The Leafs have a delicate front office situation

It’s probably fair to say this summer has seen a debate arise about how, on the surface, the way the Leafs are operating seems to be making a shift. Their moves are contradictory, not at all like a year ago, and now it feels as though, for the first time under Shanahan’s watch, this management team, filled with big voices, is becoming a kitchen with too many cooks.

Maybe others’ read on the situation is different, and everyone’s entitled to that. But there’s a real sense among plenty of folks that it’s not all rosy at the top. For that reason, I think it’s likely that over the next year or so we’ll see some key cogs moving up and others moving on. Such is the business.

Mark Hunter was promoted to assistant general manager on Monday. It’s been initially played off by Lamoriello as a change in title only, but there has to be some further reasoning behind it. From the angle that it puts up a bit of a roadblock to other teams being able to poach him, it’s a tidy piece of business. But I’d wager it’s also to put him in the conversation for Lou’s job eventually and conciliate concerns about that role being handed to Kyle Dubas. I can say with a high degree of confidence that both those guys want that job badly when it comes about, and one will eventually emerge to take it. The promotion of Hunter formally puts them on level ground, and that’s notable. 

Personally, I think the Leafs would be best off with Dubas running the show in the long term. I’m not sure I have the same confidence in Hunter, as much as I respect his draft work. But my opinions aside, the thing is, I thought the path for the former was nearly a foregone conclusion, the succession plan in place. I don’t feel that way anymore. And as much as Shanahan has assured everyone that the whole group is contributing to the build, this offseason it’s felt like the decisions have fallen in line with older school thinking. There’s been noticeable change, and that’s undeniable. 

Hiring Lamoriello was a solid move, and his trade negotiation skills were apparently sorely needed, but there are some beginning to believe he’s quickly gone from just another part of the group to gaining typical GM autonomy since his hiring, and that’s created a situation that’s less-than-ideal.

All this is admittedly dosed in some speculation, but not unsubstantiated. Toronto’s management has been able to keep things quiet on player signings and such until there’s pen to paper, but when their overall approach shifts and their behaviour seems to indicate a rift, there’s likely more to it. 

The Leafs will have to be careful here. A little while ago I wrote that teams will likely start circling around Marlies head coach Sheldon Keefe soon, given his winning track record. My opinion on that hasn’t changed, and I think the same will happen with Dubas if the AHL club has another strong season. If some of the whispers out there are accurate, that Lamoriello and others are starting turn their ears away from the numbers-heavy guys and drifting back into dated habits, other progressive front offices will get ready to scoop up that kind of talent. Look no further than the overhaul of the Panthers these past few months. 

This is why the next 12 months or so are particularly interesting for the team in this regard, with the summer of 2017 putting Lamoriello one season away from his contract expiring. Will Shanahan then go the route of the Blues, for example, who made it clear that Mike Yeo would succeed Hitchcock after a year under his tutelage, and make a similar determination for one of Dubas or Hunter? Clearing that air ahead of time might be smart.

And who knows, perhaps this will all work out fine in the end and everyone will stay aboard forever, but I just think Hunter’s promotion isn’t meaningless, and shouldn’t be looked at as such. As for whether everything’s fine in the organization on the day-to-day, that depends on who you talk to, but from my end I think JP NIkota at PPP probably summed things up well with this: “…anyone who doesn’t have certain misgivings about the way the Leafs are being run right now isn’t paying close enough attention.

  • MigBoron

    I believe the Leafs stated grooming front office personnel , coaches etc. was part of their “game plan”. The idea was , sooner or later they would move on & the Leafs would’ve got draft choices as compensation. The NHL abolished the compensation, but of course we’re still on the hook for Babcock & Lou.

      • Stan Smith

        But they didn’t accept something as good enough……they made a change to add competition for “roster spots” in the front office when Lou retires. Not making a change would be accepting something as “good enough”, no?

        Every Leafs move doesn’t need a hair on fire alarmist view. When Lou retires, Shannahan will still be the man in charge, and I think he already has a plan for what he wants to do when that happens.

        I’d rather have multiple talented people working together, maybe getting poached by another organization than have not enough smart/talented people. If Dubas leaves in a couple of years and Hunter takes over, I’m sure there will be a well-qualified person ready to replace him.

        This management group is clearly thinking ahead and has a plan.

