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Maple Leafs' Kyle Dubas: 'I don't have it in me to go anywhere else'

It's Leafs or nothing for Dubas if he chooses to sign a new contract this summer.

Kyle Dubas will either remain as the general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, or will take a year to reflect upon what his next move is.

Dubas confirmed during the Maple Leafs’ end-of-year media availability that he would consult his wife, Shannon, and the rest of his family before making a definitive commitment.

“I think it requires me to have a full family discussion. My family is a hugely important part of what I do, so for me to commit to anything without having a fuller understanding of what this year took on them is probably unfair for me to answer where I’m at. I wish I could give you more. It was a very hard year on them.”

Dubas also confirmed he won’t take a job with another team. He isn’t signed beyond this season and will need to make an imminent decision as the Maple Leafs prepare for a pivotal offseason.

Whether he signs an extension with the Maple Leafs or not, Kyle Dubas won't be leaving Toronto for the foreseeable future. (Canadian Press)
Whether he signs an extension with the Maple Leafs or not, Kyle Dubas won't be leaving Toronto for the foreseeable future. (Canadian Press)

“I definitely don’t have it in me to go anywhere else. It will be either here or it will be taking time to recalibrate, reflect on the seasons here. You won’t see me next week pop up elsewhere. I can’t put (my family) through that after this year.”

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The 37-year-old was named as the 17th general manager in Maple Leafs history on May 11, 2018, signing John Tavares to a seven-year, $77-million contract later that summer as one of his first orders of business. Toronto lost in the first round of the playoffs in five consecutive seasons, before breaking through to the second round this summer, where it was upset by the Florida Panthers in five games.

Dubas sat alone at the podium — this was by design as Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan is expected to address reporters later this week.

“It’s on me,” Dubas said.

Known for his emotional outbursts in the press box, Dubas went viral after throwing a water bottle when Morgan Rielly’s go-ahead goal was nullified by the officials during Game 5, with the referees determining they had the intention to blow the whistle prior to the puck crossing the line. Dubas defended himself, then called out a reporter by name for writing about his press box antics.

“Sometimes I’m an emotional person. That’s me. Some people may not care for it. That’s me. I have to realize that.”

Dubas commended Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe for the adjustments he made against the Panthers, noting that the team played better through the last two games of the series. When asked about if he would make any changes regarding the Core Four, consisting of Tavares, Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander, Dubas worked around the question, then cited last summer’s Matthew Tkachuk-Jonathan Huberdau blockbuster trade between the Panthers and Flames as a prime example.

“I would consider anything with our group here that would allow us a better chance to win the Stanley Cup. So I would take nothing off the table at all. And I think everything would have to be considered with regards to anything to do with the Leafs.”

Keefe said he respects Dubas but stopped short of providing him with a vote of confidence, citing his respect for the process.

“Kyle and I have a lot of history. I believe in a lot of things he's done that have put us in positions to succeed. I'm hopeful it gets worked out but it's out of my hands. Out of respect to him, I've left him alone. Obviously I have tremendous respect for Kyle."

After being stunned by the Panthers in five games, both Dubas and Keefe lamented on this year being a missed opportunity, especially considering that the team got out of the first-round, while the 65-win Boston Bruins were eliminated in the first round by the Panthers, clearing the path for the Maple Leafs’ best chance at a cup this millennium.

With the summer officially underway, either Dubas comes back or the executive branch of the Maple Leafs will be undergoing a drastic overhaul that will define this chapter of the franchise’s history.