At yesterday’s Empire Club of Canada event, Kyle Dubas spole about a lot of things: his vision for the team, analytics in sports, and his friendship with Raptors GM Bobby Webster.
But what stood out most was his insight on the signing on John Tavares in the offseason, the fastest Leaf to reach 30 goals in a season in over two decades. While some doubted splashing $11 million on a player was the smart move to do, few could question whether it was the right move now.
“It was great for me to hear how excited [the players] were that we were going to give it a shot,” Dubas said.
Dubas meanwhile says he called all the core players on the Leafs before pitching John Tavares to make sure they were all on board with bringing someone of his status to Toronto. Says it was a resounding yes from every player they called.
— Faizal Khamisa (@SNFaizalKhamisa) January 21, 2019
“You want to make sure when you’re bringing someone into the organization, it’s one thing to go and find a superstar talent but making sure they fit within the fabric of the company or of the program, was very important to us,” Dubas continued.
“So we put everything together and how John would fit in, where our group was at and where it was going. How we were evolving and developing as a program, how we wanted to build it up, what we were really about as an organization. The players were a huge part of that, they were involved in it every step of the way. In the end, people can talk about whatever they want, but he came to Toronto because of the players that were here. I don’t think for any other reason. The organization is sound and we’re continuously looking to improve, but the ability to play with those players for a long stretch was the key.”
Today, Dubas offered up some more quotes about his vision for the team, starting here with a quote about Jake Gardiner:
Kyle Dubas with a strong defence of Jake Gardiner today: pic.twitter.com/dQMLt4W4V7
— Jonas Siegel (@jonassiegel) January 22, 2019
Finally, on the team’s trade deadline mindset.
Dubas not feeling pressured by #Leafs extra cap space this season to make major move at the deadline: "Our hope is that our window where we’re in contention and continue to get better expands for many years, as many as humanly possible."
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) January 22, 2019
It’s clear Kyle Dubas believes in his vision of the Leafs and the pieces he currently has, whether it’s this year or any of the next seven in John Tavares’ contract. The biggest question is: do you?
With files from Thomas Williams.