        • Gary Empey

          They also just hired Tim Spetz-again, they are not “accepting things as good enough” and just hoping for the best.

          I used to like reading these articles but I may need to stop for a little while until the writers take a collective deep breath and start writing well thought out pieces again.

    • Trevor5555

      We’re not expecting things to go south we just want to optimize every potential asset be it dollars/players/picks etc to their max and I think they’re doing an ok job but why can’t that be improved upon?

  • Gary Empey

    Really, this is no different than any ‘well run” organization. Look at the wings and black hawks. Both teams have had their staffs picked from regularly because they have winning staff, the same way that players are picked from cup teams.

    There needn’t be any riffs happening in the organization. Facts over suspicion and conjecture please.

    Frankly, i would hope that the current leaf plan continues because when other teams want your people it means you have good team with good people who know how to win. Just ask Detroit whose management staff has been picked from for years.

    “But there’s a real sense among plenty of folks that it’s not all rosy at the top.” Com’on, a sense?. Is Steve Simmons your mentor?

  • Trevor5555

    Ryan has to be the most pessimistic “author” I have ever seen.. Come on guys, lets stop with this over analysis bull****. I wont speak for everyone, but I can definitely say you have been putting a sour taste in my mouth in regards to this website lately…

  • Brent Wisken

    Instead of perceiving a new direction occurring, I think some people misunderstood the intentions of Leafs’ management right from the start, with the wrong assumption that the team was going to be completely built around high-end skill and completely devoid of elements of toughness. The Leafs will continue to prioritize skill, on-ice vision and speed, but there will likely be a place for toughness sprinkled throughout the line-up. For instance, Babcock and Hunter built their teams with the prioritization of skill, but nevertheless included some elements of toughness on their rosters. Just last year Babcock praised Komarov and Polak while stating that they “play like men”. Those two are not known for being high-end skilled players. Babcock tends to play a grittier type of player on each of his lines to complement the skilled players. Mark Hunter also prioritized skill on the London Knights, with examples such as Marner, Max Domi, Olli Maata, Juolevi, and even the tough Matthew Tkachuk having high end skill. But he had some elements of toughness on the team too. After all, Marner and Domi are very different players than Tkachuk and Max Jones. As for Kyle Dubas, he has undoubtedly provided influence, and was brought in to do so. Yet every time a beneficial move is made on the team, some people automatically assume without any evidence that it was due to Dubas, even though it could have been the result of other members of team management. Personally, I tend to assume that Hunter is behind all the best management moves, then realize i have no more evidence than those claiming Dubas is constructing the team. (Note: with all this said, i am not at all justifying the Prust PTO signing. Not a fan of Prust, and the Leafs should be trading forwards rather than bringing more in).

  • Robert

    I look at the Leafs like a person living in Toronto who lost a bunch of weight and now needs a new wardrobe. Living in Toronto a person can’t survive the year just wearing shorts, tank tops, and flip-flops when the snow begins to fall in the winter. That’s when the person needs long pants, coats and boots. So last year’s Leafs was the person buying their new summer clothes(light weight, sleek and tiny). This year the Leafs bought their winter clothes(big, bulky, tough).

    So, I don’t see a change in philosophy between the summer of 15 and the summer of 16. I believe the Leafs felt they bought all the summer clothes they need last year, so this year they went and bought the winter clothes they’ll need to survive the tough parts of the year, that will no doubt come.

  • Stan Smith

    I believe the number of talented individuals in management only becomes a problem if A: The Leafs win a cup in the next 5 years or so, or B: if the Leafs don’t win a cup in the next 5 years or so.

    At present the sole aim for the management team is to win a cup. If that is accomplished I can see the players involved reaping the benefits by moving on to lucrative positions elsewhere.

    If they fail, and it looks like the team is stagnating, then they move on because of opportunities elsewhere.

    For now everyone appears to be on the same wavelength.

  • Drapes55

    “the way the Leafs are operating seems to be making a shift. Their moves are contradictory, not at all like a year ago, and now it feels as though, for the first time under Shanahan’s watch, this management team, filled with big voices, is becoming a kitchen with too many cooks.” OR the cooks realized what they were missing and went out and got it. The front office decided that the Leafs needed a more balanced lineup with guys like Matthews, Marner and Nylander coming up likely this year they needed to balance that out with some toughness and veteran presence. Just cause they didn’t go after the players that you guys wanted doesn’t mean that they’re going in the wrong direction. Get your head out of your spreadsheets for a second and take a look at the bigger picture here.

