Leafs' GM Kyle Dubas downplays blockbuster trade rumours

Sep 22 2021, 2:34 pm

Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas isn’t buying into the constant trade rumours and proposals floating around his team.

Dubas met with the media on Wednesday morning ahead of the team’s 2021 preseason training camp, his first public appearance of the new season.

It’s no secret that Leafs’ players like Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews have been under the microscope for potential trade rumours. Both finished top-five in NHL scoring during last year’s regular season but combined for just one goal in a seven-game playoff series loss to the Montreal Canadiens.

But Dubas said there wasn’t much of a real chance either would be anywhere but Toronto this upcoming season.

“You always have to, in this job, consider anything that’s going to make your team better, and there was nothing that came along from the end of our series to today that I felt was even to be considered in terms of making our team better,” Dubas said, adding that he wouldn’t get into specifics about any offers received. “We would have been different, and maybe that would provide some cover and appease the masses, a little bit, but we wouldn’t be better.”

Matthews is signed through until the 2024 offseason, while Marner is signed until 2025.

“That’s why my belief in that group is is so large, is that I feel that when these big moments come again, that they are going to be at their best and they are going to have success. And I believe in them as people,” Dubas said. “I believe in the best players are obviously very talented players but also people and what they’re about, and I know that they take this stuff personally and that they’ll be ready to roll this season.

Dubas reiterated, as he’s said multiple times in the past, that any external pressure to perform is outweighed by internal pressure and expectations he places on himself.

Dubas also discussed Leafs forward Ilya Mikheyev’s trade request, reported last week by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

“The answer to that is… Ilya Mikheyev is going to be on the team and going to be a big part of the team,” Dubas said. “We’re looking forward to getting the most out of him. So any questions on that I would refer to [Mikheyev’s agent] Dan Milstein.”

Head coach Sheldon Keefe added praise for Mikheyev, who scored seven goals and 10 assists in 54 games last season.

“He’s one of those guys who wants a larger role. That’s a great thing as a coach,” Keefe said. “They’re hungry for more. They’re working for more. I believe in Mickey greatly.”

Adam LaskarisAdam Laskaris

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