NHL Notebook: Toronto Maple Leafs fire Kyle Dubas, Jason Spezza resigns; Calgary Flames nearing end of GM search

Photo credit:(Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Zach Laing
11 months ago
A bombshell of a news day in Toronto this Friday as the Toronto Maple Leafs parted ways with general manager Kyle Dubas.
While that news in and of itself is significant, it was also reported Friday afternoon that Jason Spezza, who had been working as a special assistant to Dubas this past season, tendered his resignation from the club.
In a press conference Friday afternoon, Leafs president Brendan Shanahan met with media where he spoke in detail about the success he felt Dubas, whose contract was up after this season, had in the role over the last year. And while he was comfortable with Dubas returning, the mood changed Monday after the GM met with the media.
There, Dubaswas candid in talking about his uncertainty returning to the role given the toll it took on his family — something Shanahan said caught the team off guard and forced him to rethink the organization’s management plans.
“It was a very real possibility at that point that I would be needing to look somewhere else,” Shanahan said.
Daily Faceoff’s Steven Ellis details what happened next.
Shanahan then said Dubas presented a new financial package for a new contract extension on Thursday evening. By then, Shanahan had gotten to a different place about the future of the Maple Leafs. On Friday morning, he drove to Dubas’ office at the Ford Performance Centre and told him they were moving on from Dubas as manager before making the announcement just before noon today.
“A gap had risen in the contract,” Shanahan said. “The email I received from Kyle, I felt differently (about the future).”
Shanahan clarified that, in his view, the deal didn’t fall apart over money.
In terms of next steps, Shanahan said he’ll lean on assistant GM Brandon Pridham a lot for day-to-day activities. Pridham himself has been linked to other potential GM jobs around the league, but Shanahan said he hasn’t been ruled out as a successor. He also said that the team will be open-minded as to the next general manager, but that hiring a person with experience would be attractive to the team.
The move has already sent shockwaves through the Leafs organization. According to The Hockey News’ Mike Stephens, there are “more than a few unhappy people right now,” mentioning the information he received was in regard to staff members.
One person who could become available is ex-Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving. After the Flames reportedly didn’t allow him to interview for jobs, Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reported on Friday the Flames are reconsidering that approach.

Flames nearing end of GM search

The Flames, meanwhile, are reportedly nearing the end of their GM search. Seravalli reported Friday that four external candidates were in Calgary for in person interviews. Three of them, he added, include Dave Nonis, Stan Bowman and Marc Bergevin.
Treliving and the Flames parted ways after a disastrous season that saw Calgary miss the playoffs. The club also made a move to part ways with head coach Darryl Sutter this offseason.

Hill could make or break Vegas

After a tremendous performance against the Oilers in the second round of the playoffs, goaltender Adin Hill could be an X-Factor for the Golden Knights as they take on the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference Finals.
On Friday’s edition of Daily Faceoff Live, Seravalli and former NHL goaltender Mike McKenna talked about Hill, and if his play could counter that of Jake Oettinger on the other side of the rink:
Frank Seravalli: Is it possible to overstate the goalie impact in this series? You look at it, and we’ve been saying all season long that Vegas can’t win with Logan Thompson in net, or with Laurent Brossoit in net. Now Adin Hill, another pending UFA, is the goaltender for the Golden Knights, their third-string guy. Can he do the job against Jake Oettinger? On paper, it’s a pretty big mismatch, but I don’t know if that’s actually the case.
Mike McKenna: It’s tough to say for me because Hill has played so well in his limited time in the playoffs. He’s 3-1; his entire playoff sample size was in the last round against the Oilers.
Adin Hill hit a speed bump in Game 3, but in Games 4, 5, and 6 he was so good against Edmonton. He was really big time in those games, only allowing three goals. The question is can he keep it up?
Even through the first half of the season, Adin Hill spent so much time on his back, on his stomach, flopping all over the place. He’s worked with goalie coach Sean Burke to just try to let the game come to him, not move as much, and be in position on time. Can he keep it up? That’s what it comes down to against a really dynamic Dallas offence.
On the other hand, Oettinger has been pulled three times this postseason despite his reputation of being one of the best money goaltenders. I found a tweet the other day that I thought was interesting that showed Oettinger is good from Games 1-4 but lockdown from Games 5-7.
There is no question in my mind that Vegas will try to dictate the pace of this series from the get-go, because the deeper it goes, Frank, the more it favors Dallas. Hey man, that’s the Pete DeBoer factor. He knows those players on the Vegas Golden Knights as well as anyone, and this is going to be a great coaching matchup.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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