  • Brent Wisken

    So what’s happening here these days? A few years ago this site had some of the best draft coverage going, articles were thoughtful, well researched and insightful and Dangle has since managed to have some awesome and well deserved broader success… now it seems so much of this reads as a hot mess of hot takes. Maybe it’s just summer and it will get better once the puck drops. I hope so. This whole National Enquirer of Leafs news thing isn’t working.

  • Trevor5555

    What moves are contradictory? Toronto is addressing lots of needs within the team and all of their moves have been for the long term benefit of the team. The few moves that are aimed at short term benefit were for guys who are young enough to help for 4-5 years(Martin/Andersen)or are short term depth signings(Polak/Enroth) to help the team to build confidence by being competitive early in the rebuild.

    There is no shift in approach, they are still focused on developing their prospects and getting the best mix of skill, speed and size they can and having enough organizational depth to eventually have strong AHL and NHL teams as well as a steady pipeline of good young players.

    There is no evidence to show there is any internal rift. The message is they have lots of strong voices and everyone is respected and allowed to do their jobs but there seems to be a lot of communication between top guys prior to major decesions. For example Shanahan saying that Lou was handling contract negotiations or Hunter was running their draft or Dubas was running the Marlies but they all said they talk to each other regarding players or the team regularly. That sounds like a healthy work environment.

    If your going to make claims please respect your readers and do the research to back them up. I enjoy reading about the Leafs but dont like when people pose their unsubstantiated opinions/claims as fact. Your entitled to an opinion but dont pretend its a consensus by saying theres evidence or whispers proving it without backing it up with facts, reference or quotes from reputed sources.

    Be honest about your views/info/claims.

  • Trevor5555

    Thank god for this site actually questioning things and not being rose tinted homers! I’ve been silent for a while because evryone just seems to shoot down anyone who questions the management at all. Sorry but we all (myself included) defended the likes of Burke’s moves without question even applauded half of them “cus well he’s know more than we do” a lot of you thought well Clarkson isn’t too bad first 4 years will be decent the last 3 whatever… The people writing here and myself included knew it was awful from day dot. Stop just nodding and trusting management because they’re you’re team they are not immune from criticism!
    It started with Matt Martin as I said at the time It stinks of a grit chart signing its 2.5 for 4 Years!!!! Everyone defends it saying yeah but its only 2.5 look at Greening he was boat anchor at Ottawa and as we have seen he can be semi-productive. I’m sorry but 3rd/4th liners should mainly be guys on 1 year 1 mill deals eg your Vermette’s and Cullen’s of free agency, remember we did this last year late summer guys who just need a contract to get going?(who does the same basic job as Martin) It’s ineffecient, 4th liners should be kids or 1 mill 1 year guys. I will not criticize the draft because the two most scoffed at picks last year were Dermott and especially Nielsen who actually look half decent so I will reserve judgement.
    I said at the time ( you can pull it up on here) I don’t know about the Lamiorello hire and wasn’t too fond of it but I would reserve judgment but to be honest I’m not enjoying it, he ran Jersey into the ground and his moves since have been questionable, the one trade I like is Andersen basically a 2nd and another 2nd for goalie is class! that’ll do as long as he performs to what he’s paid which equates to average(look around the league)I know Bernier and Reimer had the same stats but come on can you really see Andersen letting in the first shot of every game for like 5 straight like Bernier? and ye Reimer is awesome on his day but I think he’s mentally fragile when he’s on he’s Vezina level but when that peters out he’s dog muck. Consistency is the key! The only person we cannot criticize here is Babs, all the stats nay sayer’s keep harping on that the Leafs “fancy stats” were great but they finished 30th, fair enough, but what you do not actually comprehend is obviously this team sucks look at personnel in the line up the whole point is to get them playing in the right way! If you insert Kessel to that team last year they don’t finish 30th not a hope. So what the “fancy stats” are basically saying insert better personnel and play in the same manner you win more because A they are better able to put the puck in the net and B they have the puck more the other team! eg. Nylander will score more than the likes of Matthias and Grabner combined(who had ample opportunities to prove otherwise) And I’m sorry but hiring Bab’s old CHL GM stinks of croneyism I’d love to be proved wrong but it does.

