Poulin, Loiselle Fired as Assistant GMs; Leafs bring in Kyle Dubas

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PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 28: Vice President and Assistant General Manager Claude Loiselle of the Toronto Maple Leafs speaks with General Manager Ken Holland of the Detroit Red Wings during the 2014 NHL Entry Draft at Wells Fargo Center on June 28, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

In somewhat of a shocking development, Claude Loiselle and Dave Poulin have been fired as assistant GMs. Incoming is a 28 year old executive, Kyle Dubas, formerly General Manager of the Soo Greyhounds and a big proponent of advanced statistics.

The Maple Leafs have signaled a change in management direction under Brendan Shanahan, and it’s probably the closest thing resembling that culture change the Maple Leafs have been talking about in the past few months.

Dave Poulin was involved in a little bit of everything to do with the team as VP of Hockey Operations, as well as serving as GM of the Toronto Marlies since Dave Nonis was promoted to GM of the Maple Leafs after Brian Burke was fired.

Claude Loiselle handled the team’s cap management and negotiated contracts for the team since 2010. Last year, the Leafs took a tonne of flak for the way they used their compliance buyouts, for the structure of the David Clarkson contract (which is essentially buyout proof due to its absurdly signing bonus-laden structure), and for the loss of Joe Colborne after the Leafs needed to shed some cap in preseason. They were also charged with a bonus overage this season — something a bottom 10 team should never be doing — as they flirted with the upper limit all season.

Both are out, and a new, young (just 28), progressive thinker has been added to the fold in Kyle Dubas formerly of the Sault St. Marie Greyhounds.

Dubas is the right mix for a new-age hockey guy; he’s served as a scout, an agent and a GM and brings a fresh approach to a burgeoning analytics arena that has been gaining more and more steam in the hockey world. The outgoing staff (Farrish, Gordon, Cronin, Loiselle, Poulin) were laggards in regards to analytics and were regularly putting their foot in their mouths, saying things such as: shot counts don’t matter, using proprietary scoring chances to gauge who is controlling play, and using systems that were allowing the most shots against in the league and explaining that it was misleading.


[quote_center]Shanahan on Dubas: “He has a fresh approach that we feel will benefit our club for years to come.”[/quote_center]

Here’s an excellent interview with Kyle Dubas at Canucks Army which is helpful in showing how he analyzes and assesses his players.

[quote_center]We’re excited about the addition of an up-and-coming hockey executive in Kyle,” said Nonis.[/quote_center]

[quote_box_right]”He’s impressive, smart, devoted, dedicated,. He believed in advanced stats before it was popular to do so. He’s ambitious. And he sees the game well. Relates well to people. Understands that if want respect, show respect.” – Sherry Bassin[/quote_box_right]Dubas is a very young hockey executive and has just three years experience in management at the OHL level, so it’s perhaps stretching to say the Leafs have completely overhauled the management group, but it seems to rock the boat in a new direction. Dubas is a student of the modern game, was an advanced stats guy before advanced stats were really a thing, and will bring a different voice that challenges some of the old-school echo-chamber thinking that really emanated out of our interviews with the management team last summer.

While this caps off a promising, refreshing, intelligent off-season by Shanahan, the most interesting part of it — given the moves since — has been the decision to keep Randy Carlyle around despite so many of the subsequent moves — letting Bolland and McClement go, firing his assistants, talking about using four lines, bringing in an advanced stats-oriented GM to work on what was the worst possession system by the numbers in the NHL last season (and perhaps ever) — suggesting there’s no reason for him to come back. There must really be a feeling that Carlyle is prepared to embrace change or else he will be gone very early on.

This is a nice show of accountability in management and potentially a really astute addition to the staff.

[pull_quote_center]”This announcement today is one that brings very mixed emotions for me. Certainly, I am excited by the massive opportunity that the Toronto Maple Leafs have afforded me. However, with that comes leaving a team and group of people that have an impact on me that is special that it is truly difficult to put into words. “One of the most important elements of this decision for me was the fact that the staff and group of players with the Greyhounds are just a fabulous team and will be able to carry on the current course in a seamless manner. I’m also very excited about working with the Board of Directors over the short-term future to properly transition the team.”  Kyle Dubas on his transition from the Soo Greyhounds to the Toronto Maple Leafs[/pull_quote_center]

  • Faalcon

    It is never pleasant to be happy about someone firings. However, I have never beleived in the brain trust that BB put together. Good luck to them elsewhere and  we hope the incomer/s do an outstanding job to propel this team upwards.

