Kyle Dubas has been given the keys to a proverbial Ferrari.
The question is, will the rookie general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs be able to drive it to a championship finish after losing two major front office components?
Less than two weeks after the 32-year-old was given the GM title in Toronto, former general manager Lou Lamoriello and player personnel director Mark Hunter are out of the picture.
Neither departure came as a surprise to many, including Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan.
After being passed over for the GM post, Hunter, 55, and the Leafs have agreed to part ways.
Lamoriello, a 75-year-old Hall-of-Fame executive who guided the New Jersey Devils to three Stanley Cup titles, left to become the president of hockey operations with the New York Islanders.
That leaves Dubas in the head seat at the Maple Leafs’ draft table next month and in charge of negotiating the expected mega-contract for budding superstar Auston Matthews.
He also has key decisions ahead of him as far as what the Leafs’ front office hierarchy will look like.
In hockey-mad Toronto, Dubas will be scrutinized at every turn if the decisions he makes don’t pan out. And in the NHL, no general manager is perfect. He’ll just have to learn to take the heat when things go sideways.
If Dubas falters, some people may point to his age while others will lay blame with Shanahan for putting him into one of the hottest seats in the league.
The good news for Dubas is that he has an incredible foundation to work with, some of which he helped lay since joining the organization in 2015.
He can also build his front office the way that he wants to without any second-guessing from Lamoriello or Hunter.
That means the proverbial Ferrari that Dubas is driving won’t have any back-seat drivers… despite the fact there aren’t any back seats in a Ferrari.
Metaphors aside, the Maple Leafs are now Kyle Dubas’ show.