Win or lose, Dubas and Keefe have bought themselves some time

Ben Hodgson
December 26, 2022  (12:37)

At the end of October, the Leafs were a mess. A 4-4-2 record through the team's first 10 games had even the strongest believers in Keefe and Dubas wondering if it was time for a change of leadership. Dubas' big gamble on goaltending looked to have failed miserably with Matt Murray hitting LTIR after just one game and Keefe, at times, seemed to have lost the room altogether. It all came to a head when the Leafs' California road trip went off the rails. Consecutive losses to the Sharks, Kings and Ducks had the fanbase reaching a boiling point.

Thankfully, when the calendar turned to November, the switch seemed to flip for the Leafs. Since November 1st, the Leafs are 17-3-4, dominating the NHL and taking down some of the best teams in the league along the way. Murray and Samsonov have both been excellent, Mitch Marner has been ridiculous, and even though the D corps has been decimated by injury, the Leafs have played excellent defensive hockey.
The team isn't perfect by any means, but as far as Keefe and Dubas are concerned, the leashes are much longer than they were on Halloween. Keefe has turned a team of offensive dynamos into defensive stalwarts and hasn't sacrificed much in the way of offense in doing so. Dubas' off season additions look great, not to mention the in-season addition of Conor Timmins, who was acquired for Curtis Douglas and has brought some stability to an injury plagued blueline. The emergence of 2018 6th round pick Pontus Holmberg as a viable NHL center hasn't hurt Dubas' image either.
Whether or not Dubas and Keefe get to keep their jobs beyond this season remains to be seen. As of today, their jobs should be considered safe - much safer than they were just 2 months ago. The true test will of course be playoff success. Don't look now, but it's becoming increasingly likely the Leafs' reward for second place in the East will be another matchup against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
For Dubas, Keefe and company, another first round loss could be seen as the pin being pulled from the grenade, but in all likelihood, they've likely bought themselves some time as the narrative surrounding this team is beginning to change. They're no longer an easy out. They've shown themselves to be capable of defending leads and winning close games. Now it's more about fine-tuning than anything else. It might be a monumental mistake to kick Dubas and Keefe aside and allow someone else to do that fine-tuning having no previous knowledge of the systems that are already rooted and finally beginning to pay dividends.
Win or lose, Dubas and Keefe have bought themselves some time

Have Dubas and Keefe bought themselves some additional time in Toronto?

Yes16258.1 %
No5017.9 %
It's on the players now6724 %
Latest 10 stories