"A world-class GM": Rielly endorses Leafs to keep Dubas

May 15 2023, 4:33 pm

Count Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Morgan Rielly among Kyle Dubas’ supporters.

With the Leafs general manager without a contract for next season, many questions have been asked about what his future holds with the franchise.

Originally having signed on a five-year term back in 2018 when taking over the reins for Lou Lamoriello, Dubas addressed earlier this year that both he and the team would wait until Toronto’s season ended before making a decision on whether he’d be signing a new deal.

But for the longest-serving Leaf on the team, the answer seems pretty clear: Dubas is the guy he wants around long-term as the franchise’s general manager.

“I think the world of Kyle,” Rielly told reporters today at the team’s end-of-season media availabilities, per the Toronto Sun’s Lance Hornby. “Just spoke to him three minutes ago. A world-class GM. Everything he did was in the team’s best interest, He put us in position to succeed. Ultimately, the players were on the ice at the end of the season.”

Few players have the history that Rielly does with Dubas. He’s one of just two players on Toronto’s roster — the other being William Nylander — who were in the Leafs organization when Dubas was first hired by the team back in July 2014 as an assistant general manager.

And while the team has exited the first round just once with either Rielly or Dubas, it seems like the defenceman believes in the organization’s ability to continue moving forward as a top NHL team.

“We’re standing here today after losing, so you don’t want to have blind faith or trust. But I think that there is reason to believe in the people here,” Rielly added, per The Athletic’s Jonas Siegel.

Dubas has no shortage of pitfalls — his poor draft history as GM stands out as one — but he’s also shown a proven track record of creative salary cap moves and the ability to both attract big-name free agents as well as make the big blockbuster trades.

By points percentage, the team’s last three regular seasons have been three of the four best in franchise history. Just four teams in the NHL have won more games than the Leafs since he took over the job.

Should the Leafs and Dubas part ways, he’ll have no shortage of suitors interested in his services, with job openings in Pittsburgh, Calgary, and potentially Ottawa continuously having Dubas’ name linked to them.

While no decision has been announced yet on Dubas’ future, expect the discourse in the coming weeks to keep ramping up until an official announcement is made.

Adam LaskarisAdam Laskaris

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