Maple Leafs Kick Off Summer Of Change; Move On From GM Kyle Dubas

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The Toronto Maple Leafs’ Kyle Dubas era has come to an end.

But we all knew this was coming, right?

It seemed like changes were going to be coming this offseason and the first change has happened. According to Yahoo Sports, the Leafs have split with GM Kyle Dubas.

While the Leafs managed to win a playoff series for the first time in 19 years this postseason, it was still another disappointment for a team, given the amount of talent at the top of its roster.

37-year-old Dubas spent 5 years as the Leafs’ GM and was the architect for the team’s very expensive 4 player core that included Matthews, John Tavares, William Nylander, and Mitch Marner. All four players are forwards and they ate up nearly $40 million in cap space this season. That often meant that the team had to sacrifice in other areas of the roster.

The Leafs’ blue line was an issue for years, and when a slew of goaltending injuries struck the team, they were required to throw goalies on amateur tryout deals in net because of the cap situation.

Dubas went all in on the team’s Big 4, and unfortunately for him, they never managed to get over the playoff hump.

Auston Matthews Toronto Maple Leafs
Inking star center Auston Matthews to an extension will be a top priority for the next GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs. If that doesn’t work, they’ll need to find a place to deal him as soon as possible (Photo by Gavin Napier/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

What’s Next For Dubas And The Leafs

Earlier this week, Dubas expressed his hopes to stay in Toronto.

“I definitely don’t have it in me to go anywhere else,” he said, per Yahoo Sports. “It will be either [in Toronto] or it will be taking time to recalibrate, reflect on the seasons here. You won’t see me next week pop up elsewhere. I can’t put (my family) through that after this year.”

Of course, we now know that he isn’t going to be staying in Toronto.

There are reports that Dubas could move on to the Pittsburgh Penguins, who cleared out their front office after missing the playoffs. The Pens are nearing the end of the Crosby/Malkin/Letang era and will need to start building for the future.

Is Dubas the right guy to do that? I mean… if he learned from his mistakes in Toronto, then maybe? But if he tries to go back to his overspending ways, then he’s going to run into the same pitfalls.

As for the Leafs, what’s next? Priority number one will probably be what to do with Auston Matthews. He’s a free agent at the end of next season but has expressed an interest in getting an extension done.

William Nylander — the only one of the Big 4 who showed up for the series against the Florida Panthers — is also a UFA at the end of next season.

If neither one fits into the next GMs plans (although you’d figure at least one of them does) the sooner they deal them, the bigger the return will be.

There’s also the matter of head coach Sheldon Keefe. Dubas hired Keefe to coach the Leafs’ AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies before promoting him. He also hired him as head coach when he was the GM of the OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.

Will the next GM want to put their own guy behind the bench? We’ll have to see. But this is just the beginning of an interesting summer in Toronto.

Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle

Written by Matt Reigle

Matt is a University of Central Florida graduate and a long-suffering Philadelphia Flyers fan living in Orlando, Florida. He can usually be heard playing guitar, shoe-horning obscure quotes from The Simpsons into conversations, or giving dissertations to captive audiences on why Iron Maiden is the greatest band of all time.

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  1. Good article. Dubas was a blogger and analytics guy before being a Leafs GM, so he clearly didn’t know how to properly build a team. These analytics guys rarely understand how to build a blue line and that was a killer for Toronto for years. The Leafs will have a new GM and Coach next season and they have their work cut out for them with a very flawed and cap constrained roster.

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