    To summarize essentially I love Shanahan he seem’s a genuinely intelligent individual with a lot too offer and I think it should revert to how it was previously (everyone running everything past him and him signing off on it) It just seems there’s too many different personalities pulling in opposite directions with a bit too much free reign I think Shanahan needs to remind them old young and old who the architect is. One minute we value speed and skill suddenly well we value grit and character.
    All I want to say is please Jeff, Ryan, Shawn etc don’t be afraid to speak your minds no matter how much flak you come in for. You are asking the right questions that have yet to be answered rather than just nodding and agreeing that everything is AMAZING. I want to be wrong about Martin and everything I view negatively so bad trust me i do, but it goes against what I feel makes a winner therefore I will not support it until proven otherwise!

    • Gary Empey

      There is nothing ever wrong, with Leaf Nation questioning management moves, player personnel, salary cap, etc.

      What you have missed is, this article in not questioning anything. It is making conclusions based on speculation with little, if any, basis in fact.

      It states the Leafs are undeniably shifting in a different direction.
      It states their moves are contradictory.
      It states the Leafs have become a kitchen with too many cooks
      It states things are not rosy at the top.
      It states Hunter wants the GM’s job.
      It states the Leafs have embraced old school thinking.
      It states there is a rift.

      The only thing questionable in this article is how did Ryan Fancey come to those conclusions.

      The article appears to be going out of it’s way to find fault with the Leaf management for no reason.

      It was the same thing with the last two “Why are the Leafs unable to sign top free agents” articles.

  • Leafydudetwitter

    The change in title is to allow a significant pay raise. That’s all I think there is to this. I think Lou is honest when he says it’s basically a formality. However, I am still starting to get very real concerns over their moves this past few months. Surly this time we won’t totally screw this up right?

  • Gary Empey

    Did it never occur to this site and this author that not only have the Leafs drafted (and traded for) some very talented players, they are also doing their due diligence on potential front office staff?

    If you lose a Dubas, there will be someone just as talented ready to step in. Same with Hunter, O’Keefe, etc.

    I’d be flabbergasted if SHanahan’s entire plan is finished and he’ll just let Lou and Mark and Kyle do their thing, with no backup plan.

    Get real Ryan.

    • Gary Empey

      This comment nailed it. Really good organizations do three things well: 1) develop talent; 2) make it hard for said talent to either move up or complacently sit in their role (internal competition forcing all to get better) and; 3) have a detailed understanding of succession at any given point in time (that said, it’s always in flux). Whether it be the free agents and pto’s or the management appointments, all of these are in line with these three pieces.

      I find it laughable that Mark Hunter getting promoted is scary for this blog. Let’s count how many great people Ken Holland and Mike Babcock have lost to leadership roles in other organizations. As long as you keep hammering away on those top 3 pieces then it’s not an issue.

  • Trevor5555

    Martin at 2.5M will not hurt the Leafs ability to do anything in the future cap wise. Right now when Horton hits LTIR and Cowan is bought out they will have over 7 million in cap space. Martins hitting and fighting make him worth more than Holland or Froese or Leivo and he can chip in a few goals and hes decent in his own end. He is well worth 2.5M.

    Taking a few overagers and guys with size doesnt signal any change in direction. You need some size and physicality on any team and it shows they want balance in the prospect pool.

    The fact that I havent noticed issues with the team doesnt mean im a homer who defends every decision, it means I havent seen a problem with the Teams moves.

    I wanted better goaltending, they got Andersen/Enroth.
    I wanted more physicality, they got Martin, Polak.
    I wanted more skill, they drafted Matthews, Nylander and Marner…obviously the lottery luck and bad finishes allowed this.

    Our scouting/development dept was weak and the Leafs/Shanahan got 10 new scouts, Hunter, Dubas, Pellerin, Vuori and a few development/evaluation people as well as a world class coaching staff.

    What moves should i not like?

    • Gary Empey

      Some folks point, seem to be that we can get a top 4th line player for 1 million. Hell we have been looking at one million dollar forth line players for the last 10 years. He was hired at 2.5 because he can skate and is the best bodychecking forward in the league. A defensive player that ties you up is a lot easier to play against than one who you have to worry about nailing you with a solid check. A lot of his fights stem from, after he delivers a hard clean check opposing players don’t like it. Again I will say, Babcock doesn’t like any of his players looking for a fight. He didn’t with the Wings and last year he didn’t with the Leafs. He does like them to play a hard checking game.

