston Matthews, so we should be very clear about one thing: This team is almost all Kyle Dubas’ construction. Other than Pierre Engvall, Morgan Rielly and William Nylander this roster is 100% his ( he extended them all, and neglected to trade them, so the point may be moot anyways).
I realize that Playoff Success is what this team will ultimately be judged on, but Kyle Dubas has built a team that is indisputably a Cup Contender, and one of the league’s best teams (I’d say the best, but it’s obviously subjective) and which will likely be both of those things for the foreseeable future.
The team shouldn’t blow up something that is working just because the results don’t go the right way. The NHL playoffs are a crap shoot where the worst team will beat the best team at least once in five tries, which makes it completely idiotic to overreact to the results of the playoffs, whatever they may be.
Dubas has built the best team, and also:
- The Leafs farm system is very well regarded despite no high picks for years.
- Both Timothy Liljegren and Rasmus Sandin appear to be star-level core pieces.
- Nick Robertson appears to be an absolute home run.
- They remain the only NHL team without any bad contracts. (Even Mrazek’s doesn’t qualify).
- They just came out of the trade deadline and they improved as much or more as all of their rivals at a fraction of the cost.
Sure, there is a bro-tastic group of tiresome, hyper-macho Leafs “fans” who currently hate the team because they are seen as soft, and have developed a social consciousness that is the envy of the league, but a Kyle Dubas extension would have the effect of sending those guys to another fan base, so it’s a win-win situation.
I must confess I have no idea what Kyle Dubas’ current contract is, and that I was unable to find out through research. It doesn’t matter though, the Toronto Maple Leafs are a rich team that would easily eat any contract if it wanted to fire someone.
What would matter is extending his contract right now. It gives a vote of confidence to everyone in the organization and would life a ton of pressure off the team. A contract extension for the GM would have the effect of telling Matthews, Marner et. al. to relax and do their best without having to worry about the future. It would allow the Leafs to put the practice of “process over results” in place throughout the organization.
It would be the best thing for the future of this team, both short and long-term. MLSE should extend Kyle Dubas before the playoffs.