As is customary in the NHL, the general manager of the organization will give his first press conference of the season on the opening day of training camp. Media and fans get a chance to see what direction the team is going to be heading on for the year, initial thoughts on new players, and of course, addressing meaningless narratives that quickly get debunked.
General manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs Kyle Dubas held his press conference this morning, and shared some very fascinating thoughts on how he sees his team and players. The full video is 20 minutes long (linked at the bottom of this article) and is definitely worth your time. I highlighted four of the many topics Dubas addressed that I found most interesting and transcribed them below.
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“No update. we continue to have dialogue with them. This not an uncommon situation and there’s many of these that are happening throughout the league with restricted free agent. We’ll continue to have dialogue with their side, and when we have an update, you’ll recieve it and we’ll go from there.”
“I think its an important disctinction. I think with things of that stature and nature, Kevin, you never want to rush into it. It’s my first year as a general manager of this group, we’ve obviously added a player to this mix who has been a captain for a long time before, and we have some excellent existing leaders, and we have young players that have leadership qualities to them that we’re going to try and develop.
“I think patience in this matter is much better in the long run than rushing to name a captain to pacify the demand that we have a captain. I think that best serves the organization and it best serves the leaders in our group. And it gives you guys something to write about when things are slow, so mission accomplished.”
“I’ve been consistant in saying that I do like our defense. When people ask what I think they’re asking, ‘can you go out and land one of these high high-end top-10 defensemen in the league type people?” But I think that underestimates what Jake (Gardiner) and Morgan (Rielly) have done, with (Nikita) Zaitsev healthy, with Travis Dermott continuing to develop, we’ve got Ron Hainsey there to solidify things, and then we’ve got a real good group of younger people coming up behind them.
“I’m excited to see them in camp and early in the season. I’ve said continually that I’m more bullish on them than people on the outside because I’ve been with those players every day for the last number of years and I’ve seen what they’re capable of. They play the game we want to play it; they can all move, they can all move the puck, and they can help us get out of our own zone and up the ice.
“I think if you have a set way that you want to play defensively and move the puck out of your end, you only need to find players that play that style, not neccessarily players that are the defacto top three defensemen in the league.
“That’ll always be a question until we show that we can do it, but there have been a number of teams in the league that have done it without those type of players for a number of years. That’s the way we’re going through our process, and luckily we have some history, recently, that show teams can have ultimate success with that style of defense group.”
On Tyler Ennis
“Clearly we looked at Tyler clearly as a talented player, and a skilled player, and when looking at what we need to add to our team, he was in a unique circumstance. It didn’t work out for him in Minnesota, but we’ve been able to see in Buffalo what he’s capable of in terms of his talent. We felt, given what he was exiting in Minnesota, we could bring him in and work with him. He was willing to put the work in, and voluntarily bring himself here in the summer repeatedly to work with our performance staff and our strength and conditioning staff and get him ready for the season.
“After talking with him, it was clear he knew that he had a lot at stake moving forward. We just thought we could provide him with a great opportunity for him to get back on track and get rolling again. Seeing him, and how hard he worked in the summer, gave validation to what he said he was going to do. We’re excited about him. He’s going to get a great opportunity off the start with Auston and we’ll roll from there.”