Kyle Dubas Takes Over as Maple Leafs General Manager After Another Early Playoff Exit | CBC Sports (2023)

Brendan Shanahan started the week hoping to keep Kyle Dubas on the ground.

An incredible five-day roller coaster that ended with the Toronto Maple Leafs in the market for a new general manager in what could be a make-or-break summer for the success-hungry Original Six franchise.

Team president Shanahan fired his general manager on Friday, ending a tumultuous period that began Monday when Dubas said publicly he wasn't sure he wanted to stay in the job.

Leafs said in a news release posted shortly after 12 p.m. ET The organization has "parted ways" with the 37-year-old coach, whose contract ends June 30, after five seasons in charge.

But at a news conference about three hours later, Shanahan said in a detailed opening statement that lasted more than 11 minutes after several days of communications, including contract discussions and at least one face-to-face meeting.

CLOCK | What's next for the Leafs after Dubas leaves?

Kyle Dubas Takes Over as Maple Leafs General Manager After Another Early Playoff Exit | CBC Sports (1)

The Leafs fired general manager Kyle Dubas. What's next for the team?

5 days ago


The Toronto Maple Leafs fired general manager Kyle Dubas after a second-round playoff loss, sparking discussions about the franchise's future - and what's next for a Canadian NHL franchise that hasn't brought back the Stanley Cup in more than 30 years.

According to Shanahan, despite an email from Dubas the night before saying he wanted to stay on board, the final decision was to fire the general manager, despite his agent's request for a higher salary.

"At that time... my vision of the future was in a different place," he told reporters at Scotiabank Arena on Friday. "As hard as it is to make big changes with someone close to you...from the emails I've gotten from Kyle, I feel differently and I feel like there could be changes in the long-term future of the Maple Leafs.

"I fell asleep, woke up this morning, drove to Kyle's office... and told him we weren't renewing his contract."

CLOCK | Shanahan discusses Dubas' decision:

Toronto Maple Leafs president Brandon Shanahan updated the media Friday on the departure of general manager Kyle Dubas.

With Dubas becoming the first amazing domino, it's been an intriguing few months cooking up in hockey's biggest market, and now the focus is on his successor, and the status of head coach Sheldon Keefe and future star forward Auston. Matthews, both strongly linked to the GM split.

This spring, the Leafs won their first playoff series in nearly 20 years after defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning and then falling to the Florida Panthers in a disappointing second round.

"Throughout the year, the way the team has been run, I haven't had any problems," Shanahan said, answering a total of eight questions from reporters in his first media interview in a year. "Kyle did a great job."

"When the season ended ... I expressed our disappointment to Kyle that night and I think he did a great job," Shanahan added.

But despite all the praise, the Leafs are here to stay, minus the GM, and some seismic decisions are looming.

CLOCK | CBC Sports' Rob Pizzo talks about what's next in the Leafs' GM search:

Kyle Dubas Takes Over as Maple Leafs General Manager After Another Early Playoff Exit | CBC Sports (3)

Toronto Maple Leafs part ways with GM Kyle Dubas

5 days ago


CBC Sports' Rob Pizzo breaks down the news that Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas won't be back and what could happen next as the hockey club searches for its replacement items.

An emotional Dubas told a season-ending news conference Monday that he wasn't sure about staying at GM, citing pressure on his young family.

"I definitely don't want to go anywhere else," he added at the time. "Either it's here or it will take time to recalibrate [and] reflect."

The Maple Leafs said Friday night that Jason Spezza, who retired after the 2021-22 season to become a special assistant to Dubas, has resigned from Toronto's management.

Entered Toronto in 2014

Dubas joined the organization as an assistant general manager in 2014 at age 28 and led the NHL's Toronto Marie to a Calder Cup title four years later.

He took over as general manager from Hall of Famer Lou Lamoriello in May 2018 as part of a succession plan under Shanahan.

Toronto experienced unprecedented regular season traction and set franchise records in the Dubas era. However, the team's Stanley Cup drought lasted 56 years.

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He hasn't shied away from the big plays -- Dubas fired talented coach Mike Babcock and replaced him with Keefe -- but he's struggled to find the right playoff mix ahead of his brief outburst this spring.

