Toronto Maple Leafs: Kyle Dubas Rationalizes the Long Journey Ahead

DALLAS, TX - JUNE 22: General manager Kyle Dubas of the Toronto Maple Leafs looks on during the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center on June 22, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - JUNE 22: General manager Kyle Dubas of the Toronto Maple Leafs looks on during the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center on June 22, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Kyle Dubas and the Toronto Maple Leafs had a fairly quiet trade deadline day

The Toronto Maple Leafs had a much smaller impact on the trade market this season than many fans anticipated, and hopefully people will eventually come to realize it was for the best.

The Leafs were involved in three different trades on Monday, most notably sending goaltender Michael Hutchinson to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for former Toronto Marlies defenseman Calle Rosen, but to the surprise of many fans, no major moves were made.

It was reported multiple times that teams were checking in on Tyson Barrie’s value and given the Leafs current situation, Dubas felt obligated to listen. The obvious reason as to why majority of trades don’t follow through on deadline day, especially for the Leafs’ unique situation, is because the potential value that would be retained was not ideal. Lucky for Toronto, that was the case for Tyson Barrie.

While he hasn’t necessarily been a strong fit for what the Toronto Maple Leafs needed this season, Tyson Barrie is not the issue with this team. His ability to jump into the rush and control the play in the offensive zone has been immense for Toronto in the absence of Morgan Rielly, and  the high price tag that followed Barrie heading into this deadline was warranted.

The market for defensemen was definitely prominent yesterday, as Brady Skjei, Erik Gustafsson, and Sami Vatanen are all significant players who were all moved, but the main reason why Dubas was not willing to deal Barrie like these other players were is because the return on all of these deals was not made to immediately impact the respective teams in order to make a playoff push.

Sure, a lot could’ve been done, but other than the players mentioned there really wasn’t anyone in their cap constraints on the market who would have immediately impacted this Maple Leafs team, to the point where it was worth trading a significant asset away.

Kyle Dubas Press Conference

Kyle Dubas spoke to the media following Monday’s afternoon skate and spoke very bluntly about the current state of the team, which was something the fans can and should appreciate from their General Manager.

"“Just call it what it is, I think there’s no reason to dance around it, in here. Everyone watches the team and is around the team every day. We’re in the lower part of the league when we made the coaching change. Then we had a great run in the beginning of January, since then we’ve been uneven.”"

Kyle Dubas shouldn’t be immune to criticism, but I admire the fact that he is clearly aware of how his team has performed thus far, and knows that a lot of the repercussions directed at him following a season where they could potentially miss the playoffs are warranted.

Dubas continued to express his honest uncertainty with what the remainder of this season holds for the Maple Leafs, but was confident in the core group they have pieced together regardless of how this year plays out.

"“It isn’t going to be easy and it isn’t going to be over night. Where we’ve put ourselves into a position that I don’t think we want to be in, which is battling for our lives. But I’ve said this before and I’ll continue to say it, because it is true regardless of how it all plays out this season and moving forward and how it impacts me and the team and everything like that: our group that we have here has to go through this. We have to develop the ability to weather the storm when it comes and to thrive going through it. That’s the only way we’re going to be at our best.”"

This season has been an emotional rollercoaster for both the fans and the organization, and when you have some one of the most talented young groups of players in the NHL, coupled with being in a hockey market like Toronto, high expectations are bound to follow.

But that’s exactly what this team is: young.

Three of their top four forwards are under the age of 24, and two of their defensemen are rookies. While some of these players are among the highest paid in the NHL, the pressure for immediate success in this market allows for little patience.

As confident as I am that the Toronto Maple Leafs will be able to bounce back in this final stretch of the season and make the Stanley Cup Playoffs, this was never a piece I thought I’d have to be writing this season. The reality is that the Leafs are a team fighting for their lives right now, and everyone needs to accept that there is a strong possibility they don’t make it to the postseason.

Next. Jeff's Hot Freddie Andersen Take. dark

Some things are worth waiting for, and if anyone knows that best, it’s Leafs fans. This team has a massive window for remaining competitive in this league, and it’s only a matter of time before they show what they are capable of.