Toronto Maple Leafs’ fans want answers. To find them, you probably have to start near the top of the food chain with President of Hockey Operations Brendan Shanahan and general manager Kyle Dubas. While the season is still early and the Maple Leafs can turn things around, Leafs Nation is rightfully concerned. A 7-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins only put an exclamation point at the end of it.
Related: After the Maple Leafs Total Beat Down in Pittsburgh: Now What?
If the Leafs
keep losing keep getting destroyed this badly, heads will roll. And, according to James Mirtle of The Athletic, it won’t be the coach who gets it first, as might typically be the case when trying to shake up a professional roster that is underperforming. Mirtle writes: “No matter how prolonged this mess gets, I don’t think you fire the coach. It’ll finally be time to trade someone significant. (I know some will argue that’s overdue — and they’ll be right if the Leafs continue to struggle.)”
The question will be if Kyle Dubas is the right man to make that trade.
So far, many of his trades haven’t been winners. He’s made a number of them, but the big ones stand out like a sore thumb. On April 11, 2021, Dubas moved a 2021 first-round and 2021 fourth-round pick to acquire Nick Foligno who did little in the playoffs and signed with the Boston Bruins over the summer. On August 25, 2020, he moved Kasperi Kapanen to the Pittsburgh Penguins along with other pieces for non-roster players. In July 2019, he moved Nazem Kadri as part of a deal for defenseman Tyson Barrie. Barrie didn’t pan out in Toronto and is playing well in Edmonton… There are multiple cap space trades that the Leafs have little evidence left to show for and the team has moved on from a number of players they could use more of, not less.
That leaves a few options. One, the Maple Leafs make their move and let Dubas take one final swing. Because, as Mirtle notes, “If you don’t make a move, you risk frittering this season away” or you bring in someone you trust to make the move Dubas has been unwilling and refusing to make.
Specifically, the trade everyone is talking about is moving one of the big four on offense: Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews, William Nylander or John Tavares.
Is It a GM Thing or a Coach Thing?
Dubas’ issue seems to be that he’s stayed committed to a formula that hasn’t worked. He’s put all his eggs into the four-forwards basket and to the detriment of the rest of the roster. Now, he’s losing players the team would like to keep and he’s likely to lose more because of salary cap issues.
And, while Keefe has his warts (something the recent Amazon documentary clearly pointed out), he’s merely playing the hand he’s dealt. Recent signings to “change to leadership core” of the team didn’t and haven’t done much. Typically, the team will change up the coach to turn things in the right direction. The problems here are likely bigger than that.
Next: Jack Eichel Considering Filing a Grievance if Not Traded
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October 24, 2021 at 3:13 pm
Been saying for three years to trade Marner. 11m would have kept us Hyman and likely in the race to sign either Pietrangelo or hamilton or perhaps keep Freddie. Point being it would have given the leafs flexibility
Now because all the UFAs are now signed only real option is to deal for 2-3 pieces or Eichel.
Need a GM with backbone to make that deal and I cannot see Dubas being that guy.
October 27, 2021 at 4:13 pm
MARNER isn’t going right now and so it goes with the leafs. Its been proven in the past, leafs did ok without mathews, but didn’t without Marner. Leafs biggest issue is Dubass. He has trade away a heart and soul Kadri, for what, the sad kerfoot. He let players sign else where gardiner, andersen etc he’s traded away Johnson, kapanen, for who? He let Hymen go, brown too. The team is now slower and less skilled then before, This guy has ruined the team. When negotiated with the three young stars, he should have said, we can keep you for this amount and sign a guy to make sure you guys aren’t getting beat up. He didn’t and it shows that all three are scared of being hurt. Gretzky was succesful because people knew if you hit him, you got your ass kicked. If anyone thinks Simmonds is that guy, its about 10 years to late. They need a heart and soul guy like Wendel. Also Dubass needs to be told, you build a stanley cup winner, from the net out. Until he realizes that, they will continue to disappoint. Shanahan is a guy that runs things like he played. all show no go. They had Lou, and look at the Islanders now. DUH