OPINION | New Maple Leafs GM priorities: John Tavares, contract issues (2023)

OPINION | New Maple Leafs GM priorities: John Tavares, contract issues (1)

OPINION | New Maple Leafs GM priorities: John Tavares, contract issues (2)

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One of the biggest mistakes Kyle Dubas made was giving Tavares $11 million a year and then messing up the order and chemistry of a young Leafs team.

OPINION | New Maple Leafs GM priorities: John Tavares, contract issues (3)

crossNick Capriosfreelance columnist

Thursday, May 25, 2023chronograph5 minutes. read

renewArticle updated 2 hours ago

almost five years agoKyle DubasHe completed his signature move in Toronto.

now in exileOak LeafThe general manager helped the company less than two months after taking officeHe convinced New York Islanders captain John Tavares to leave the only NHL team he knew.Then go home. Just 32 years old at the time, Dubas was desperate to make a name for himself as the new general manager and came up with a public relations dream, at least on the surface.Accompanied by a photo of a young Tavares in his Maple Leafs pajamas.

Dubas brought back the star the Maple Leafs wanted. After all these years, it's worth checking if it's what they need.

I remember working on Sportsnet's frantic free agent table on July 1, 2018 and immediately wondering what contract renewal meant.auston matthewsmimanna do mickeyThe up-and-coming superstar is destined to become the NHL's next dynamic duo, as theyjonathan tothmipatrick kaneosidney crosbymiYevgeny Malkin... But for some reason, I feel like the chemistry of this team has been broken.

The sports analytics department continued to grow as the method became one of the main ways management teams built their teams. However, I still find it hard to believe that some teams rely so heavily on math and statistics to determine if they have a championship-caliber team ready to challenge for the Stanley Cup.

Many aspects of sports success can now be determined by a simple algorithm. But did the mathematicians who developed these statistics know what it takes to look at yourself in the locker room and ask to do more on the ice? Call me corny, but that was real chemistry and should not be underestimated or taken for granted.

The Maple Leafs never fully understood that part this season,Coach Sheldon Keefe can't find the right mix for his defensive line and mix.Personally, the Leafs have great talent, but somehow it never worked. In Keefe's defense, the Leafs' chemistry woes began long before he took a seat behind the bench.

In my opinion, the arrival of Tavares has always changed the dynamic of the two young stars of the Leafs. One of Dubas' biggest mistakes was bringing in Tavares as a mentor to Matthews and Manal before signing the duo and putting them in the proper pecking order.

For a young player like Matthews, it must be strange to see Tavares as the leader.when your salary is lower, even if it's only $600,000 (US). And, to be fair, Tavares never tried to be the kind of leader he wasn't. In islander times, Tavares was never considered a man who would take a hands-on approach. His greatest strength as a captain has always been setting an example with his work ethic and scoring ability. In his five years in Toronto, no one would have questioned him either.

It's also clear that the seven-year, $77 million contract he signed was the main reason the Leafs lost cap space on a balanced roster.

In hindsight, if Dubas insists that no one will make more than the future captain's $11 million a year, then the only chance this signing will work. But the Matthews camp got away with the Leafs, and the dominoes began to fall.

Dubas succumbed to Matthews' unprecedented demand for a five-year contract worth $11.6 million a year. Marner did the same for more, managing $10.9 million worth of AAVs. Instead, Nyland, who signed before everything went crazy,$6.9 million per season is a steal... When Matthews and Nyland manage to negotiate an extension on July 1, we can only imagine what to expect from their contracts.

The question is how do Chairman Brendan Shanahan and his new GM solve this problem?

They may need to start by looking at the remaining two years on Tavares' contract. If this is where all the problems start, this is probably the place to start fixing them. Things could quickly get worse for the new general manager, who might have to ask the 14-year veteran, who has a no-move clause and leaves in the second round of his team's playoffs. The Florida Panthers later told reporters: "i intend to come here”- think about going elsewhere.

With the possibility of multiple teams buying out parts of his contract, it's possible to increase the Leafs' salary-cap space by moving a significant portion of the $22 million the 32-year-old is owed over the next two seasons. With the way he plays each game, he can clearly help a dozen desperate teams make it to the playoffs. Losing the freedom of that contract would also allow the new GM to reshuffle the priorities of Matthews, Marner and Nyland in the locker room.

Intuition, not analysis, is what the Toronto venue needs this offseason. Team chemistry won't be mentioned in the stats, but it's a recipe for playoff success. Any player who has lifted a trophy will tell you.

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Dubas pissed off already frustrated Maple Leafs fans. They've gone from "we can and we will" to we won't and we won't. GM's next job is to change the narrative. He can start by finding a new home for a hero in town.

guard point

Shanahan's plan remains to find the next Leafs GM, but it seemsFormer Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving is this week's headlinerTalks between the two should continue next week... Blues president and general manager Doug Armstrong often tells those close to him that his dream job is managing the Maple Leafs. However, it seems unlikely he'll end up staying in Toronto for two reasons: He has three years left on his contract, he doesn't have a release clause and he has to report to someone out of state. in st. Louis, Armstrong has complete control over his team, he answers only to team owner Tom Stillman... which sounds likeMatt Murray will not play at Robidas Islandnext season. Dubas is said to have plans for the goalie if he stays on as general manager.is to keep it healthy and ready to compete for the netThe Leafs owe Murray $4.6 million for next season.

change your mind

About mouthguards helping NHL players.Seriously, watching Matthew Tkachuk chew on his mouth guard every night makes me wonder: what's the point?

Nick Capriosis a former NHL player, Stanley Cup champion, and current host of Sportsnet's Real Kyper and Bourne radio show. He is a freelance writer for The Star and lives in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter:@RealKyper

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