Three days later, it looks like the window is officially closed.
Friedman discussed his initial report during an appearance on Sportsnet 960 The FAN Friday morning and provided an update on the story, saying he believes Dubas will be staying put in Toronto.
“I think it’s over,” Friedman said. “Whatever window was there since I reported it – and one of the things I said on Tuesday when I mentioned it is I’m not exactly sure when it stands. Sometimes when you actually go to air with something or write something it brings even more clarity, and that’s the case here.”
“I believe the window is closed. I don’t think he’ll be going,” Friedman explained. “And I believe that Toronto closed the window. That initially they were willing to let him go, and then they weren’t. And so I think that’s kind of where it stands here.”
Dubas has been with with the Maple Leafs since July 2014, and has been widely regarded as one of hockey’s brightest young minds. It’s no surprise, then, that the 30-year-old’s name has appeared in more than one rumour mill as teams look to fill front-office vacancies.
He has reportedly garnered interest from other rebuilding clubs, such as the Arizona Coyotes in 2016. Dubas, however, was open about wanting to remain in Toronto and continue to learn with the Maple Leafs at that time.
A year later, after the Buffalo Sabres ousted GM Tim Murray in April, many wondered if Dubas’ name was on the Pegulas’ list of possibilities to help the team finally break free from their rebuild. There were no confirmed reports of the Sabres’ interest in Dubas and he was not interviewed for the position, with the team ultimately ending up hiring former Penguins associate GM Jason Botterill.
Friedman called this spring’s Dubas-to-Colorado report “an interesting situation.”
“There was some pushback from Colorado at the beginning in saying that it wasn’t accurate and it didn’t happen,” Friedman said of his report earlier in the week. “And I think that it’s possible that there were people in Colorado who didn’t know that it had happened.
“But there was definitely contact. There was permission given. And for whatever reason—and only Toronto knows, and you’ve got a better chance of getting the nuclear codes than probably this information out of Toronto—but I think Toronto revoked permission and I don’t think he’s going.”
In addition to his responsibilities as Leafs assistant GM, Dubas also oversees the Toronto Marlies as GM as the AHL club. As evidenced in the Maple Leafs’ young, exciting team—and surprise playoff appearance—in 2016-17, Toronto has plenty of talent coming down the prospect pipeline and therefore has gotten the attention of the league and other rebuilding teams.
“It was a strange story because normally when you get some information – the one thing I really like about covering this league is that if you have something, most people won’t flat-out lie to you,” said Friedman. “They’ll say either, ‘You’re halfway there and I’d better make sure you get this right,’ or they’ll say, ‘You know what, I’m just not going to talk about it.’ This one, it wasn’t as if anyone was lying. It was more like, ‘Yeah, we’re not going to touch this one.’”
The Avalanche finished last in the league this season with a franchise-worst 48 points, and then dropped to the fourth overall pick after the draft lottery. General manager Joe Sakic has said the team will keep head coach Jared Bednar after just one season behind the bench, but dismissed two assistant coaches in Tim Army and Dave Farrish as well as goalie coach Francois Allaire earlier this week.
“It’s just a really weird story. And I think nobody really knew 100 per cent where it stood,” Friedman said. “The best guess I could give you as we speak at 8 a.m. MT [Friday] is that I believe Toronto has closed the window and he’s not going.”