  • AsburyJukes75

    If Loiselle and Poulin learn from their mistakes as they move forward, good on them. I hope they do. One should learn from your experiences.

    But if they double down, and keep doing what they’re doing, well, I hope it’s with a team within the division. Preferably, say, Boston or Montreal.

  • Savo43

    Loiselle says to Holland in that pic: “do you know how to add and subtract? if not im fucked”

  • Reimocerous

    Much like. Feels refreshing to have some of the old guys moved out in favour of some new thinking.

  • Yan28

    Wooooo! Say goodbye to the Capologist!!! Liked Poulin though, but I beleive in Shanny!  Woo!

  • Great Dane

    well-well, interesting move to say the least.

    Would imagine that at least one more is going to join the front office very soon.

    Should be a good move, Loiselle and Poulin have not been developing with the game and as mentioned above you can’t accept that your go over the cap om a bottom time.

    All in all good move.

  • wendelsway1

    Welcome to TO, Kyle Dubas….happy to have you…..desperate need of change in TO.  Go Leafs Go!!

  • Mcost61

    wendelsway1  Never any sour in you, God love ya

  • Mcost61

    Great Dane  I have no problem with the moves

  • LeafsGuru

    New young blood to the nhl love it I see him wanting to do offer sheets since he not part of the old school gm club. But making ache viable enough for other teams to match to screw with there cap. Hehe or at least that’s what I would do

  • wendelsway1

    Mcost61 wendelsway1 No sense worrying about things we have no control over…..all I have is hope……and really good blood pressure….lol  :)

  • Groundhogday

    Article does not say what Dubas is going to do for the Leafs.

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    Groundhogday
    The biggest words on the page:
    “Former Soo Greyhounds GM, Kyle Dubas, named Assistant GM”

  • Burtonboy

    Beyond The Numbers: A 1-on-1 with OHL GM Kyle Dubas
    http://canadianhockeyonline.ca/hockey-business/item/1555-behind-the-numbers-a-1-on-1-with-ohl-gm-kyle-dubas

  • The_Polish_Cannon

    LeafsGuru i sure hope not. It’ll be very hard to make hockey deals with other teams if this young kid comes in and pisses off all the other GMs by trying to screw them over

  • Groundhogday

    DeclanK Groundhogday Um yeah…so?  Will he manage the cap?  Will he provide analytics to the other managers to support decisions? Will he manage the Marlies?  Just what will he be doing.  Will he just be Nonis right hand man?

  • TheCanucksnaphook

    DeclanK Groundhogday But if only they were BIGGER !!!

  • LeafsGuru

    I’m guessing that shanny wasn’t happy with there approach and thats why they were canned, they probably said nobody wants to trade with us and shanny figured if they gave up then there out. Let’s get someone who has balls and wants to make a splash

  • Greg Fenton

    wendelsway1 What change would you like to see?

  • Alec Brownscombe

    Groundhogday DeclanK No one knows his exact role yet. The announcement came an hour ago.

  • DARF24

    I like how its Young guys like these that really understand that the game is changing, ie: wont live in the past because he’s never been there.

  • Greg Fenton

    LeafsGuru I dunno if the answer to “no one wants to trade with us” is to hire a young guy with no experience and no connections. 

    Seems like he is a big (at least bigger then what the Leafs currently have) stat and numbers guy, he was most likely hired to fill that role with the team.

  • TheCanucksnaphook

    DARF24 But some relationships within the GM ranks are based on that past you dismiss in such a cavalier manner.

  • Komas Taberle

    Great hire but i find it strange that the asst managers and asst coaches are being held accountable instead of the players and head coach where the blame lies.

  • Cameron19

    LeafsGuru Offer sheets are a rarely used avenue because they’re a terrible method for improving, not because the old guard just doesn’t like them.

