Let's dig a little deeper:Kyle Dubasshould come back asOak LeafDirector general.
he is the best CEOmoveIt hasn't been this close in 20 years. (Who is the second?)
A serious warning: will Leaf make a promise to convince him to stay? This seems to be an important part of the whole conversation. The short-term deal is unlikely to work out for Dubas, especially with other job opportunities now and in the future. No doubt he also has more autonomy in mind.
If he ends up staying, Dubas will have to adjust what he's doing in big and small ways to guide the Maple Leafs well beyond where they are now. This is a playoff run in the last five seasons.
Thursday marks the Duba's fifth birthday.
He's been creative as a GM with the help of #2 Brandon Pridham. What he didn't, at least not enough at this point, was that his methods were brutal. And the way forward, the way forward this summer, will require a Leafs general manager willing to make a series of difficult and dark decisions, the unsettling but necessary change that professional sports demand.
Dubas was not always this guy. After all that, he needs to summon the Steve Izerman inside of him and not care.
Example 1: Possibly replacing the only coach you've hired as a GM at any level. Dubas is set to fire Mike Babcock 23 games into the 2019-20 season. He didn't hire Babcock. There is no connection there, there is no connection, there is no shared vision of things. Sheldon Keefe is different in that sense, very different.
He is from Dubai.
Dubas hired Keefe to train the Soo Greyhounds.
Dubas hired Keefe to coach the Toronto Malis.
Dubas hires Keefe to replace Babcock, even with zeroNon-Hodgkin lymphomacoach experience.
Is Dubas now ready to break with the man he once was?ThatProximity, if the organization deems it necessary (which seems likely)? Are you willing to take an objective look at the work Keefe has put in, including several regular-season successes, but also four disappointing playoff runs that cost the team and its stars?
Example 2: You are willing to make tough decisions with your star player, starting withjoao tavares?
Will you at least raise the possibility, for example, that Tavares waives his no-fire clause?
He is willing to become more like him.rayIt's Julien BriseBois, isn't it? After three straight Stanley Cup Final appearances and two Cup appearances, Brise Bois askedryan macdonaldWaive your no-trade clause on Lightning cap and roster shuffle. heDone this three days after losing Flash.arriveavalancheIn the 2022 Stanley Cup Final.
There was even talk of asking for the captain's lightning (never confirmed)Steven StamkosHe waived the no-action clause early in the Tampa campaign.
Is Dubas willing to have such an unpleasant conversation?
Kyle Dubas with John Tavares and his family on Jan. 29, 2023, in his 1,000th NHL game (Nick Turkia Luo/USA TODAY)
Let's be clear: It's hard to imagine much interest in lowering the $11 million salary cap over the next two seasons for a player about to turn 33. But given Tavares' age and job, at least that possibility should be explored. Will Dubas insist that Tavares go to the band next season? He could go a step further and consider trading the captaincy like other equally disappointing playoff teams, that is.san jose sharks?
What if a) there is (probably) no league-wide interest in Tavares and/or b) Tavares' team doesn't want to move (probably)manna do mickeymiGuillermo Nyland, the two players you have supported unconditionally in the past?
Would you consider moving one of them?
There's no way the Leafs can get them all back to the top, especially with Tavares (who missed most of the 2021 playoffs), Marner, Neyland,auston matthews, mimorgan riellyAll aboard.
Is Dubas finally willing to take up, perhaps not a hammer, but a scalpel, and make big changes by trading a big star?
After the Leafs parted ways with the Habs in 2021, he has every right to make such a move, evenBlue jacketa year ago. He does not. Instead, he supported the core players more strongly.
It's hard to find a way around that possibility this time. The Leafs need to execute these big plays well to stay in contention, which isn't always easy in a league that tends (in my opinion) to underestimate trade stars.
While admirable in many ways, Dubas has largely embraced stardom. He went to the margins, and finished with value, in Nylander's second contract (Nylander's $6.9 million contract ranks 86th in the NHL this season). But he is reluctant and unable to commit to a second deal for Matthews or Marner.
Matthews' contract is only five years old, but it's still capped at $11.6 million, second only toConnor McDavidwhen signing. Marner's deal lasted just six years, or $10.9 million at no discount. While Matthews and Marner outgrow those contracts at this point (at least in the regular season), the Leafs can't get more out of those deals the way other clubs have done with their talented young players.
Even McDavid, despite earning the league's highest salary cap ($12.5 million) in his second contract, was willing to sign a full eight years in Edmonton.
Under Dubas and Shanahan, the Leafs also haven't been as active in these deals as they should have been.
