Another trade deadline has come and gone for the Toronto Maple Leafs, almost like a season of the year- the trade season.
The Toronto Maple Leafs find themselves right in the thick of a playoff race, dealing with a number of injuries, but did not make any significant trades.
The trade rumours ran rampant about the Leafs trading Tyson Barrie, but alas, no trade was made before the deadline.
Other than a couple of minor moves, the Leafs didn’t do anything at the deadline.
Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas
Dubas held back on paying a high price for a top pairing right handed defenseman. It was reported that Dubas looked at Mathew Dumba from the Wild, but Guerin wanted Nylander in return. (Ridiculous).
This season has certainly tested all Leafs Nation’s faith in their team. The Leafs have gone through trials and tribulations galore, dealing with; injuries, contract negotiations, trades, coach firings. Suffice to say, Toronto has been through a ringer of highs and lows this season.
Unfortunately, Leafs Nation NEEDS a whipping boy to focus on, whether it be William Nylander, Jake Gardiner or Kyle Dubas. Sometimes, this criticism comes with cause- Several players are being paid millions upon millions of dollars and are not playing well enough on a consistent basis.
What Dubas said in his deadline day press conference, was that injuries and performance by the team is what impacted the lack of moves. Rielly comes back in March, Mikheyev comes back for the start of the postseason, which will have an impact on the salary cap. Had Rielly been out till the playoffs, Toronto more than likely would have acquired another top pairing defenseman.
Toronto could have used a top pairing defenseman regardless of cap or injuries, but didn’t get one. Not getting one is fine, in a sense that the good defensemen are expensive. Dubas probably didn’t want to take away from the Leafs high-scoring identity, in order to shore up a need.
Dubas not getting a significant piece at the deadline means that the onus is all on the players to perform NOW. If they don’t turn around their performance, they will be watching the postseason from the sidelines. If Toronto fails to qualify for the playoffs, there could be big changes being made to the roster.
Now comes the tough question to answer, did Kyle Dubas fail the deadline test?
I’ve laid out all of the Leafs events this season. Toronto certainly warrants criticism, as previously stated, but Dubas in fact did not fail the deadline test. I give Dubas full credit for staying “big picture” with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
In a media hotbed, it isn’t easy to stay focused and block out all of the outside noise. Dubas has his own agenda to adhere to and he’s stuck to it. Toronto has the core in place, with several impressive prospects still developing in the system.
Slow and steady wins the race, it may suck now, but all the pain Toronto has gone through and will go through, will be worth it if they win eventually.
The worst thing any GM can do, is to overspend future assets on mediocre assets that won’t end up helping the team win. Dubas could have made things worse long-term, trying to improve a team that isn’t quite good enough to make that cup run yet. Stay patient Leafs Nation, our time will come.