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A natural break in the schedule has presented an opportunity to discuss the bigger-picture items on the agenda for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
More specifically, whatís earned a considerable share of the discourse over the last few days has been the looming executive crunch (if you will) that faces the crowded boardroom responsible for building the organization back to,
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, and since beyond, respectability.
As is customary with these new Leafs, as it was agreed upon, the public is left to work with incomplete information as it glances toward the future. But as weíre led to believe, Lou Lamoriello, will see his contract, the man currently sitting in the general managerís chair (and at least considered second-in-command in terms of influence behind team president Brendan Shanahan), reach its expiration sooner than later once the season has ended.
(It is believed that his current deal does include a natural progression to an advisory role, of sorts. Whether he remains in the office or not, however, decisions on the current arrangement within the managerial hierarchy are indeed imminent.)
Itís entirely possible that Shanahan has already charted out the path, Kyle Dubas and Mark Hunter., and perhaps even handed the mandate down to Lamoriello and the remaining managerial prongs
Itís also entirely possible that he, isnít sure just yet on how this will sort out., like the rest of us
thereís one course of action that seems to make the most sense for the immediate future ó the status quo. And a reminder of why Lamoriello was brought aboard in the first place provides the most sensible rationale.,Regardless
while showing Dubas the managerial ropes.,
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,†Lamorielloís value to the Maple Leafs when the organization made the surprise decision to rescue him from his unwanted role with the New Jersey Devils was as a table-setter for the 31-year-old Dubas. He would use his 30 years of executive experience and relationships forged across NHL circles to carry out the consensuses from the managerial nucleus in Toronto. This
Itís proven to be quite astute.
Though the arrangement has resulted in some variable organizational behaviour (an apparent change in draft strategy, for one), all together, so far, the group has pushed the right buttons.
Toronto jumped from 30th to 14th in the standings last season, the Maple Leafs are certainly in a position to make a meaningful postseason run just two years after winning the rights to the No. 1 pick from the pole position at the draft lottery.,
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,and this year sit sixth in the overall table. And despite the difficult road
All thatís happened since Lamorielloís arrival (and with the wreckage before that), is light lifting compared to the work that needs to be accomplished in that boardroom this summer., however
Lamoriello has been there to complete the teardown,
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, sign big-money free-agent deals and bolster postseason rosters at the deadline. What he hasnít done is negotiate a long-term contract out of entry level with the face of the franchise., make contracts go bye-bye
Let alone three.
Lamoriello has built a reputation in the NHL as a tough, no-nonsense negotiator. Why would the Maple Leafs waste that expertise,
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,†or significantly diminish the leverage he brings by shifting him to a lesser role, before the organization signs the three contracts that will ultimately establish the ceiling for the most promising generation of Maple Leafs hockey in a lifetime?
William Nylander and Mitch Marner needs to begin the moment the Maple Leafsí postseason run ends. It should be managed in concert ó just as it all has for the last 32 months.,The work toward signing long-term agreements with Auston Matthews
If at any point they needed a team or,
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, better yet, obscurity with regard to role, itís now.
but one with very limited experience in contract negotiation) and make their first order of business to sign the most important contracts in the clubís 101-year history?,What sense does it make to rush to promote Dubas (an executive with less time on this planet than Lamoriello has years experience managing an NHL franchise) or Hunter (a proficient scout
Whatís more, and a master of muzzling the media?, why have them answer for these negotiations when Lamoriello is nothing if not an expert at getting things accomplished in silence
but he was brought in to do a specific job and those duties have not been fully carried out just yet. So his contract expires? If Lamoriello has proven anything in his time with the Maple Leafs itís that lines can be blurred.,Lamoriello was always a stopgap solution
Nylander and (to a lesser extent) Marner are signed,Until Matthews,
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, it would be a mistake to make the 75-year-old forfeit his position one rung below Shanahan, Hunter, and see either Dubas, or any other candidate fill the vacancy.
What problems arise following Lamorielloís tenure ó whether itís Louís unhappiness with a lesser role, or a mass executive exodus altogether ó will pale in comparison to ones brought on by missteps in negotiations this summer.,
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,feelings of resentment lower on the ladder
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