Toronto Maple Leafs: Kyle Dubas confident about keeping core intact

General manager Kyle Dubas of the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
General manager Kyle Dubas of the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Toronto Maple Leafs general manager joined the 31 Thoughts Podcast on Sportsnet and was asked about whether he can keep his young forwards after singing John Tavares.

With all the debate wondering if theToronto Maple Leafs can keep Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and William Nylander around even after signing John Tavares, it probably makes sense to ask general manager Kyle Dubaswhat thinks about it.

On the latest edition of Sportsnet’s 31 Thoughts Podcast, Elliotte Friedman asked the Leafs GM whether he would be able to keep those forwards with the team and he gave a pretty clear answer.

“We can, and we will,” Dubas told Friedman and co-host Jeff Marek.

That does not sound like a GM who’s concerned about the salary cap crunch the team could face with big extensions coming up. One key element that Dubas emphasizes throughout the podcast which Emily Sadler of Sportsnet recounts in her article is patience.

"“It might go a little bit slower than some people would like but that would be on me to continue to be patient with it and make sure that these guys are not just signing because it’s a long-term contract and it’s obviously a nice pay increase for them, but they want to be here as part of the long-term, they know where we’re going and they’re a full part of that rather than sign a deal and then a year later wonder what the vision is for the program and whether they want to be part of it.” Dubas said.“We’ll be very patient,” he continued. “I wouldn’t expect anything imminent — at least, I don’t think that today as I speak with you guys — on any of the three, but we’ll just start to work towards them and all three of them will be a big part of it as we move ahead.”"

Dubas reiterated this point when he appeared on TSN 1050 on Wednesday and was asked about getting his three forwards together.

If there’s one thing the Leafs have tried to do in their rebuilding process is avoid rushing certain decisions. Other teams have tried to get their teams ahead by making big trades and have it come back to haunt them in the long run.

Looking at the Leafs the approach their biggest moves have either come through the draft or free agency. In getting Tavares and Patrick Marleau, they only gave up cap space, Matthews, Nylander, and Marner were obviously draft picks and everything else was inherited from the previous regime.

Judging by his comments it seems like Dubas is going to take a similar approach to what Steve Yzerman got his players to do in Tampa Bay. Take less money so that the team has the flexibility to add players and keep the contending window open.

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History hasn’t been too kind on teams that have made those deals like; the Taylor Hall trade or the Jonathan Drouin one. Leafs fans should be relieved that Dubas doesn’t seem to eager to rush his plan even if the pressure is on the team as a cup contender now.

So now the question that many fans are probably wondering is where does the team try to do next? It could be getting Nylander’s contract done but Dubas could elect to wait until later in the summer to get that done.

That also means that there probably won’t be an urgency to get Marner and Matthews done unless their agents want to get their extensions done.

After trading Matt Martin to the New York Islanders, the Leafs gained $2.5 million in cap space and could get more after next season if Ron Hainsey and Jake Gardiner aren’t brought back. That would also mean replacing both of them but hopefully, their prospects continue to progress.

Now all this doesn’t mean Dubas wouldn’t consider a move to improve the defence but if the Vancouver Canucks comes up to him offering Chris Tanev for Nylander, he’ll probably hang up the phone.

Next: No rush to name team captain

What do you think about Dubas’ comments from the podcast? Can he keep the core together and keep them in a contending position? Let us know in the comments below.