  • Great Dane

    Sounds like a smarter guys than the ones that left.

    You need a team with top skills and you would also like them to be one of the bigger but mobile teams. However, that is not always possible in a cap world.
    That sounds about right to me

  • Mcost61

    Komas Taberle  Don’t worry, there’s lots of blame to go around still

  • The_Polish_Cannon

    LeafsGuru I don’t think it has to do with trades as much as the atrocious cap management of last season along with their outdated philosophies on hockey. They didn’t seem concerned about being heavily outshot every night and scoffed at any mention of stats

  • Greg Fenton

    DARF24 Remember how Ferguson had his finger on the pulse of how the game was changing…..

    Right now he is one guy in a roomw ith Nonis and Shanahan and sometimes Lieweke – I doubt he will be the driving force of change at this point.

  • DARF24

    TheCanucksnaphook DARF24 true enough, pros and cons I guess.

  • loomx

    TheCanucksnaphook DARF24 You build relationships as an Assistant GM though. Stan Bowman started when he was 28. Chiarelli starter when he was 35 and Dean Lombardi at 30.

  • djamon

    Komas Taberle Lots of players moved out or let go. Coach staying  is odd, but I think he’s on a short leash.

  • LeafsGuru

    Seems like this kid is a doogie howser of hockey I’m sure he will add to the team, if he can make it to AGM at a age of what 28? I’m all for it! I’m sure he will get connected very quickly

  • Mcost61

    Greg Fenton LeafsGuru  At least no one hates him yet

  • TheCanucksnaphook

    loomx TheCanucksnaphook DARF24 I am not saying he is a bad addition.  Holy christ.

    I am pointing out there will be a learning curve and people are looking for the messiah this season they are delusional.

  • Komas Taberle

    djamon Komas Taberle
    Players moving out are not core players though.

  • AndrewGalea

    so overall, are we all happy with the direction Shanny is taking Toronto?

  • TheCanucksnaphook

    AndrewGalea Not as of yet.  Start winning, and you can have my soul.  (if I actually had one)

  • loomx

    Komas Taberle Even the GM himself. Surprising that so many who were people calling for a culture change seem content with a new bottom 6, new assistant coaches and assistant GMs.

  • Groundhogday

    djamon Komas Taberle One day we will hear the story of why they kept Randy,  and that will be a truly interesting one.

  • Greg Fenton

    LeafsGuru Sure, but that may take half a year, or a year, or longer depending on his duties (if he is there mainly to provide stat and number info and analyise etc… he may not have a lot contact with other GM’s etc….). 

    Just saying, I wouldn’t expect a blockbuster deal that brings Stamkos here or something in 2 weeks because Dubas pushed it forward and made it happen.

  • Mcost61

    TheCanucksnaphook AndrewGalea  Not true, I have heard a soul mentioned when talking about you  😉

  • loomx

    TheCanucksnaphook loomx DARF24 I’m not attacking you either.

    Point is: he’ll be judged for what he does from now on. His age and experience don’t really matter much right now.

  • wiski

    djamon Komas Taberle Only reason for keeping Randy was to show the players it’s not just the coach who is on the hook.

  • The_Polish_Cannon

    Cameron19 LeafsGuru You risk crippling the franchise with the draft picks that are required to be given up for any player worth offer sheeting

  • wendelsway1

    TheCanucksnaphook AndrewGalea Yeah, I’m at the wait and see, time will tell point.

  • Cameron19

    Komas Taberle djamon Are the core players really the problem? Throughout every series of the playoffs, we saw how important it was that good teams had an effective bottom six group of forwards. The Leafs had the worst group in the NHL bar absolutely none.

    This is not to say that the core couldn’t be better, or more consistent, or anything of the kind, but it’s not hard to imagine that management believes having an even mediocre bottom six would allow us to get more out of our core.

  • TheCanucksnaphook

    wendelsway1 TheCanucksnaphook AndrewGalea Tough to judge him when its July.

  • Greg Fenton

    Mcost61 Greg Fenton LeafsGuru Probably not.

  • Mcost61

    I am going to count this as a change for the better, until I see otherwise. Glass half full and all