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Does Dubas’ Availability Alter Flames Plans for GM Hire?



The question has to be asked. The Calgary Flames GM hunt is nearing a conclusion, with pre-draft prep meetings scheduled for next week and a desire to fill Brad Treliving’s shoes as quickly as possible.

But does Brendan Shanahan’s termination of the relationship between the Toronto Maple Leafs and former GM Kyle Dubas change the course of action in Calgary?

They’d be doing themselves no harm in asking whether Dubas would be interested.

While true that during his somewhat depressing end-of-season address, Dubas said it was Toronto or bust for him, that was spoken at a time that he thought he controlled his own destiny.

To borrow a movie quote from Kevin Costner in Draft Day, we live in a different world than we did just 30 seconds ago.

When Shanahan decided on Friday to break up with Dubas before he could break up with the Leafs after a five-year relationship, it may have shifted Dubas’ mindset. He said after the season that he would either be with the Leafs or taking time away with his family.

But according to Shanahan on Friday, Dubas had suggested via email he was willing to return (albeit with some tweaks to the terms of the contract, allegedly). So does that mean he’s now open to offers elsewhere?

In Calgary, the fan favourite is an in-house promotion for Craig Conroy, who has been a loyal assistant GM for years after starting as a special assistant to the GM more than a decade ago. He has a lot of knowledge, great energy, but also a competitive fire that still burns.

Many have been interviewed, according to reports, including a number of more experienced names, including Marc Bergevin and Dave Nonis.

With a vision of blending the present with the future — injecting more young players into the lineup, along with the veterans brought aboard to keep the current Stanley Cup contention hopes alive — the most positive path forward is with members of the organization who know all the players intimately already. Conroy, and perhaps next head coach Mitch Love, who guides the successful AHL affiliate Calgary Wranglers.

But it’s tough to discount a name like Dubas. At least from consideration.

Of course, the Leafs may prevent him from interviewing until his contract ends on June 30, as the Calgary Flames have reportedly done with Treliving.

Dubas doesn’t have the same meat on his resume as Treliving, for a direct comparison. He essentially inherited the core of his Leafs team and was primarily responsible for contract extensions, the addition of John Tavares, and focused on heavily on offence, which resulted in serious holes on defence and goaltending, which repeated playoff failures seemed to expose.

But Dubas has surely learned a lot, and will no doubt be given another opportunity as quickly as he’s willing to take it.

He’s an attractive name from a big Canadian market, and fits the younger and innovative tag Flame interim GM and president of hockey ops Don Maloney put out in his presser. He’s certainly someone more aligned with youth and creativity than so many of those other candidates, from Stan Bowman (yikes) to Bergevin or Nonis.

If it comes down to an external candidate or Conroy, let’s at least home the external is someone like the Carolina Hurricanes’ Eric Tulsky or Dubas.

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Didn’t Dubas do enough damage in Toronto? Why would Calgary consider hiring him? Do they want to contribute to the streak of no Canadian team winning the Stanley Cup.?

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