According to Sportsnet analyst and NHL insider Nick Kypreos, don’t count on 32 year old boy wonder Kyle Dubas taking over as the next general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs. At least… not just yet.
Dubas, the Leafs’ current assistant GM, is believed to have an inside track on the job now that the team has officially moved on from Hall of Fame executive Lou Lamoriello. But, according to Kypreos’ sources it’s Dubas’ colleague Mark Hunter is the most likely candidate to succeed Lamoriello as Leafs GM.
“A lot of executives I’ve spoken with believe that when it comes to the next general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, it goes in the favour of Mark Hunter, for no other reason than his resume,” Kypreos said CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada broadcast on Saturday night.
The 55 year old Hunter joined the Leafs’ staff as directory of player personnel after being hired by team president Brendan Shanahan in 2014. Prior to that Hunter had a 12 year NHL career and a successful second career as a junior hockey executive. But… that’s putting it lightly. More accurately, Hunter was the brains behind the Ontario Hockey Leaugue’s (OHL) most powerful franchise, the London Knights. Hunter acted as owner, vice president and general manager during his stint in London.
“A lot of executives still believe that Kyle Dubas pales in comparison to the years of experience and multiple Memorials Cups [of Hunter],” Kypreos said on Saturday. “The issue for Brendan Shanahan going forward is that if he decides to go with Kyle Dubas, he runs the risk of losing Mark Hunter, who would have a tough time answering to Dubas.”
Fair enough… but doesn’t it work the other way too? You have to imagine that if the Leafs end up promoting Hunter then Dubas will move on to another opportunity also. Really though, it’s a good situation for the Leafs to be in. While several organizations are beating the bushes to find quality candidates, the Leafs have two top ones already within their organization. It speaks volumes for the way that Shanahan has run things since taking over in 2014.