Let's play a game.
Everyone is pressing the panic button in Toronto Maple Leaf land. They want to know who to blame. Some people think it's Mike Babcock. A few people think the blame should fall on Kyle Dubas the General Manager.
However one name I have not heard. A man who will bare no brunt of the fallout if the Maple Leafs open their proverbial cheeks and shit the bed.
Who you ask?
Gary Bettman? No.
Bill Daly? WTF? No!
Hmmm. Harold Ballard? Gord Stellick? Good guess but no.
Yes! #14. The President of the Hockey Club. Hockey Hall of Famer.
This team has had his fingerprints all over it.
He gave Mike Babcock an 8 year contract. ... 8 Years.....
There are certain coaches in sports that have had long tenures. I have never heard of a coach initially getting a long term deal to start with a new club. Despite previous results with their other club.
As of May 2020 it will be year 5. If Babcock is fired before that date the Leafs will owe him 24 million plus the salary before that date. Sheldon Keefe will take over eventually sure. Yes I know money isn't an object to MLSE but still it's $24 plus million dollars!
There was also the handling of the General Manager situation.
Shanny initially brought in Lou Lamoriello to be the G.M. of the club. He brought in close friend Mark Hunter to assist from the London Knight's. Shanahan's former OHL club.
Then he brought in Kyle Dubas from the Sault Ste.Marie Grey Hounds. Dubas like Hunter was highly regarded in the Juniour Hockey community.
Correction as per James Willemse: Dubas was brought in 1st. The Hunter. Hunter and Dubas filled the role of Interim General Manager until Lou Lamoriello was brought in!
Fast forward a few years later. Lamoriello contract was up and he did not stay on as an advisor. He went to the New York Islanders.
So it came down to Dubas and Hunter for the General Manager position of the hottest NHL Club.
Shanahan went with Dubas and he let Hunter go back to London. He didn't offer Hunter a V.P. position. Maybe he did? Regardless Dubas got the keys tot he prize of MLSE at the age of 32.Huge mistake in my opinion. Look how benefical Ben Cherington has been for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Dubas and team have retained Matthews,Marner and Nylander. They have brought in John Tavares, Acquired Jake Muzzin, Tyson Barrie and Cody Ceci. Hell, he even brought in Jason Spezza.
The team is a thread below the salary cap. They have no good backup goal tending options. Especially if Fredrick Andersen get's burnt out or hurt. The defence is still piss poor. There is a lack of size and toughness.
We still have a ton of hockey to play in 2019/2020. I truly believe the Leafs will be fine. If not the likely scenario will be Babcock getting fired 1st. If Keefe fizzles out then it's Dubas. Maybe Shanahan will step down. Who knows..
However he has to bare some of this. It's part of the "Shana-Plan" after all.