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Dubas Dismissal Could Spur Mass Exodus

May 27, 2023, 5:18 PM ET [131 Comments]
Mike Augello
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The Toronto Maple Leafs continue their search for a new general manager to replace Kyle Dubas. According to both Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli, the Leafs have already spoken to former Calgary GM Brad Treliving, and that they expect Team President Brendan Shanahan to speak to former NHL GM’s Peter Chiarelli, Jason Botterill, and Marc Bergevin.

Whoever the choice ends up being, the new Leafs GM will face a heap of challenges in a very narrow timeframe. It has been well chronicled that the club has a number of contractual challenges on July 1. Not only 10 unrestricted free agents hitting the open market, but trade clauses for Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and William Nylander go into effect.

Matthews has a no-movement clause that kicks in for the final year of his contract, something that gives the former Hart Trophy the ability to walk to unrestricted free agency next summer. That does not seem to be a likelihood, since both the club and the former Hart Trophy winner seem to want him to stay in Toronto, but control of the situation swings completely into the hands of the Matthews’ camp.

Marner similarly has an NMC kick-in, but the Selke nominee has two years remaining on his six-year contract. This would complicate matters if it is determined by the new GM that the best course of action was to deal with the All-Star winger in hopes of shaking up the core group.

Nylander similarly has trade protection dropping on July 1, but it comes in the form of a 10-team no-trade, which allows the Leafs to deal him to 21 other clubs and generate a market for the 40-goal scorer. This makes Nylander the most likely to be moved, especially if the price tag when Toronto begins discussing a new deal with agent Lewis Gross is too high.

The issue not discussed as much as the core group but just as concerning is the Leafs management and scouting staff. If Dubas as reported by a number of sources is hired by the Pittsburgh Penguins, it is likely that he will attempt to get a number of current Leaf staff, like Asst. GM’s Brandon Pridham, Wes Clark, Ryan Hardy, and/or Hailey Wickenheiser to join him.

It is unknown what the contractual situation for these and others are with the Leafs. Some could of their contracts could expire on June 30, and some could have one or two years left on their deals. The point here is that Dubas after five years in control of the organization in Toronto was able to put in his people from top to bottom and that in the near future, more of them could be departing.


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