NHL Notebook: Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas open to trading member of ‘core four,’ Seattle Kraken’s depth key, and more

Zach Laing
11 months ago
As things remain fresh for the Edmonton Oilers after getting eliminated Sunday night from the NHL Playoffs, the autopsy of the Toronto Maple Leafs continues.
On Monday, days after the Leafs were knocked out by the Florida Panthers, GM Kyle Dubas met with members of the media. Without a contract heading into next year Dubas said there’s nowhere else he’d rather be right now than in Toronto, he also spoke about what kind of changes could come the Leafs’ way.
“I would consider anything with our group here that would allow us a better chance to win the Stanley Cup,” Dubas said. “I would take nothing off the table at all. And I think everything would have to be considered.”
It’s safe to say there’s an interesting offseason ahead in Toronto. While they got out of the first round of the playoffs for the first time since 2003-04, they weren’t able to do anything with it.
Here’s some of what Daily Faceoff’s Matt Larkin wrote about Dubas:
Dubas’ teams have consistently been among the most dominant offensively in the NHL since he took over from Lou Lamoriello as GM starting in 2018. The Leafs had the No. 1 power play in the league last season and No. 2 this season. Dubas repaired the Leafs’ once-sloppy defensive identity and made them an above-average defensive club the past few seasons up until the post-trade deadline swoon this year. One could argue that he has put the right pieces on the chess board in theory. If the Leafs and Shanahan accept that the personnel, not the GM, were ultimately the cause of the team’s downfall in, 2023-24, Dubas likely gets another chance.
If he ends up back, questions will abound about how he can get more out of his personnel, which the Panthers’ Matthew Tkachuk claimed had as much skill as any group in the league but couldn’t match Florida’s ability to play as a team. Is Dubas willing to break up the Core Four forward group of Matthews, Marner, Nylander and John Tavares, which he has been steadfast in not disrupting so far in his tenure? Dubas left the door open much more than a crack this time around when asked about it.

Kraken depth key

The Seattle Kraken have a chance to make some noise tonight and potentially eliminate the Dallas Stars.
On Monday’s edition of Daily Faceoff Live, Frank Seravalli chatted with ESPN’s Ryan S. Clark about how important their depth has been this post-season:
Seravalli: Ryan you’ve been at all the Seattle home games so far in the playoffs, you’ve watched this team up close and personal, and you’ve seen them save their season yet again. Over the weekend they forced a Game 7 against the Dallas Stars. Every time I have thought the Stars or the Avalanche were in a great position to win their series with Seattle, the Kraken stay right there in their way. Now, they have another opportunity to win Game 7. What do you like about the Seattle Kraken and how they have adjusted to the different pace that the Stars have from Colorado?
Clark: It has been just how layered and multi-functional they are. We’ve talked so much this postseason about teams that not only have depth, but have depth that can adapt to different situations. Think about what the Kraken did in Game 6, that’s a really strong example. In Games 4 and 5, that was a team that really struggled to get to the low slot and those high danger areas. The result was they were held below their 5-on-5 averages in shots, scoring chances, high-danger scoring chances.
You look at Game 6, from the minute the game started they were aggressive and got to the front of the net and the low slot. What you saw was all of their goals except for Tye Kartye’s 31-foot wrister were from close distance. They were able to get to that part of the ice which they were desperate to and couldn’t in Games 4 and 5.
How they did it has really been the mantra and the narrative of this team throughout the season: it’s not just one player, or two, or three, it’s literally their whole lineup, whether it’s the top-six or the bottom-six. All six of their defensemen are capable of scoring and making the sort of plays that lead to scoring chances at the other end.

Flames pursue Pridham for GM

The Calgary Flames are reportedly pursuing Toronto Maple Leafs assistant GM Brandon Pridham as an open for their vacant general manager position.
The news was first reported by Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli Monday morning.
Here’s some of what FlamesNation’s Mike Gould wrote about Pridham:
Pridham, 49, has been with the Maple Leafs since 2014. He joined the club as an assistant to the general manager before being promoted to his current assistant general manager position under Kyle Dubas in 2018.
Before joining the Maple Leafs, Pridham spent 15 years working for the National Hockey League in both the Central Scouting and Central Registry departments.
Among Pridham’s extensive duties during his tenure at the NHL head office included serving as the contact person for NHL general managers and other executives on issues involving the the Collective Bargaining Agreement, salary cap, and NHL Central Scouting.
Pridham has taken active roles in negotiating contracts, managing the salary cap, and navigating the CBA during his time with the Maple Leafs — not exactly an enviable task, given the hurdles over which the team has had to jump to keep its expensive core together.
In his press conference following Treliving’s departure last month, Flames president of hockey operations and interim general manager Don Maloney — heading the search for the new GM — said the club is looking for “somebody younger, progressive, [and] inventive” to take over in Calgary.
This year, the Maple Leafs advanced to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2004, although they subsequently fell to the Florida Panthers in five games.
Much has been made about Dubas’ lack of a contract beyond this season, but less is known about Pridham’s status. Nevertheless, it appears he’s one of the top targets on the Flames’ list.

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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