What the landscape in Toronto might have looked like had Dubas remained GM of the Leafs

Ryan Smitheram
August 7, 2023  (10:37)

With Kyle Dubas in full control of decisions in Pittsburgh and swinging for the fences, brining in Erik Karlsson for pennies on the dollar, one has to wonder just how different the Leafs' off-season and team would have looked had Dubas stayed in Toronto. Would Tyler Bertuzzi and Ryan Reaves still be Leafs? Would Noel Acciari and Luke Schenn have re-signed? What about Alexander Kerfoot, Justin Holl?

Since taking over in Pittsburgh, Dubas has brought in Erik Karlsson, Noel Acciari, Lars Eller, Ryan Graves, Reilly Smith, and Alex Nedeljkovic, among others. Brad Treliving, on the other hand, has brought in Max Domi, Tyler Bertuzzi, Ryan Reaves and Joh Klingberg. He was unable to sign Ilya Samsonov to a longer extension along, going through the full arbitration process, and that's all separate to the issues with Auston Matthews and William Nylander still remaining unsigned. Of note, on the Samsonov point, would Dubas have found a way to get Samsonov signed to a multi-year deal instead of just allowing a 1-year arbitration award to occur? He is, after all, the GM who convinced Samsonov to come to Toronto in the first place on a bargain $1.8M deal.
Had Dubas stayed, we likely wouldn't see Reaves or Bertuzzi in Leaf jerseys for the upcoming season, but there is still a good chance that Domi would be, replacing Kerfoot, as he comes in cheaper and has a strong desire to be a Leaf, adding an additional layer of feistiness to the organization. In addition to Domi, the Leafs could have acquired Karlsson and signed Graves giving them a ridiculous amount of depth defensively by adding another offensive blueliner and a more physical one. Picture this for a minute, if you will:
Extras: Giordano, Timmins
Given the fact that Acciari followed the former Leafs GM to Pittsburgh, it's safe to assume that he would have stayed in Toronto had Dubas remained there. Also, with the relationships Dubas had with Nylander and Matthews, one or both of them would likely be signed by now as well, as they knew the direction and vision Dubas had for the club. Also something worth mentioning is that he seemed very ready to shake up the team in a big way during his post-season press conference and if the Leafs were going to do so, it is possible that Nylander would have been moved before his no-trade clause kicked in on July 1st. Dubas was the one who had to endure Nylander's first holdout with agent Lewis Gross. I doubt he'd have even wanted to chance going through that again with the 27-year-old, now on the cusp of UFA status.
These are obviously all hypotheticals, but with what we know about Dubas' departure, that he wanted more control over player personnel, and with what he has done in Pittsburgh so far, did the Leafs and Brendan Shanahan make the wrong decision in letting him go? Personally, I think Shanahan was too involved in the decision-making process. Dubas was GM and should have been allowed to make some of the moves he wanted to make without all of the interference. Now, we're seeing first hand what Dubas can do without all of the limitations and micro-managing that he dealt with in Toronto.
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What the landscape in Toronto might have looked like had Dubas remained GM of the Leafs

Does Erik Karlsson end up in Toronto if Dubas is still Leafs GM?

Yes13230.9 %
No23454.8 %
Only with more retention6114.3 %
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