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Kyle Dubas Contract Extension

I’ve read about Kyle Dubas a fair amount during training camp. He is in the final year of his contract and his fate will be determined at the conclusion of this season.

Many outlets are stating that this is his last chance and suggest that if the Leafs falter in the post-season, Dubas will be sent looking for new employment. I can’t think of many worse decisions the franchise could make.

I find it unimaginable that astute business folks atop massive data driven media companies can’t grasp the success Kyle Dubas has cultivated within the organization. It started with the analytics department and translated to an AHL Championship.

The skills, fitness, nutrition, and medical teams are now the envy of the NHL. Not to mention the support staff available to the players helping them feel welcome to the city or with their overall well-being.

Yes, I’m sure Brendan Shanahan has had quite a bit to do with the organizational changes and upgrades. It was more than likely his vision from the start when he spoke about repairing the relationships with alumni and utilizing the financial might to gain a competitive advantage, but Kyle has been there from the start.

It isn’t as if his accomplishments end in the AHL. How many records have the Leafs set since Kyle official took the title of General Manager? More than one should be enough to merit an extension when the organization is over 100 years old. It’s called progress. Growth should be nurtured. The narratives of regular season success grow each year. But the playoffs…

Where do we draw the line of responsibility for the team? Certainly it is tough to tout the regular season success and turn a blind eye to play-off failures. Why has there been a difference in performance? Has there been a dip? Or has it not elevated enough in the post-season?

Well, to have success in the playoffs the team will need to make the playoffs. To do that, the Leafs need to have better players than the rest of the league where you can expect to win 60% of the time. That is on the GM. The execution is on the coach and the players.

What are the best predictors of success? How can we determine if the team meets or falls short? In truth, we cannot be certain. We can be pretty sure. Underlying play driving metrics from the last few years suggest this is one of the best teams on record.

The coach needs to deploy his players. The players need to execute the strategies. The talent is not in question. Not even in goal. It is about the execution. Execution is most definitely in question between the pipes, and will be for the team when the post-season rolls around. Kyle can’t help with the post-season success. That needs to fall under Keefe’s responsibilities otherwise what is his job?

The GM needs to provide the coach enough talent to get the job done. The coach needs to find a way, throughout a six month season, to find the right combinations and messages and teaching methods to optimize the chances of success given the talent. The coach needs to use the players to make them more useful as the sum of their parts compared to the individual player values.

The team assembled for this season, despite serious cap constraints the Leafs have tip-toed the last few years, looks as good as the last. It really has been good work. We should even see internal reinforcement this year highlighting the success of the GM’s drafting and development work.

Using team resources to create deeper prospect development paths is the only reason Kyle Dubas can even be criticized for the Mason Marchment trade in the first place. Even that judgment might be a year or two early to render. Alex DeBrincat would have been playing on a different Ontario team if Kyle had his way (objection; speculation).

Young players Kyle has drafted have found varying degrees of success even if not with the Leafs. The team has found creative ways to add to their prospect pool outside of the draft. Imitation is the best form of flattery and we are seeing it across the league.

Anyone that can afford to spend the same way the Maple Leafs organization can is doing so to gain a competitive advantage. There is a problem though. No one does it as well as Kyle Dubas and the Toronto Maple Leafs. And this brings us back to the problem.

Who would the Leafs get to replace Dubas? Who will do his job better? His staff is robust, would they all be let go? Or would the hypothetical replacement reap the benefits of the staff that Kyle built? Even if they found another analytically inclined individual, who is available? The only thing that would make sense to me is if they found another off the board pick doing their own intelligent research.

Otherwise the options available will argue about why m was chosen to represent slope while Kyle teaches Calculus.

The only logical conclusion this rather well run organization might have for not extending Kyle now and immediately is rather simple. Kyle doesn’t want to sign the contract yet. He said he was a big fan of Ilya Samsonov’s willingness to bet on himself. I can’t imagine why.

PensionPlanPuppets.com is a fan community that allows members to post their own thoughts and opinions on the Toronto Maple Leafs and hockey in general. These views and thoughts may not be shared by the editor of PensionPlanPuppets.com.