For fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs, it has been a whirlwind the last few weeks. Since the team was eliminated, from the playoffs in the second round, fans have heard, former general manager (GM) Kyle Dubas state at a press conference, he wasn’t sure if he wanted to come back as GM. Then Dubas was fired just a short while after the press conference, and a general manager search commenced, culminating in the hiring of former Calgary Flames executive Brad Treliving.
Oh, and there have been reports, in between, about the unique decision-making structure this team utilizes.
As a longtime fan, I’ve never seen circumstances quite like this, at the start of an off-season period, for this team.
I hate to say it, but over the years, when a Leafs’ GM has been fired, it’s usually been a moment of celebration for fans; as there are usually trades, hirings or other moves which the GM had made, the fanbase at large didn’t like.
But, if social media reaction is anything to go by, Dubas’ firing has really fractured the fanbase. I have read many posts from fans, who were angry or upset by the change and others who defended team president Brenden Shanahan’s decision to move on from Dubas. My Twitter notifications, specifically, have been buzzing recently, with fans either sharing, my anxiety about the uncertainty this move created for the team, or with eager optimistic fans telling me to chill out. I was honestly surprised, for about two weeks, Kyle Dubas and the Leafs have remained trending topics on Twitter.
Personally, I was a little saddened the team decided to fire Dubas. I feel like he did a lot of great things for this team, such as, creating a good working environment for players and staff members, expanding the team’s use of analytics, creating opportunities for women as executives within the organization. In addition he, improved the team’s defence core by adding guys like Jake Muzzin, Jake McCabe and T.J. Brodie and trading for or signing star players like Ryan O’Reilly and John Tavares.
That being said, though, I’m willing to give new GM Treliving a chance as he works to make this team a Stanley Cup contender. I want to give him time to make the changes he feels he needs to make before deciding if he was the right guy to hire or not.
The team’s new GM has a lot of work ahead of him, including: trying to re-sign Auston Matthews, figuring out if the team wants to keep coach Sheldon Keefe, and deciding which players to pursue on free agency day, July 1st. But I do hope now, with a decision made about the GM, this team and the fanbase can move forward, united with the one goal of creating a championship calibre team.