      Everyone knows when Komarov is on the ice, you need to make your pass a little quicker and get your head up.

      • Kanuunankuula

        You could get Hudler for 2 mil. Are you going to tell me Martin is better, because he’s not.

        Martin is not a bad player, he’s probably even a good player for a fourth liner, yet he’s still that. He’s got no upside to speak of other than that. You can, could and should get a fourth liner for less than 2 mil. Why are we chasing this magical 4th liner player when we could’ve just signed a good 3th liner like Hudler and just rolled 4 good lines like the Penguins?

        He’s not Leo Komarov, and everyone who compares the two are not smart. Komarov had years of offensive usage and results before coming back to Toronto. Martin has neither.

        I honestly hope this idiotic summer does not come to bite us in the ass and cost us a cup, but seeing these comments makes me think we do deserve it.

          • Gary Empey

            I am not sure how you can compare 32 and a half year old Jiri Hudler (former Lady Bying winner) and Matt Martin at 27.

            Two totally different styles of players.

            Last year Hudler scored six more goals than Marten.

            Unfortunately the Leafs will be likely have send guys like Brown/Leivo/Leipsic/Soshnikov/ back to the Marlies. Any of those guys will produce 16 goals. If cost is your concern those guys come in at less than one million.

            Scoring is only half the game. The other half is stopping the other team from scoring.

            I think we will have to wait to see how Babcock deploys him if he makes the team. His skating is so good he could play on any line. Could even end up screening the goalie on the second power play. I believe Babcock has a vision/plan for him. If he doesn’t fit or someone is better they will move him.

            On a 30th place team no one’s job is guaranteed.

        • Trevor5555

          We addressed our goaltending, defensive depth, physicality and lack of top end skill by adding Andersen, Enroth, Polak, Zaitsev, Martin and Matthews. How was this summer idiotic?

          We addressed a lack of size and physicality in our prospect pool and still added skill.

          We hired a couple more scouts to further help our drafting program.

          All in all a great summer by my standards. What would you prefer they did? Which moves did you think were stupid?

          BTW Martin brings the physicality, forechecking, body checking, fighting that Hudler cant provide and Martin is good defensively and chips in 8-10 goals. He brings a dynamic we lacked in the bottom 6 where Hudler brings skills we have in abundance. Its a matter of balancing skill/physicality. You cant have 12 finesse players it doesnt work.

  • Gary Empey

    Ryan this is an article that would be appropriate in a couple of years if the leaf master plan starts falling apart, i.e. certain draft picks flop, a couple of trades don’t work out. Babcock appears to be misusing certain players.

    Now let me give you a comparative analogy. The Blue Jays are in for their fight of their life with two teams in their division right with them and several other clubs charging for the two wild card spots.

    Now the new management from the mistake on the lake basically knew that a top priority for the 2016 team was to add to the bull pen. The club basically went cheap and brought in 1974 ford pintos like Chavez, Floyd and retained Loup. Cecil has been hot and cold so here is a ball club with approximately 40 games left with out a good lefty in the bull pen. It is ludicrous as even if they make the playoffs they will play against teams like Cleveland who has 5 switch hitters.

    Now as I say the new management should be taking heat as should John Gibbons handling of the bull pen.

    So seriously Ryan let us wait to see how this new management’s numerous moves work out on the ice.

    Should the 18 wheeler start heading for the cliff I’ll be the first one in here to raise hell to the coaching staff and management. Till then relax, enjoy the late summer sun, take the dog for a walk, do an errand for an elderly person. Cheer on the Jays.

    But most importantly really, really try to come up with some compelling stories. Several posters have spelled out their feelings about recent articles in CAPITAL LETTERS.

    • Gary Empey

      Most of the punters here on Leaf Nation can’t wait until training camp opens to see how this years Leafs look. Nobody is much interested in conspiracy theories. Even though it is summer there are interesting things that could be discussed.

      CMPuck thinks the Leafs should tank for one more year. I may not agree with him but it is worth a discussion. Like most things there are some pros and cons to it.

      The opposition in the Atlantic Division. How well have they done in the off season? These are the teams we will have to beat sooner or later.

      Analytics/Corsi etc. Here there are two major schools of thought of this site. This would be a great time to hammer it out.

      There has been talk about rolling four lines. Will Babcock be the first to test it out? Was he looking to do it last year?

