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