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Doug Armstrong in Toronto, the “rumor” that refuses to die

There’s one name on everyone’s lips in the Toronto media right now: Doug Armstrong of the Blues is one of the candidates constantly attracting attention in the race to become GM of the Maple Leafs.

Elliotte Friedman mentioned him a few days ago, and Chris Johnston included him in his list of possible candidates today.

Let’s get something straight, though: this is not a rumor, and the matter has never gone beyond the stage of speculation.

With that in mind, Darren Dreger calmed things down today, citing a reliable source in St. Louis who believes the rumor mill is a sham.

First, it’s important to mention that Doug Armstrong is not only still under contract with the Maple Leafs, he signed a five-year contract extension less than two years ago.

While it’s unusual for a club to be able to steal (so to speak) a GM from another team, Armstrong is guaranteed a job in St. Louis until 2026.

It’s true that he ticks all the boxes, and Pierre LeBrun hinted that thanks to his good relationship with the Blues’ owner, Armstrong could MAYBE convince him to let him go despite the absence of a severance clause in his contract. But that’s highly speculative.

But IF it were true…

IF Armstrong were to be a real candidate for the job, here are three thoughts to have:

  1. Armstrong is the one who mentioned, at the end of the season, that he felt disconnected from his players, from a generational point of view: “They’ll play 18 minutes and they’ll be satisfied with the 18-second clip of their game being shared on YouTube and getting a million likes. I have to try and understand why they reason that way. It’s a good summer project for an old man like me.” Would he really include Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander, who enjoy a lot of sartorial/social lousse?
  2. Counter-argument to point #1: wouldn’t it be perfect if an old hand treated this team without mercy, and without developing a special relationship with his players? It’s been a problem for Marc Bergevin, in all likelihood, and it’s always said that a GM shouldn’t get too close to his players. Doug Armstrong running the Leafs’ business might make a difference.
  3. Counter-argument to point #2: the boss of the business is Brendan Shanahan, not Doug Armstrong. Would he relinquish full control of the Blues to have transactions blocked by a man who, despite his competence, has less experience than he does in managing an NHL team? Would he see any real advantage in this job in Toronto?

In short. The obstacles are many. If you’ve got a couple of bucks lying around, you might be better off not betting it on this scenario and spending it on slush at the corner store instead.

Inflation permitting, of course.

In a gust

– The big challenge lies ahead.

– Keeping up to date.

– Roger Goodell is reportedly extending his contract.

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