"I don't think it's a failure that Kyle has come here," Shanahan said, adding that the process of finding a successor would begin immediately. "Kyle has been instrumental in making this organization what it is today.

"I have to think: how do we get to where we want to be in the future and what is the best way to be better?"

CLOCK | The Maple Leafs are eliminated by the Panthers in Game 5:

Kyle Dubas Takes Over as Maple Leafs General Manager After Another Early Playoff Exit | CBC Sports (4)

Cousins ​​Game 5 OT winner gives Panthers Series a win over Maple Leafs

12 days ago


Nick Cousins ​​scored in the first overtime to help Florida beat Toronto 3-2 in Game 4 to eliminate the Maple Leafs 4-1 in the series.

core 4

During his five years in charge, Dubas has been adamant about backing Toronto's so-called "top four" offensive talents, including Matthews, Mitch Mana, John Tavares and William Nyland.

"My whole time here has been incredible," Marner said of Dubas after the Leafs were eliminated by Florida.

  • FLA defeats Maple Leafs 4-1 and eliminates playoffs with victory of Panthers Cousins ​​​​in Game 5 in overtime

Matthews also divulged what Dubas brought to the table, while defenseman Morgan Riley endorsed his now-former general manager earlier this week.

"I think it's Kyle's world," he said. "A world class GM."

His first big move came just months after taking over in 2018, luring Tavares to a seven-year, $77 million free agent deal.

He had difficult negotiations with Nylander before finally signing a six-year, $45 million contract extension. This set the stage for Matthews to sign a five-year extension worth just under $58.2 million. Marner was then awarded a six-year, $65.4 million contract when Toronto allocated around half of its salary cap to four stars.

Dubas wasn't shy about changing course, realizing early on that Toronto needed more grit and playoff experience.

He acquired Cup winner Jake Muzzin in 2019 and Ryan O'Reilly in 2023 with the goal of bringing the Leafs up the ranks.

CLOCK | Leafs win first playoff series in 19 years:

Kyle Dubas Takes Over as Maple Leafs General Manager After Another Early Playoff Exit | CBC Sports (5)

Tavares' winner in Chargers' Game 6 overtime sends Maple Leafs to the Second Round

25 days ago


Toronto's John Tavares scored the game-winner in overtime against Tampa Bay on Saturday night as the Maple Leafs won 2-1 to clinch a 4-2 run victory.

Trade Term Review

Dubas overhauled the roster before this season's trade deadline, adding players like O'Reilly, Noel Achari, Luke Shine and Jack McCabe.

They finally seemed to hit the nail on the head in the Leafs' six-game win over Tampa that dispelled a generation of playoff demons, but Florida's strong 4-1 second-round win put the spotlight on.

"He made some really good plays," Shanahan said. "He has been doing everything possible to prepare the team."

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The next GM must now decide what to do with Keefe, while Matthews and Nyland are entering the final years of their tenure and could sign extensions on July 1.

Both players said they wanted to stay, but that was while Dubas was still in the big chair. Matthews and Marner will be effective this summer, while Nylander will have a 10-team roster.

Although Dubas couldn't open the winning streak in Toronto, the general manager's enthusiasm was never questioned.

This spring, he rants against Chargers fans, wildly celebrates that the Leafs finally made it past the first round, and throws a bottle of water in disgust when the Panthers lose.

"I'm an emotional person," Dubas said Monday. "I'm very passionate about it... I know some people won't like it or care.

"But that's me."

Now move on: The Leafs need a new GM.

Marlies coaching staff dissolved

Meanwhile, Toronto Mali will be without head coach Greg Moore and assistant coaches A.J. McClain and John Snowden, the club announced Friday.

The Toronto Maple Leafs' top affiliate change comes less than 24 hours after the club was eliminated in three games by the Rochester Americans in the NHL playoffs.

Moore just finished his fourth season as Maris's coach, while McClain has been coaching for the past eight years.

Meanwhile, Snowden spent five seasons with the organization: three as head coach of the Newfoundland Growlers in the ECHL third division and two with the Marlies.

"I want to express my sincere gratitude to our coaching staff for their commitment and contributions to the organization," Leafs assistant general manager of minor league operations Ryan Hardy said. "Our club wishes Greg, A.J., John and their families the very best."

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