I don’t want to brag but…
— The Rival Sports (@TheRivalSports) May 10, 2018
Oh yeah, look at that sweet sweet time stamp!
Well the news is out and now it’s on newly promoted Leafs General Manager to stamp his name on his team, so how does one go about doing so?
Be Dynamic, not Pigeon Holed
Look at another young NHL GM, John Chayka. Chyka was stuck in his new age beliefs and pigeon holed himself into being the analytics guy in the NHL. Coming from Stathletes, a stats based sports analytics company was a double edged sword – it got him the job, but it made him a slave to relying solely on those beloved stats to run his team… his 70 point team.
Dubas has Gm experience with the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds, and the Toronto Marlies. The dynamism he requires to hack it in the show will play off of these experiences. The varied levels of these GM gigs have provided Dubas the ability to make due with what he has, and provided him chances (which he successfully took) to maximize his team as dictated by situation.
Basically, be analytical when it makes sense and be a riverboat gambler when the risks aren’t astronomical. In between those two extremes manage the mayhem and stick to the plan – excuse me the Shana-plan. Dubas earned this position as the Prophet Brenden foresaw, and now it is time to execute, Chosen One.
Learn From Lou, But Don’t Be a Deciple
Listen, I’m as big a fan as anyone for drilling professional athletes to empahsize the professional part as much as the next guy (see Lou Lamoriello’s hair guidelines), but it may be time to let the Maple Leaf’s express themselves, and the GM guard change should signal this.
Same goes for his free agency and trade approaches – keep some aspects but tailor them to fit a young, exciting team that exists in the eye of the NHL storm. So instead of continuing in the style of Lou Lamoriello, splash some character on the scene, Doobs!
Make Two Big Splashes
This may have some fan bias on it, but I want Kyle Dubas to make some moves that show his intent with the Toronto Maple Leafs. I would never crave anything outlandish or completely inexplicable, looking at you New York Rangers, but something that shows that Dubas understands he just (rightfully so) inherited one of the best teams in the NHL, and that he needs to help move them forward now that he has the reigns. Big Brother Brenden Shanahan will keep the plan on track, but the Leafs are primed to add big at this moment.
So let’s get the awkwardness out of the way and just sign John Tavares already. The man is from Toronto, an elite talent, doesn’t want to resign with his joke of a franchise in Long Island, and loves Toronto sports. He is perfect to show that ‘holy shit I think the Leafs are for real.” For more breakdown on the free agent market and who the Leafs should target click here. John Carlson would be good too, though. Basically, just look for more impact players than Ron Hainsey and Matt Hunwick in the free agent pool
Now the second splash – make a trade. I’m no talking about deadline deals for Tomas Plekanec, or moving Soshnikov for a draft picks. I’m talking a hockey deal. I’m talking Jake Gardiner.
The Leaf’s playoff run has been over long enough for you to know this isn’t a knee-jerk reaction to his poor performance in game 7. Watching Gardiner for the last few seasons has been a nightmare. He is bad on (either) blue line, makes unintelligent passes, can’t pinch when the time is right, and has had a long enough leash to sort his shit out. But he hasn’t, so he has to leave.
The positives to Gardiner are well documented: he is a strong skater and when force-fed first line powerplay minutes and constant favorable match ups he can put up some good offensive numbers so the value is there. But, the reality is that he isn’t what the Leafs need in a possible top pairing defense man. Moving Gardiner will make Dubas an instant hit with a lot of the fans, but also will make a statement in the league that the leafs are in win now mode, and watch out!
Be loyal to who you are
Don’t forget what got you the gig in the first place – success with the Marlies. Mark Hunter has done an unbelievable job drafting depth players that can make a difference in the big league team, it is up to Dubas to not forget they exist and keep plugging them in. Look at their playoff roster this year – Andres Johnsson, Kasperi Kapanen, Travis Dermott. All Marlies the year before (and parts of this season, too) and all were pivotal in the Leaf’s success.
Sure he needs to make some moves to strengthen the team but don’t scrap ALL of the minor league team to do so. And keep that NHL carrot on the end of the stick for the hardworking minor leaguers who are determined to contribute.
Admittedly, it is a pretty damn long list for the young GM to take down. Will he complete all of the task on my list? Probably not. Should he? Maybe. What we do know is that things will be different with Dubas. He has brought new school ideology to the Maple Leafs but has been conditioned by some old school giants. It’s time for him to cut his teeth at the highest level possible, and make the Leafs a championship team.