According to Pierre LeBrun, Kyle Dubas has declined to comment on the insinuation by Toronto Maple Leafs President and Alternate Governor that the former general manager dragged out a decision to remain the GM of the team and then came back with a counter-offer that the Leafs ultimately decided was a cue they should look elsewhere.
Shanahan spoke with the media on Friday and first apologized for holding a presser on Friday at the start of a holiday long weekend. He then dove into the timeline of events that led up to his decision that Dubas was not the best fit for the Maple Leafs moving forward and that his decision to move on was motivated by doubts Dubas had the passion to continue on in the role.
Shanahan said that he wanted to retain the services of Dubas as the GM and made an offer following the NHL Trade Deadline where he believed Dubas did an admirable job. At that time, Dubas expressed interest in staying but both sides agreed it was best for him to chat with his family and make a decision. Shanahan said he made it clear he wanted to move forward quickly and hopefully sign and announce a deal during or right after the playoffs. Even though the Leafs were quickly eliminated in the second round, Shanahan still felt Dubas had done enough to warrant the confidence of the organization. But, again, Dubas wanted time.
It wasn’t until Dubas chose to speak with the media — something Shanahan wasn’t keen on without a new deal in place — and comments that it was a “very taxing” year (something Shanahan said he was told by Dubas privately) that he began to wonder if Dubas wasn’t up for returning as the GM. It was then that he began wondering what the team would look like if someone else was running things, but he also was hopeful Dubas would want to work out a deal.
The two sides spoke again days later, but it was Dubas’ agent that sent over a counteroffer to the team’s extension deal. Shanahan said he then got an email that Dubas was interested in staying, but Shanahan had already been focused on the idea that maybe this was no longer the right fit. In other words, Dubas’ delay gave the team pause and Shanahan ultimately drove over to Dubas’ office and told him the team was going to move on and not offer him the extension.
Did Dubas Misplay His Hand?
Some will wonder if what Shanahan is saying is really how it all went down. And, if it isn’t, what will Dubas say when it becomes his time to speak on the matter?
Some will also wonder if Shanahan’s comments will motivate Dubas to take another GM position to prove him wrong and prove he is motivated, does have the passion to build a winner, and that he’s a better option than whoever it is the Maple Leafs ultimately choose to hire.
If Dubas did want to stay and he was using his press conference as a way to gain leverage on a new deal, it seems like perhaps he misplayed his hand. The idea that he might suggest he wasn’t sure he wanted to be the GM would get the Leafs to up their offer and entice him to stay actually backfired and made it so that Shanahan felt he was less motivated to do the job and that’s not at all what the Leafs wanted in a GM.
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