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More speculation that the Penguins want to add Dubas (and now Keefe) from the Maple Leafs

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Photo credit:Steven Ellis/The Leafs Nation
Jon Steitzer
1 year ago
I am part of the problem. There is no reason to give any attention to Kyle Dubas rumours when he is still under contract with the Leafs and he isn’t able to talk to other teams about their vacancies. Stuff like that never happens in sports or anywhere for that matter. No one ever lines up another job when they are already employed, right? Crap. I guess we do have to care a little about the rumour and it’s resurfaced again with a little help from the Rangers media that are anticipating some additional fallout.
So this is a passed along scenario, so since it’s not actually Larry Brooks’ scenario I’m sure he won’t mind me poking some holes in it. We’ll get to the Dubas to Pittsburgh stuff in a bit because that is the most plausible aspect of this, but in this scenario, the departure of Sheldon Keefe is the ridiculous element. Through the Dubas departure, Sheldon Keefe, with one year left on his contract, decides to either resign, the Leafs fire him, or Kyle Dubas is somehow able to negotiate with the Leafs to release Keefe to Pittsburgh, and Keefe is apparently on board with this. In the midst of this Kyle Dubas also fires Mike Sullivan, which again, is not completely unrealistic for a coach to be fired by a new GM, especially after missing the playoffs, but considering that Sullivan’s contract mirrors the remaining years of Sidney Crosby’s in length, it seems unlikely that Dubas is going to rush to fire Sid’s coach. And then through all of this, the Penguins allow for Sullivan to immediately be hired within their division. All of this seems a stretch and grains of salt should be enjoyed by all.
Now, that said, the Kyle Dubas to the Penguins stuff hasn’t gone away. The GM search in Pittsburgh has been awfully quiet, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t searching. And while it seemed that Kyle Dubas getting the Leafs into the second round was a guaranteed lock that he would be quickly re-upped after the postseason was over, the potential of a second round sweep might be casting some shadows of doubt, whether we agree there should be those shadows or not.
On the merit of his work, re-signing Kyle Dubas would certainly pass the reasonable person test. There are moves and decisions that not everyone is going to fully agree with, but ultimately he has continued to make the Leafs a better team over his tenure. And when comparing him to his predecessors there should be some fear about moving on from him.
Of course, that might not be what the Leafs brass or Kyle Dubas actually want. What Kyle Dubas might be looking for in his next deal is more autonomy in his role, not just more money. The Leafs have never been shy about the money part, but the idea of handing more control to Kyle might be a barrier. (Again, no one knows exactly what Kyle wants but Kyle, but if we are going off of what has been speculated and what every GM in history seems to want autonomy is possibly part of it.)
On the other hand, the Leafs might feel that Kyle’s vision has run its course. They are on the eve of dealing with their four star forwards having their contracts come up for renewal and there haven’t been the expected postseason results for them yet. If Kyle doesn’t want to blow it up, they might be looking for someone who will.
Pittsburgh might offer some appeal to Dubas, even if the Leafs are willing to re-sign him. There are enough pieces and cap space available that exploring the idea of retooling the team quickly is something that can go hand and hand with preparing the Penguins for the post Sidney Crosby era.
For now, at least for one more game, Kyle Dubas is the GM of the Leafs. The best outcome is that we are still talking about Kyle Dubas as the GM of the Leafs heading into the draft, free agency, and the Matthews/Nylander contract negotiations.

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