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Not So Fast: Friedman Reports Maple Leafs Want Dubas Back



Kyle Dubas, Toronto Maple Leafs, Pittsburgh Penguins GM Search
Kyle Dubas screenshot courtesy of Sportsnet

The rumors and wait surrounding the potential Pittsburgh Penguins play for Kyle Dubas to be the franchise’s next GM appear to be coming to a head. Elliotte Friedman had the scoop Monday on his 32 Thoughts podcast, at least from the Toronto perspective.

According to Friedman, the Toronto Maple Leafs ownership (co-owned by the parent companies of Sportsnet and TSN, who formed Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment) declined an extension for Dubas during the season. However, after Toronto defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in Round One, MLSE greenlit contract talks.

“I believe they are talking about extending (Kyle Dubas),” Friedman said. “I don’t know how far down the road it is, but I do believe that they have agreed to try and do it, and now we just have to be in a situation where everyone agrees on the terms.”

Toronto finished second in the competitive Atlantic Division. The Boston Bruins had the best regular season in history, Tampa Bay finished a comfortable third, and the Florida Panthers squeaked into the playoffs before pulling the two biggest upsets of the year, if not the biggest ever, when they beat Boston in Round One.

Toronto’s Round One win ended an 18-year streak of first-round exits from 2004.

“…but they’ve both got to agree on the compensation, the term, and the straight definition of who gets what say over hockey. I think Dubas gets a lot of say, but he doesn’t have the ultimate say.”

Building off multiple industry reports and what PHN has been told, the Penguins should know very soon whether Dubas is a candidate for their GM spot.

Monday, PHN’s Dave Molinari wrote: “Let’s pump the Brakes on Dubas Hype.”

One sticking point in Toronto that could make him available is compensation. Friedman implied MLSE’s decision to wait all season to discuss an extension could mean Dubas “makes (them) pay.”

The Toronto players took the blame for the Round Two loss and credited Dubas with giving them everything they needed.

“I think the world of Kyle. What he did for our team this year, whether it be the first meeting in training camp, right through the trade deadline, through (the end of the season) … He’s a world-class GM,” Maple Leafs’ defenseman Morgan Reilly said in his locker cleanout day availability. “It was the players on the ice at the end.”

There are looming, franchise-altering decisions awaiting Dubas in Toronto, such as the future of Auston Matthews, who will be a UFA in 2024. He has an NMC that kicks in on July 1, according to

The full 32 Thoughts podcast also included tidbits on Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland and more on the controversial 10 p.m. ET start time of Vegas vs. Edmonton.

Regarding the late game Sunday, our Dan Kingerski also shared some inside scuttlebutt.