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Dubas 'willing to bet everything' on Leafs core

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With the dust settled on another first-round exit, Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas remains all-in on the roster he's built.

"For better or worse, I believe in this group and I believe that they are going to get it done and I believe that they're going to win," Dubas said Thursday, according to Sportsnet's Chris Johnston. "I understand that comes with certain doubt because of the fact that we have not broken through in the playoffs, but it's my belief that they will.

"I believe in them as players, I believe in them as people, and I know that decision lies on me and what the risk is for me. We're going ahead that way. So I'm comfortable with it. I believe that we're going to see the best version of this group next season that we've seen yet and I'm willing to bet everything on that."

The Maple Leafs faced plenty of criticism earlier this summer after blowing a 3-1 series lead to the Montreal Canadiens. It marked the current core's fifth consecutive opening-round loss, and extended the franchise's streak to 17 years without winning a series.

Superstar forwards Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews combined for just a single goal against the underdog Habs, but Dubas and president Brendan Shanahan both think the team as constructed is capable of getting it done.

At his end-of-season press conference in June, Shanahan said the Leafs lack a "killer instinct" that needs to be addressed.

Though Toronto's superstars appear locked into their roles, the Maple Leafs are bound to look different around the edges for the 2021-22 season. Top-six staple Zach Hyman appears to be on the verge of leaving in free agency, and the club has approximately $10 million in cap space to fill holes up front and in net.

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