Kyle Dubas: Lengthy Lightning playoff run no consolation for Maple Leafs

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MONTREAL – Kyle Dubas didn’t get any satisfaction watching the Tampa Bay Lightning climb inside two wins of a 3rd consecutive Stanley Cup.

If something, the actual fact his Toronto Maple Leafs had the two-time defending champions on the ropes within the first spherical of the playoffs this spring made it worse for a normal supervisor sitting on an more and more sizzling seat.

“We simply must concentrate on ourselves,” Dubas mentioned Wednesday after GMs met forward of the NHL draft. “We didn’t get it finished.”

Toronto, which hasn’t superior within the playoffs since 2004, led Tampa 3-2 within the collection and 3-2 within the third interval of Sport 6 earlier than dropping in extra time.

The Leafs then had loads of alternatives early in Sport 7 on residence ice two nights later, however couldn’t join on the way in which to a crushing 2-1 loss that resigned the franchise to a seventh straight collection defeat.

The Lightning went onto sweep the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Florida Panthers within the subsequent spherical and beat the New York Rangers in six previous to falling to the Colorado Avalanche within the remaining.

“The ‘what ifs?’ don’t actually assist,” Dubas mentioned. “It doesn’t assist remedy the sleepless nights or make you’re feeling any higher … in all probability a bit of bit the opposite approach.

“We simply must concentrate on ourselves and keep away from that very same feeling and keep away from these identical questions.”

One other query posed to Dubas when he met reporters at a downtown Montreal resort was if he felt his job was on the road extra so in 2022-23 than in years previous.

Toronto set membership information for wins and factors final season, however nonetheless couldn’t recover from what’s grow to be a confounding playoff hump.

Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas speaks to the media after being eliminated in the first round of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs during a press conference in Toronto on Tuesday, May 17, 2022.

There are massive questions surrounding the group’s goaltending heading into free company subsequent week, whereas there’s additionally loads of work to do rounding out a roster that appears set to lose some important items — particularly netminder Jack Campbell and winger Ilya Mikheyev.

“It’s a good query,” Dubas replied to the question about his job safety. “I really feel it’s on the road yearly, and I’m judged on the finish of each season. I don’t essentially really feel there’s extra of a strain.

“It’s a crucial factor for me personally to assist ship for the group.”

He added the strain doesn’t change day-to-day.

“The tip purpose is that we’re having success when it issues within the playoffs,” Dubas mentioned. “As a lot as we need to simply fast-forward all the way in which there, if we skip all of the steps we’ll fall effectively quick. I don’t deal with (the approaching season) any otherwise. I put a variety of strain on myself to ship.

“That’ll by no means change.”

SANDIN OFFER SHEET

The Leafs signed restricted free agent defenceman Timothy Liljegren to a two-year contract final week that carries a tidy common annual worth of US$1.4 million.

Negotiations with fellow Swedish blue-liner Rasmus Sandin proceed, however there’s an opportunity Toronto’s first-round choose on the 2018 draft may hit the open market and be tempted by a supply sheet.

The Leafs would then have the choice to match the contract signed with one other membership to retain Sadin’s companies or obtain compensation for the misplaced RFA.

“If there’s going to be a suggestion sheet, the earlier the higher, so we will make our resolution and transfer on,” Dubas mentioned.

Free company opens July 13.

MILLER TALKS

All’s quiet on the J.T. Miller entrance.

The 29-year-old ahead has excelled with the Canucks and led Vancouver in scoring with profession highs in targets (32), assists (67) and factors (99) final season.

However with a 12 months left on Miller’s present deal, questions loom over whether or not the group can afford to increase him long-term.

Canucks GM Patrik Allvin mentioned he’s had good talks with the participant’s camp, though a brand new contract getting signed forward of the draft isn’t probably.

“I assume something may occur,” he mentioned. “We’ll wait and see.”

EYES ON EVANDER

In an ideal world, Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland would have extra certainty with regards to Evander Kane.

This isn’t an ideal world.

As an alternative, Holland has been having numerous discussions concerning the controversial winger he signed to a one-year, $2.1-million take care of the Oilers in January.

Kane went on to place up 39 factors (22 targets, 17 assists) in 43 regular-season video games and added one other 13 targets and 4 assists in 15 playoff appearances.

“I’m not right here telling you I’m near any type of a deal,” Holland mentioned. “You possibly can get up tomorrow and issues have modified. However is there a risk that he’s on the (free-agent) market July 13? Completely.”

The Oilers already know they’ve a gap to fill in free company, the GM added. With Mikko Koskinen signing in Switzerland and Mike Smith’s future unclear, Edmonton goes to wish a goalie.

“I met with Smitty, had breakfast with him the opposite day. He’s banged up. He’s banged up fairly dangerous,” Holland mentioned. “So, clearly I’d wish to, within the subsequent 10 days, have finished one thing.”

THE RUSSIAN QUESTION

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, issues develop round whether or not Russian NHL gamers will have the ability to return to North America this fall.

Holland mentioned so far as he is aware of, Oilers defenceman Dmitri Samorukov stays in Edmonton. However he doesn’t know the place ahead prospect Matvey Petrov went after ending the Ontario Hockey League season with the North Bay Battalion.

On the eve of the draft, Edmonton was nonetheless contemplating how the battle would weigh into its draft concerns.

“I’ve talked to (director of newbie scouting) Tyler Wright about that,” Holland mentioned.

“We’re going to speak once more … we’ll play it by ear.”

The Canucks anticipate Russians Vasily Podkolzin and Andrei Kuzmenko to be in Vancouver forward of coaching camp in September, Allvin mentioned.

Belarusian prospect Danilla Klimovich is already on the town, he added, opting to remain to “get the suitable coaching” in the course of the low season.

Dubas mentioned it’s laborious to not view prospects from that a part of the world by means of a distinct prism given the present battle.

“There’s a lot uncertainty,” he mentioned. “It’s a state of affairs I’ve not encountered.

“It’s one thing that you just think about.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first printed July 6, 2022.

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