Can Dubas extract more from Matthews in his next contract, if not in dollar terms, or vice versa? He won't have the influence of a restricted free agent. He won't have any influence, really. Will he be able to convince Matthews to stay?
There's also no reason Nylander should accept less in his next deal than he did in his last. He could also sign an extension this summer.
Marner will re-sign in the summer of 2024.
Kyle Dubas, December 1, 2018, the day William Nylander signed his second contract (David Berding/USA TODAY)
Dubas needs to somehow execute these exchanges with more skill than last time.
If the Leafs aren't willing to invest big money in Nylander anytime soon, it's more likely he'll leave even after his 40 regular-season goals.
Dubas can be misconstrued as this guy who believes in numbers and only numbers. He is much more than that. people tend to forgetScouting since adolescenceat OHL. He also prioritizes, sometimes exaggerating, those he believes in and knows.
There is no better example than this.mate murray.
Health has been an issue for Murray throughout his NHL career, including his final season in Ottawa. Anyway, Dubas changed it last summer, agreat riskanyway, and allowsenatorJust pay 25% of Murray's contract and get away with it. (If the Leafs don't bite, what will they do with Murray?)
That's $4.7 million in allotted cap space for a goaltender who played in 26 games, missed the playoffs and is signed for next season.
Dubas owns Murray's in Sault Ste. Maria. The same goes for his goalkeeping guru, Jon Elkin. The Leafs had more information about this man than was clear from the evidence available at the time. Dubas, if he stays, will presumably have to pay to cut sheets from Murray's contract (or stick with him and bet he'll get healthy again).
I find it disgusting to mention itJack MuzzinDisease. But in the end, the Leafs backed an aging and increasingly injury-prone defense after the 2021-22 season, so they had to pay up assets to replace him at the trade deadline.
Instead of using these features in advanced upgrades (Dmitri Orlov, say), they chose a smaller version (Jack McCabe) He has a contract limited to a reduced price of $2 million.
This hurt the Leafs in the playoffs, when McCabe,foreseeable, fighting in the kind of prime-time playoff role he's never had before.
Dubas tries to navigate the present and the future when the present is the most important.
All of which sounds like a reason to move in one direction with the Leafs' general manager. but it is not the truth. Because, for the most part, Dubas has been very effective. He has turned the Leafs into a very modern organization, making sure the players have everything they need in almost every way possible. (Talking to many people outside the organization, they all said the same thing.) The Leafs did not have a skill development program until Dubas replaced Lou Lamoriello as general manager. Emphasis on mental health or exercise science varies. Dubas applauded the Maple Leafs on all fronts.
While it's easy to overlook these things these days, what it does is give players everything they need to reach their potential. (Ultimately, these players need to do their part and show.)
Dubas shows a knack for exploiting overlooked talent. thinkMichael empavesado,david fight,jack campbell,trevor moore,justin's living room, even Muzzin and more. (The Leafs wisely signed Bunting and Kempf to two-year contracts two summers ago, giving them real salary-cap value for two seasons instead of one.)
He'll need to do more gem sorting this summer (again, if he stays), whicha lot ofWaiting for UFA and the next two years, all cash disappears in all business activities. (The leaves need a foreground that they have already selected.matthew niceAt least Joseph Wall looks promising. )
Dubas quickly swallowed the mistake (i.e.Nickridge,pedro murazetc.) and, fundamentally, demonstrate the will to evolve. At first, he seemed to believe that tricks could solve all problems. Over time, he began to prioritize the more intangible qualities necessary to succeed in the playoffs (again, not yet), and he has done so in this period of time, notably,Ryan O´Reilly,Noel Acchari, milucas shane.
Also of note: When they signed their star, Reeves from Dubas expected a sky-high ceiling. They didn't make it, but they still managed to build a very good team (in the regular season), one of the top five in the league. Success in the regular season probably means nothing to anyone right now, but it should matter in GM's broader assessment. During Dubas's tenure, the Leafs had the fifth-highest scoring in the league (. 651). His team isn't trying to make the playoffs like his predecessors. No, they are the dominant team in the league.
It doesn't take long to look around the league and see how badly other teams are doing. In other words, how poorly can Leafs perform with a lesser GM. Gosh, looking back at these teams before Dubas, even the ones led by Lamoriello, some amazing decisions were made at the time that caused huge problems for the organization (ie.Nikita Zaitsevcontract, still a year to go...! ).
Dubas is not perfect. No GM. It can still improve. he already. His career as an NHL general manager was only five years old. He has to keep evolving. But he must keep his job if he wants to.
(上图:Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)