It was a hot topic during the Leafs' opening press conference at training camp yesterday and rightfully so, as Kyle Dubas enters into the final year of his current contract with no extension in place. Dubas did not shy away from questions surrounding his lack of extension either, but also noted that he had conversations with Brendan Shanahan about the reason behind it.
Addressing his possible extension, Dubas said, "I've fully acknowledged that we haven't gotten it done at the end of the season. I would much rather be evaluated on the full term anyway. The organization preaches accountability and in my position, I'm no different." Dubas also mentioned that he has no issues with entering the season without one and claimed that he wouldn't let his status be a distraction to the team.
From my perspective, trying to replace Dubas at the most critical time in recent franchise history would be a massive mistake. Auston Matthews
and William Nylander
are eligible for extensions on July 1st, 2023 and bringing in a new face that has no relationship with either of them a few weeks before they become eligible (specifically Matthews) can alter the course of the franchise and could result in the very thing they're trying to avoid - losing Auston Matthews
in 2024. Not only does Dubas have a solid foundation and relationship with both players, but he has been in constant contact with Matthews and his agent, possibly already negotiating terms of an extension.
While Dubas has made some mistakes, he has also done what few General Managers do, admit they didn't work out and do his best to correct them, most recent examples are Nick Ritchie
and Petr Mrazek
and even correcting the mistakes of supposed masterful GM Lou Lamoriello like off-loading Nikita Zaitsev
. Not only has Dubas corrected his mistakes and those of previous GMs, but after Mark Hunter failed the Leafs in drafting from 2015 to 2017, Dubas has been able to restock the team's prospect pipeline. While many don't agree with some of or most of his draft selections, opting for skill and hockey IQ over size, the prospect pool is deeper than it has been since he led the Marlies to a Calder Cup.
Dubas has created an environment that players want to play in and are willing to sacrifice money for an opportunity to win. Since he became the GM of the Leafs in May of 2018, the Leafs are fifth in the NHL in wins, third in regulation wins, fifth in goal differential and have the top two regular seasons in franchise history measured in points percentage. Not only that, but they are coming off of the best season in franchise history in terms of points and wins. They have improved year over year under Dubas and he has given the players everything they have needed along the way.
At this point, it is up to the players to win when it matters most. Should they once again fail to get out of the first round, Dubas should be given the opportunity to not only negotiate the extension of Matthews, but take the team in a new direction that may include breaking up the "Core 4". The Leafs are highly unlikely to find another GM that is willing to adapt and change his philosophies the way Dubas has over his tenure as General Manager and it only seems fair he should get a chance to make a major change to his team.
WOULD THE LEAFS BE MAKING A MISTAKE BY WALKING AWAY FROM DUBAS THIS SUMMER, WIN OR LOSE?
SEPTEMBER 22 347 ANSWERS
|YES, IT WOULD BE A MISTAKE||212||61.1 %|
|NO, HE'S HAD HIS RUN. IT'S TIME FOR CHANGE||135||38.9 %|
| LIST OF POLLS|