Dubas will not return as Maple Leafs general manager
Kyle Dubas will not return as general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Team president Brendan Shanahan announced Friday that the Maple Leafs have decided to part ways with Dubas ahead of his contract expiring on June 30.
"I would like to thank Kyle for his unwavering dedication over these last nine seasons with the organization, including his last five as general manager," Shanahan said. "Kyle fostered a great culture within our dressing room and staff, and consistently pushed to make our team better season over season. We wish Kyle and his family the best moving forward and thank him for his valuable contributions.”
The announcement comes days after an emotional and frank end-of-season press conference from Dubas following the team’s elimination from the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs in five games at the hands of the Florida Panthers on May 12.
The 37-year-old Dubas called the season a “very taxing year” on his family and indicated that stepping away from hockey was something that he had considered, but also noted that if he were to continue in the NHL, it would only be with the Maple Leafs.
“I definitely don’t have a view to going anywhere else,” Dubas said of expected interest from other teams. “It would either be [Toronto] or taking time [away] to reflect. You won’t see me next week pop up elsewhere. I can’t put my family through that after this year.”
Dubas had initially joined the team in 2014 as an assistant GM following three seasons as GM of the Ontario Hockey League’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. During his time as assistant GM, Dubas also served as GM of the American Hockey League’s Toronto Marlies with whom he won a Calder Cup in 2018. Dubas assumed the mantle of Leafs GM in 2018 when Lou Lamoriello’s contract was not renewed.
Under Dubas, the team signed restricted free agent young star forwards Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander to second contracts, with the latter duo’s coming after public impasses and Nylander engaging in a two-month holdout. His biggest move in free agency came in the summer of 2018 when he signed now captain John Tavares to a seven-year, $77 million deal.
Among his notable trades, Dubas sent forward Nazem Kadri, coming off of playoff suspensions in back-to-back postseasons, to the Colorado Avalanche in 2019. Dubas was also aggressive at trade deadlines, acquiring Nick Foligno at the 2021 deadline from the Columbus Blue Jackets and made a flurry of trades at this past deadline, bringing in all of Ryan O’Reilly, Noel Acciari, Jake McCabe, Sam Lafferty and Luke Schenn.
In November of 2019, Dubas fired head coach Mike Babcock in the midst of a six-game losing streak and replaced him with Marlies head coach Sheldon Keefe.
While Dubas’ Leafs teams made the playoffs in each of his seasons as GM, the team won a single series — against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round of the current playoffs — during his time in charge and have not advanced past the second round of the playoffs since 2002.
The team’s Stanley Cup drought now stands at 56 years.
More changes in Toronto
Shortly after the Maple Leafs announced their front-office change, the Toronto Marlies - their AHL affiliate - announced major coaching changes.
The Marlies will not be renewing the contracts of head coach Greg Moore, as well as assistant coaches A.J. MacLean and John Snowden.
“I would like to extend our club’s sincere thanks to our coaching staff for their commitment and contributions to the organization,” said Ryan Hardy, Maple Leafs assistant general manager, minor league operations. “Our club wishes Greg, A.J., John and their families all the best moving forward.”
Moore just finished his fourth season with the Marlies, while MacLean spent the past eight seasons with Toronto. Snowden just completed his second season with the Marlies after being promoted from his role as head coach of the ECHL's Newfoundland Growlers.