It seems like Toronto Maple Leafs’ hockey fans have been watching a true-life soap opera for the last few weeks. First, there was the breakup of Brendan Shanahan and Kyle Dubas. Then there was the “extensive” search for a new general manager (GM) that started with Brad Treliving and ended with, well, Brad Treliving. Next, the Pittsburgh Penguins jumped into the picture with their courtship of Dubas.
When all of the smoke had cleared, Treliving was announced as the new general manager of the Maple Leafs and Dubas was introduced as the new president of the Penguins, all within an hour of each other. It kind of makes us wonder if this all really happened this fast. The conspiracy theorist in us wants to wonder if this was in the works behind the scenes for longer than we are aware of.
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Until someone writes their memoirs, we will never know what truly transpired. We do know that the Maple Leafs have a new GM and the Penguins have a new President of Hockey Operations. The end result could be a win-win for everyone involved.
Brad Treliving Gets a Big, but Tough Task
Treliving is now the GM of the biggest, and richest NHL franchise in Canada. He takes over a team that is massively talented and is one of the strongest teams in the league. However, he also takes over a team that has failed to have success in the postseason. He gets the challenge of seeing if he can push the team to the next level.
The Maple Leafs Get a New Face
The Maple Leafs get a new face near the top of the organization. They get someone who can take a fresh look at the team without carrying the baggage of their past failures. He might have failures of his own, but they are not here in Toronto.
With the absence of those past failures, all Treliving can do is look forward to the future. He can break down the basic components of this team as it presently exists and build it up from there. Treliving is starting with a team that has a strong core who, with the exception of captain John Tavares, are in or entering their prime.
Kyle Dubas Gets Another Chance with More Power and Autonomy
Dubas not only gets a reset on how to build a team using his vision, but he also gets to leave all of the baggage of his past failures behind him. He also gets a fresh start. Dubas gets the job he most likely coveted in Toronto. As the president of the entire operation, he rules the roost.
He does go into a tough situation with a team that is in transition. The core pieces are nearing the end of their careers. Dubas will have the task of evaluating their effectiveness as their abilities wane. At the same time, he will have to figure out how to transition this team past Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang.
Making things happen in Pittsburgh will be a unique challenge for Dubas, but one in which he should have some leeway. He’ll also be without the pressure to necessarily win now he had with the Maple Leafs.
The Penguins Get an Intelligent Hockey Mind
The Penguins get an extremely smart and intelligent hockey mind in Dubas to run their hockey operations. He builds close relationships with those that work under him, including the players. Dubas will take the team in a more analytical direction. He will also bring with him what he learned from working within a first-class organization like the Maple Leafs.
We, as fans for both teams, get a new rivalry. Where Treliving takes the Maple Leafs and Dubas takes the Penguins will be entwined. Both teams will be out to prove themselves whenever the two meet. Let the fun begin.
[Note: I want to thank long-time Maple Leafs’ fan Stan Smith for collaborating with me on this post. Stan’s Facebook profile can be found here.]