Toronto Maple Leafs Firing Lou Lamoriello In Favor of Kyle Dubas Paid Off Big-Time

DALLAS, TX - JUNE 23: (l-r) Kyle Dubas and Brendan Shanahan of the Toronto Maple Leafs handle the draft table during the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center on June 23, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - JUNE 23: (l-r) Kyle Dubas and Brendan Shanahan of the Toronto Maple Leafs handle the draft table during the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center on June 23, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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After a little more than a year as the GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs, it is clear the team made the right decision to fire Lou Lamoriello.

The Toronto Maple Leafs hired Kyle Dubas to be the team’s 17 General Manager on May 18, 2018. 

It is a decision that seemed like the correct move at the time, and a year later it looks like one of the smartest decisions in team history.

While no one can satisfy everyone, you’d be hardpressed to find anything to be critical of Kyle Dubas about in his first year on the job.

Dubas Soars, Lamoriello Fails

If all you did was look at the results, you might think that Lou Lamoriello has done well since leaving the Leafs.  You would be sadly mistaken.

Since taking the GM role on Long Island, Lamoriello lost his best player to his former team, and signed a large number of bad, bottom-of-the-lineup players to ridiculous contracts. (The kind he freely gave out during his time in Toronto).

Only a flier on post-hype Robin Lehner, who went on to have the most surprising seasons in NHL history, prevented the Islanders from finishing in the basement.

Of course, it’s easy to look at the Islanders advancing farther than the Leafs did and question the decision.  But that would be wrong, because the Islanders entire season was an example of how much a hot goalie can affect a team.

This summer Lamoriello handed out bad contracts to Brock Nelson, Anders Lee and Jordan Eberle.  Last summer he gave out even worse ones to Tomas Hickey and Leo Komarov.  He traded for Matt Martin!

The one good move he made was signing Lehner, and he inexplicably lost him this summer.

As Lou struggles, Kyle Dubas is absolutely killing it.

Dubas got Toronto out of a terrible cap jam (that Lou created) and all it really cost him was a low first round pick and a few players he wanted to get rid of anyways.

He addressed his biggest weakness by moving problem child Nazem Kadri for a right-handed all-star defenseman at half price, and one of the league’s preeminent defensive forwards.

Oh, and he signed franchise cornerstones William Nylander and Auston Matthews to deals that were team friendly before a year went by.

And he signed the biggest and best UFA in NHL history.  He was in fact the only NHL GM to acquire a #1 centre and 2 x #1 defenseman over the last calendar year.

Lamoriello presides over one of the worst rosters in the NHL, while Kyle Dubas presides over one of the best. 

The worst thing you can say about Dubas is that he incorrectly picked Garret Sparks over Curtis MacElhinney.  That said, anyone who ever exposes their #1 goalie prospect to waivers in favor of keeping a 33 year old career backup should be fired on the spot.

Sometimes you make the right moves and get the wrong result.  Just like how the Isanders fluked into a big year thanks to a bizarre run from a former mid-range goalie, and just like how the Bruins nearly won the Cup even though they only beat the Leafs because Dermott, Gardiner, and Hyman were injured, and Kadri was suspended.

What I’m saying is results aren’t always the best way to judge someone, especially in just one year.  From any rationale perspective, Kyle Dubas has done fantastic since taking over for Lamoriello.

Next. Leafs Top Prospects Ranked. dark

Dubas appears to be the best general manager in the NHL, and damned if he might not actually be a magician.

One thing is for sure: the Toronto Maple Leafs have no regrets.