After five seasons as the General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Kyle Dubas' tenure at the helm came to an end when it was announced that he will not return to the organization as GM for next season.
The club has decided to part ways with General Manager Kyle Dubas— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) May 19, 2023
With his contract set to expire on June 30, his Leafs future was thrust into doubt following comments at Monday's locker cleanout, when he mentioned the emotional toll the job has taken on his family, and the fact that despite generating a ton of regular season success, the Leafs could not find any postseason success under Dubas' tenure: Just one first-round playoff series win (despite breaking a 19-year drought) stood as the most significant achievement.
So now... who will be the next Leafs GM?
There will be some big (possibly franchise-altering) decisions awaiting Dubas' successor — this has been a cap-strapped roster for years, with no clear path to roster flexibility available... without trading one of the team's three best players in Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, or William Nylander.
The rumour mill is already starting to swirl about who is up to this daunting task — and who should be tasked with leading the Leafs to postseason glory — but we've got an early look at who could land Toronto's GM job, with odds to be the Leafs next GM, courtesy of Sports Interaction.
Maple Leafs next GM odds
Odds courtesy of Sports Interaction as of May 19, 2023.
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Maple Leafs next GM odds analysis
Two names stand out as the early favorites to be the next GM for the Buds, both of which would be internal promotions.
Brandon Pridham is the slight favorite at +195, having been part of the Leafs' front office since 2013, beginning as special assistant to then-GM Lou Lamoriello and most recently acting as the assistant general manager under Dubas. Pridham is regarded as a salary-cap wizard and was already linked to some other vacant NHL GM positions (specifically the Calgary Flames), but staying with Toronto might now be the preference for the Ontario native.
Just behind Pridham is Ryan Hardy at +200, who was hired in June 2021 as the organization's Senior Director of Minor League Operations — which saw him serve as the GM for the AHL Toronto Marlies and ECHL Newfoundland Growlers. His experience as a GM, combined with his player development skills and familiarity with the Leafs' prospect system, makes him a very viable candidate in the event Brendan Shanahan does want his new GM to keep some organizational continuity.
If previous NHL experience is the preference, the current favorite from that pool of candidates would be Jim Benning (+400), who was a former Maple Leafs player and most recently was GM of the Vancouver Canucks.
Unfortunately, his tenure in Vancouver wasn't overly positive, as the Canucks made the playoffs just twice in his eight seasons in that role, where he was also known for some very questionable trades, dubious contract extensions, and a less-than-stellar draft record.
It also wouldn't be a GM search without some high-profile long shots on the board (based mainly on name value), including former Leafs legend Doug Gilmour (+4,000), who was formerly GM of the OHL's Kingston Frontenacs, as well as former No. 1-overall pick (and brief Maple Leaf alum) Eric Lindros at +6,500.
Recent Maple Leafs GMs
|Kyle Dubas||May 2018 - May 2023|
|Lou Lamoriello||July 2015 - April 2018|
|Dave Nonis||January 2013 - April 2015|
|Brian Burke||November 2008 - January 2013|
|Cliff Fletcher (Interim)||January 2008 - November 2008|
|John Ferguson Jr.||August 2003 - January 2008|
|Pat Quinn||July 1999 - August 2003|
|Ken Dryden||August 1997 - July 1999|
|Bill Watters (Interim)||May 1997 - August 1997|
|Cliff Fletcher||June 1991 - May 1997|