      What will our power play look like this year?

      What about our PK. Will we miss Grabner?

      Why is Rielly playing on the right side when he shoots left. Will that change.

      How is Matthew on faceoffs? I have no idea. That is really important to Babcock.

      There are three defensive spots open. How do the Leafs really plan to fill them in the future?

      Do the Leafs really need any defensive forwards or defensive defencemen at all? I lot of comments I have read this last year leads me to believe some think we don’t.

      What do we think of Babcock’s coaching style now we have had a close look at it?

      The smaller goalie equipment. Will it affect our goalies? Will it affect others in our division?

      Can we beat Montreal this year or do I have to spend more sleepless nights?

      There are plenty of Leaf stories with plenty of room for discussion.

      Just because Hunter threatened to shove Dubas’s laptop up his a$se doesn’t mean “The Leafs have a delicate front office situation”…..Well I suppose Dubas might have.

  • Trevor5555

    I personally feel when you look at the moves from the front office to player aquisition to development since 2014 onward you see a lot of issues addressed in a short period of time.

    – Revamped front office
    – Revamped scouting dept
    – Revamped coaching and skills development
    – tight control over information coming from staff and players;uniformity in message and seems to honestly reflect the teams goals and expectations
    – Pretty quick teardown of roster and influx of young promising players

    A lot more positives in 2 years than questionable moves. Largely attributable to better scouting, evaluation of players and assesing of team needs in view of the type of team they want.

    We wont ever know the inner workings or responsibilities of the staff outside of general job descriptions or the occasional public pat on the back for guys who do well(Hunter at draft – Dubas/Keefe with Marliew – Lamoriello/Dubas/Pridham with contract negotiations)even then its a collective effort weighing scouting reports, stats analysis, coach and trainor feedback so laying praise and blame is really hard for outsiders.

    What we can know better is how well this team plays and how many players this team produced in the 2-3-4 years its been a group. Its still early days and saying theres a major shift or rift is way to premature to be proved with any certainty just as any praise for a job well done is too soon.

    The job just started. By Babcocks 4th year we will know how succesful this rebuild was. My gut tells me it looks good so far.

    • Gary Empey

      Right on the money Trevor with all your points.

      It is the inability of our writers to understand this year’s draft selection that has them shaking their heads.

      They had the same problem last year. It wasn’t till after Christmas they began to change their collective minds. By the end of the year they now think it was brilliant, giving us one of the best prospect pools in hockey. It has accelerated the rebuild up one year.

      The theme of this years draft was somewhat different from last years, but not all that much. There were a lot of constants.

      Let’s analyze it properly and see if we can see the thinking behind it. I think one of them is already emerging as a top four defenceman.

      • Trevor5555

        Gary as usual several astute comments. I would hope the writing team might consider allowing you to occasionally write a story. Similar to myself you could give a unique perspective in that we have been around since Noah was building the Ark. Keep up the solid, thoughtful postings.

        • Gary Empey

          Thanks for the compliment… Unfortunately I am a lot like Bernier. I have a beautiful sexy wife and I fold under pressure….

          I would love to see the writing team give you an assignment.

  • SEER

    No delicate situation at all.. The Leafs have had double-duty positions many times throughout history… This allows Shanny the reasoning for upping his salary to the Board.., as he probably was already at the max, for Scouts… It also allows more back-up for our future..

    I expect that Lou will be around for 3-4 seasons total..

  • silentbob

    This seems like the same issue some people had with the draft this year when they didn’t simply draft all small guys with good offensive stats:

    Oh no, they don’t exactly what I think they should do, therefor the only possible situation is that its all falling part!

    There seemed to be a segment of the fan base that skipped over assuming that Shanahan and co. simply didn’t/don’t believe you can build a team 5’10, offensive players alone. That after spending 2 years addressing the lack of skill they turned their eye to addressing OTHER needs. Nope – it was a sign of confusion and desension among the front office. The ONLY possible explanation.

    Same thing here. Maybe Dubas has done/said things that indicate he isn’t even close to ready to be a GM. Maybe Dubas himself told his bosses he isn’t ready Hunter should go first. Maybe its just about competition. Maybe its just, as the article suggests, about keeping other teams from poaching Hunter. Maybe its about rewarding Hunting with a pay increase, new title etc… while having NOTHING to do with who the next GM is etc……