Farewell to Kyle Dubas, who served as general manager for five seasons

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Kyle Dubas parted ways Friday, ending a five-year term as team general manager.

The decision comes a week after the Florida Panthers knocked Toronto out of the playoffs in five games. Duvas was eventually able to build a roster that would take the Leafs past the first round of the playoffs for the first time since 2004, but the Panthers quickly defeated them in the second round.

“I would like to thank Kyle for his unwavering dedication to the organization over the past nine seasons, including his last five as general manager,” Chairman Brendan Shanahan said in a statement. “Kyle fostered a great culture in our locker room and staff and consistently pushed our team to get better season after season. We wish him well and thank him for his valuable contributions.”

Shanahan detailed what led to his decision during Friday afternoon’s reveal press conference, most notably offering Dubas a new contract, but changed his mind Thursday after receiving a counteroffer from the former GM’s agent. That’s what I said.

“Honestly, I was in a different place in terms of how I felt about the future and the Toronto Maple Leafs and what was best,” Shanahan said. “And it’s hard to make a big difference to someone you’ve worked with close to you for nine years, but you’ve created a gap in your contractual status. It’s just that I feel differently, Maple. The Leafs’ long-term future may have to change.”

Shanahan also said he was surprised by Dubus’ decision to publicly reveal that he’s having second thoughts about returning next season.

“I didn’t expect him to go public with this, but it still made everything more real and more serious,” Shanahan said. “Certainly, a lot of questions have arisen. There is nothing wrong with Kyle’s honesty, his feelings. Kyle is an honest person.”

“Whether as a player or as a business, we are all going through what this is doing to our children, our schools and our families. I want to understand that is a reality.”

Dubas wasn’t the only front office member to leave the organization, as did Jason Spezza, a special assistant to the general manager, who handed in his resignation ahead of Shanahan’s press conference. According to Pierre Leblanc of The Athletic,.

Toronto enjoyed great regular season success during Duvas’ tenure, making the playoffs every year. Year after year, questions arose about the team’s roster composition, as the playoffs were fruitless and the majority of the salary cap was occupied by Jon Tavares, Ouston Matthews and Mitch Marner.

Duvas made a number of moves to get Toronto over the edge in the 2022-23 season, acquiring veterans like Ryan O’Reilly, Noel Atchari, Luke Shen and Jake McCabe before the trade deadline. Other notable trade acquisitions during the Duvas era include Matt Murray, Mark Giordano, Nick Foligno, Jake Mazin and Tyson Barry.

The Leafs hired Kyle Dubas as general manager in 2018.  (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)

The Leafs hired Kyle Dubas as general manager in 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)

It’s unclear what the future holds for the 37-year-old Dubus, who said in his post-season media correspondence that he plans to take some time off before accepting a job with another team.

“I definitely have no desire in myself to go anywhere else, it will be one or the other,” Dubas said on May 15. [in Toronto] Alternatively, it will take time to readjust to reflect the seasons here. I won’t be showing up anywhere else next week. After this year, I can’t let (my family) go through something like that.”

Duvas was rumored to have a relationship with the Penguins after the Penguins sacked chairman Brian Burke and general manager Ron Hextall in April and overhauled the Penguins’ front office. Unless Duvas changes his mind, the Penguins and other teams are likely out of the picture.

Duvas may have been the first domino to fall in what could be a summer of change for the Maple Leafs. Head coach Sheldon Keef faces an uncertain future, but the core of the team could also undergo a sea change.

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