Toronto Maple Leafs: Kyle Dubas Off-Season Will Become Legendary

Toronto Maple Leafs (Mandatory Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports)
Toronto Maple Leafs (Mandatory Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs are a team on the precipice of glory.

It’s been four seasons of growth, frustration, learning and defeat for the Toronto Maple Leafs.  Ever since drafting Auston Matthews in 2016, the team has been on an upward trajectory that they are now on the brink of realizing.

The young GM of the Leafs, Kyle Dubas, has the “radical” approach of making decisions based on measurements, and not producing a knee-jerk reaction to every single set-back. He should be congratulated for just having one of the best off-seasons in NHL history.

In Toronto, where the media routinely fires coaches and demands players be traded, Kyle Dubas approach has seemed crazy and he’s been met with just an absolutely ludicrous level or resistance, despite the fact that he’s ten times smarter than his critics.

Best Leafs Off-Season

In his time as GM, Dubas has corrected the mistakes of his predecessor (Babcock, Zaitsev, Marleau to name but a few) while constantly making his team better.

Dubas signed his young core, brought in the best UFA in NHL history, performed amazing salary cap histrionics and enters the 2021 NHL season with one of the best rosters in the NHL.

It’s not only one of the best rosters, it’s one of the deepest, and one with perhaps the most elite talent.  It’s the only team without a bad contract, and maybe the only team with three true franchise players.

(I mean, Mitch Marner, the  team’s 3rd best player was on pace for a second straight 94 point season last year despite supposedly having “an off year”).

The Toronto Maple Leafs are in this weird spot where expectations are jacked, frustrations are close to boiling over, and respect for the team, roster and outlook from around the league’s media seem to be low.

And yet – it’s a young team whose core has done nothing but gain experience, overcome adversity and get better.  None of their core players have peaked except Tavares, who remains a top ten centre in the NHL.

The Leafs lost nothing this off-season (no one will miss Barrie or Ceci, and Kapanen and Johnsson’s combined contribution to last season was lower than Pierre Engvall’s).  And yet they added – big time.

Starting with the Kapanen trade, and ending with the signing of Joe Thornton, what Dubas accomplished this summer was nothing short of amazing.

Joe Thornton is an NHL legend only one year removed from an elite season.

T.J Brodie is one of the NHL’s best and most steady defensemen.

Mikko Lehtonen is the best defenseman in the entire world not currently in the NHL.

Nick Robertson threatens to steal someone’s job and has elite upside, to say nothing of what Rasmus Sandin will eventually bring to the table. Or Alex Barabanov, Joey Anderson, Wayne Simmonds, Jimmy Vesey, and more.

Add in the fact that last year the team’s underlying numbers said they should have been among the best in the league and you can see a team that is primed for greatness.

Next. The 10 Best Individual Seasons of All-Time. dark

The Toronto Maple Leafs have never been in such a position. Dubas may be the most unfairly lambasted GM in sports history, and I honestly cannot wait until the actual results show this to be indisputable.