Just a few thoughts here as we have a game tonight and it’s the Sabres. It should be the primary focus in easily what promises to be the most heated and contested game of our early season. So I want to move past the Nylander signing talk fast and get him playing. But as we do and to close it out for now I will quickly ask what can our GM can or has walked away from this with and I’ll tell you what I think.
Really who are we or I to know the answer to the question above, what can Kyle Dubas take away from this experience, but you try to put on his shoes as they say (or glasses, which I go bold frame too). I wouldn’t even venture a guess on what he’s learned, only for a slight thought bubble opened when Dubas suggested he would try to avoid going through this again for the sake of the parties collaterally involved.
I’m sure the obvious intention would always be to avoid. It was taxing on everyone I’m sure despite our record. The situation needed settling to properly move forward and evaluate the team, as Dubas referenced in his press conference. But when lines in the sand are drawn, what is it exactly he can do to expedite the “process”? Just win for the himself, the Leafs, the player, and nobody else.
Now that it’s done and Dubas has stated, with mimicking situations about to present themselves that things will be different. Maybe here is how he goes about a non repeat.
I say mimicking but you had extenuating circumstances here, unrepeatable even, of a first time NHL GM in the hotbed of the sport negotiating a high profile contract in a changing salary allocation landscape with a player whose potential and rightfully earned self confidence reaches beyond that of his salary case put forth. Add a family history and it had everything.
With the eyes of the hockey world on it every moment of the way, there were final declarations to be made. First impressions last a lifetime. Agents, Kyle being a former one, fans, managers, players, this had everyone’s attention and the public and industry needed a victor.
Dubas and advisors I’m certain recognized the importance of this perception. And now moving forward, he can remember how unimportant it is.
Nylander came in at 8. Willy knows he’s worth it and I think you’ll see. Dubas looks at his case and says the point numbers bring you in at 6. The middle was set early, at 7. As GM he had to set a precedent or tone. Listen, the writing feels all over the wall on what this boiled down to. Willy wanted it, Kyle wouldn’t give it.
The number was 7.
Toronto’s GM couldn’t lose this one. He just couldn’t. William Nylander believed in himself and needed to be a 7 million dollar player at the very very least. This was all about principle, greed never weighed in the way we thought. It coming down to the 11th hour and Nylander making a call illustrated it even more just how firm they both were in that line, that 7. But in reality…why?
Dubas in the end didn’t go above his number. Technically. The Maple Leafs conceded everything on contract structure and I think Willy calls this a win too. So what will be different next time? How do we get there for the opener with our other ELC’s?
Me, I’m not so sure Dubas has to win in the public again, just as long as he knows he’s won. This negotiation was a one time only necessity, and possibly a realization was made throughout what constitutes a win.
Kyle had to stand tall here and he’s shown he will. But the next time around the perception surrounding his negotiations will be less of a factor. He didn’t buckle and he doesn’t have to in the future, but he also knows there’s not many numbers Nylander comes in at that are honestly going to hurt you. He’s likely laughing his ass off internally having 6 years of Willy at 7. He’s also proven he can make a fair deal. Important to note.
My hope is Dubas understands he can concede in the public eye while knowing he truly hasn’t conceded a thing.
The hockey wolves and pundits can go at his decisions all they want. Burke already did. And the media and blogs criticizing his moves aren’t going anywhere especially with Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner still needing to sign. Maybe we at True Blue will be one. Still, Dubas is writing his own story.
So what is it that I think Dubas learned after all this? Close to the line is close enough and the PR win is overrated.
Yes, it is one he had to get under his belt. He won a 15 round split decision and I applaud that.
I’m not so sure next time the bell even has to ring.
The GM made his stand, and he bent without breaking in the public eye. But you can’t tell me for one second Kyle Dubas would blink an eye at paying William Nylander more than let’s say 7.25 million a season. HE KNOWS WHAT HE’S WORTH. And he’ll know with Mitch and Auston. Dubas is aware it doesn’t really matter what his superstars make within a few hundred grand instead of a number we’ve decided on as some sort of victory point.
Dubas has shown he won’t waiver as he was prepared to go past the deadline. This says A LOT. He didn’t cross the line in the sand. His toe, maybe. As we go, I can see him from now on just scuffing it with his foot. It’s not the lines in the sand it’s the friends he made along the way who were carrying him all along. Or something like that.
We had to go through this so maybe we never have to go through it again. And unfortunately it had to be with Nylander. And still we all survived, and Kyle and Willy remain strong.
Thanks to them there’s a good chance we won’t have to go through it again.