Toronto Maple Leafs normal supervisor Kyle Dubas has been criticized for being too younger, too new-school, dangerous at RFA contract negotiations, or being too loyal to individuals and employees he likes.
However on the entire, Dubas constructed a fairly good hockey staff within the course of, and has by no means been one to sit down on his arms.
A serious roster shakeup is coming quickly after one other playoff exit, the Leafs fanbase says.
However additionally they say that after an early season loss to Ottawa, or after a failed energy play likelihood towards Vancouver.
For each downside the Leafs have had, Dubas has appeared to have a solution in his tenure as GM since 2018.
Acquisitions of TJ Brodie and Jake Muzzin helped deliver a defensive stability to a run-and-gun roster. Final season’s add in Jack Campbell put up a .921 save share within the common season in 22 video games and a .934 in his first ever playoff sequence. The Leafs had eight gamers 30 or older go well with up for them within the playoffs.
The listing goes on and on of issues that Dubas could possibly be praised for. He nonetheless can’t be praised for successful a playoff sequence, although, and that needs to be driving him mad.
For those who take a look at the numbers, you possibly can run over them 100 occasions and it nonetheless doesn’t make a lot sense how the Leafs managed to lose this 12 months’s first spherical sequence towards the Montreal Canadiens.
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It’s laborious to suppose the Leafs had been outplayed over the course of the seven video games.
It’s uncertain a normal supervisor identified for being as meticulous as Dubas feels they had been, not less than. Each stat from (and previous to) the sequence ought to’ve had the Leafs popping out on prime.
However it is going to be that check of Dubas’ notorious loyalty — to each his employees and his gamers — that can outline how the Leafs’ GM goes about his enterprise in a franchise-defining offseason.
Does Dubas keep on with Keefe?
Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe and Dubas have been tied collectively since their days as a coach/GM tandem with the OHL’s Soo Greyhounds.
They received a Calder Cup along with the Toronto Marlies again in 2018, and Keefe was Dubas’ first and solely actual consideration to rent when letting go of Mike Babcock again within the fall of 2019.
It’s laborious to essentially think about Keefe will get the boot lower than two calendar years in, however his seat has turn into remarkably hotter than it was even two weeks in the past.
Keefe has received 62 of his first 103 NHL common season video games, which is about all you possibly can ask.
He has received simply 5 of his first 12 NHL playoff video games, which individuals in Toronto will bear in mind much more.
Over the Leafs’ last three losses on this sequence, just a few obvious errors popped up: an incapacity to depend on William Nylander extra, who was clearly the staff’s finest offensive risk towards Montreal with 5 targets within the sequence.
“We put ourselves in a great spot to win the sequence, and didn’t get it carried out,” Keefe mentioned.
The Leafs outscored Montreal 12-4 by means of 4 video games and their lone loss got here the identical evening as a catastrophic harm to John Tavares.
It’s simple to marvel if Keefe himself might’ve put the Leafs in a greater spot, although.
Of the 5 video games that didn’t go to time beyond regulation, Nylander performed greater than 17 minutes simply as soon as.
Equally, Keefe appeared unwary to interrupt up the Auston Matthews-Mitch Marner duo even when the pair failed to supply a lot of something at even energy or on the ability play.
For a contending staff identified for a high-octane offence, that’s merely not adequate.
The Leafs already tried shopping for a big-name coach as soon as in Mike Babcock, and it’s clear that didn’t fairly work out for them. Changing Keefe is barely wise for the Leafs if there’s a greater possibility accessible, and it’s laborious to say proper now that there’s.
Loyalty to maintain sure gamers round?
For those who take a look at the Leafs gamers presently making $5 million or extra which are signed for subsequent season: Matthews, Tavares, Nylander, Marner, Brodie, Muzzin, and Morgan Rielly, you must marvel if Dubas feels compelled to maneuver on from certainly one of them.
Dubas has been a part of the group by means of not less than one contract extension for every of these big-money gamers.
As people, they’ve all had fairly stable Leafs careers of various lengths. As a complete, it merely hasn’t been adequate.
Numerous no-trade and no-movement clauses complicate Dubas’ choices with the signed core gamers, however you couldn’t actually blame anybody for wanting out of this group.
Whereas it’s laborious to inform what massive modifications are coming, the one factor that’s actually clear proper now could be we’ll study loads about Kyle Dubas’ allegiances within the coming months.