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In Maple Leafs’ talks with Oilers about Hyman, Dubas is not bending the knee

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In Maple Leafs’ talks with Oilers about Hyman, Dubas is not bending the knee

Kyle Dubas is in no mood to do favors.

Still sore after a difficult first-round loss to his Toronto Maple Leafs, and limited in the ways he can reshape the roster by cap space and a lack of draft capital, the generally affable general manager took a stand. firm when approached over the weekend about facilitating a signing-and-trade agreement involving Zach Hyman.

The benefits of the deal were clear to two of the parties at the table: It would have allowed Hyman to add an eighth year to his rich free agent contract while giving the Edmonton Oilers a chance to lower the winger’s annual cap. from the winger at more than $ 400,000 per season.

As for the leaves?

Well, Dubas didn’t think the last-round pick Edmonton was offering was worth it. Salary space is king in this league. And there is a cost to get rid of cap obligations, even if it is part of a sign-and-trade scenario rather than a more common contract dump.

“We’ve been in that situation before at the trade deadline and when you’re there, the other GMs aren’t helping you. They are removing the pin from the grenade and throwing it at him, ”Dubas said Saturday. “I know there is a narrative that we should achieve something, but when you are saving a team a significant amount of cap dollars, it comes at a cost and we are not going to compromise on that.”

We’re starting to see a hardened public advantage building around a man who has seen his organization take a lot of bullets since blowing a 3-1 series lead against Montreal in May. The Leafs were even outright outwitted during the draft. expansion of the Seattle Kraken on Wednesday. the worst part of the long gap jokes since they last won a playoff series and the Stanley Cup.

Dubas faces criticism head-on.

He began to speak openly about how to tie his own job security to the core of players who refuse to break and even acknowledged that those players are guilty of being too passive in elimination games: “We’ve been in those moments in the last five seasons. and we have fallen short in those moments. “

It had been his hope to keep Hyman in Toronto, extending an eight-year maximum term offer after the season. But he couldn’t get anywhere near the amount of money on the table in Edmonton. That prompted Dubas to grant Hyman’s agent Todd Reynolds permission to speak with other teams and set the table for the possibility of the NHL’s first sign-and-trade deal.

The Leafs understand the value of cap flexibility as well as anyone: having handed over the 13th overall pick in the 2020 draft to Carolina to ditch the final year of Patrick Marleau’s $ 6.25 million annual contract and sent fourth picks. patrols San José and Colón for the retention of Nick Foligno’s double salary on the trade deadline.

They also added a 2020 fifth-round pick as a go-between in Robin Lehner’s cut-off day trade with Chicago and Vegas, absorbing $ 1.1 million from the goalkeeper’s salary cap commitment.

What Edmonton could earn in a potential Hyman trade and signing overshadowed each of those precedent-setting trades in total value. The pending unrestricted free agent is believed to be in line to receive $ 5.075 million annually on an eight-year contract or $ 5.5 million for a seven-year contract from Edmonton should he hit the open market.

“In terms of compensation, I think it’s pretty simple,” Dubas said. “There is a big benefit for me in adding the eighth year in terms of savings in the salary cap for the team that is going to sign him. … So we know what is the value of that withholding, going to the eighth year, the savings at the top, and if there is a fair deal to achieve it, we will do it. “

Limit system challenges are one of the main reasons Dubas only had to make three picks during the NHL Draft: overtaking Matthew Knies at No. 57, forward Ty Voit at No. 153 and the goalkeeper Vyacheslav Peksa at No. 185

He mentioned that his lack of draft capital and cap space also kept him out of rampant business discussions during a wild weekend of league-wide activity.

Hyman’s imminent departure only adds to the challenge of getting his group out of the hump, but Dubas struggles forwards: “It’s a loss, but we have to pick up and move on and do everything we can to put the team at their best. position. possible for next season. “

They’ll look for a deep defender or two who can play grunt and won’t break the bank when free agency opens Wednesday. They also need a goalkeeper to play alongside Jack Campbell and another left back to complete their lineup.

Ideally, those needs will be addressed in the open market, but Dubas won’t tackle himself if they don’t. Remain open to exchanges.

“We have our top picks next year and our pool of prospects, plus players on our roster that teams are always hanging around and asking about,” Dubas said. “We will get to work here on Wednesday or before Wednesday and see what is available. We will try to use all the avenues we can to improve the team. “

That could still involve a signature and trade for Hyman if the greasers adopt his view. But there doesn’t seem to be a compromise.

Right now, Dubas is not bending the knee for anyone.

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