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On the surface, Dave Nonis's first year as General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs went spectacularly. Taking the reins after the dismissal of Brian Burke, Nonis watched as his team surged into the top eight in the Eastern Conference and then, in a stunning turn of events, stayed there.
That's right. In less than half a season, Nonis managed to do what no one else had been able to do in years: he got the Leafs to the playoffs. (Sure, he did very little in the way of building that team, but he was in the big chair when it happened.) Looking at it this way, you can understand why MLSE might decide the time was right to give Nonis a healthy extension. That's exactly what they did.
Tim Leiweke, President and Chief Executive Officer of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, announced Thursday that David Nonis has signed a five-year contract extension in his role as Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“Ownership and management felt it was critical to extend David now for a lengthy period of time and to reward him for the progression of the Leafs and Marlies,” said Leiweke. “This extension will allow David the time to build his kind of team to produce steady results, year after year. Everyone is excited about his ability and grasp of the NHL landscape and today’s new contract agreement will offer the Leafs consistency and a long-term vision.”
Minor quibble: not everyone is excited. While Nonis's accomplishments in six months on the job look pretty incredible when juxtaposed with his predecessors, they look a lot less incredible if, you know, you look at them.
First of all, it's been suggested -- and backed up with stats -- that the Leafs' run to the postseason was a lucky one, somehow managing to occur despite abysmal possession numbers that typically belie the notion of a contending team. If that's the case, they're bound to come back to earth in the near future. Or maybe that's what the last 10 minutes of Game 7 versus Boston was.
Or maybe their fall from grace doesn't happen at all because Nonis truly improved them in the offseason, buying out Mikhail Grabovski and signing Tyler Bozak and David Clarkson? Some believe this to be true.
Others feel a potato would have made better decisions. Speaking of juxtapositions, Pension Plan Puppets didn't feel Nonis compared favourably to North America's most beloved tuberous crop:
I like the way this potato does business.
And yet it's Nonis, who only looks like a potato, who will continue to run the Maple Leafs for the foreseeable future, perhaps into the place from which potatoes grow.