On July 22, 2014, the Toronto Maple Leafs fired good hockey people Claude Loiselle and Dave Poulin and hired the inexperienced Kyle Dubas. Many bloggers and tweeters praised the move and said it was the beginning of a new era, and showed that Brendan Shanahan was thinking outside the box with the kind of people he was bringing in.
But sometimes there’s a reason it’s called “outside the box”.
In the last 365 days, what has Kyle Dubas even done?
Since his hiring, the Leafs have fired Stanley Cup Winner Randy Carlyle, experienced GM Dave Nonis, and traded away their best player to Columbus for a guy that’ll never play another NHL game. Dubas? Still here. He is at much at fault for the team being bad this past calendar year as any of the people who have had their livelihoods taken away from them, and yet he doesn’t seem to have to face any punishment. In fact, it seems as time goes on that he gets more and more responsibility giftwrapped to him by Shanahan. I wish my job was like that.
What is most worrisome is that Dubas hasn’t had to earn his stripes. He is 28 years old – 28! – and has a huge role in shaping the richest and most important franchise in hockey. And yet people just throw praise at him without thinking twice. The kind of stuff he’s heralded for? Filling roster holes with guys like Mark Arcobello (who played on four teams last year, a red flag if I’ve ever seen one), and Matt Hunwick, who literally no one had ever heard of before the Leafs inked him to a two-year deal. The only smart signing Dubas made was by correcting a poor one – bringing back Daniel Winnik is a good move for this hockey club. They say Dubas is proficient in “moneypuck“, but every move he’s making is ensuring that this puck-playing team isn’t getting any of MY money.
A year ago, I was willing to give Kyle Dubas a chance. But a year has passed, and there is very little to show for it. Brendan Shanahan better think long and hard about letting another year go to waste. And if he decides he wants to bring on some guys with actual experience, he needs to swallow his pride and call up the two he fired one year ago.