The Toronto Maple Leafs have acquired yet another player with connections to Kyle Dubas former junior hockey team.
Every since Kyle Dubas took over the job of Toronto Maple Leafs general manager, he has brought in many players and associates that he knew well from his days in the Soo.
When Soo Greyhounds alumni Ron Francis landed the coveted first G.M. of the Seattle Kraken, Kyle Dubas must have been all smiles. You see, in 2015 as co-interim G.M. before Lou took a hold, Kyle attended his first league-wide G.M. meeting, and in retrospect said this:
“I was scared %^%&&# when I walked into Vegas. That was one of the most nervous times I’ve ever had in my life. [Fortunately] I’ve known [Ron] Francis my whole life, so he was, like, the only person I felt I could talk to.
Toronto Maple Leafs and the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Dubas was born and raised in the Soo, and his and his families connections to the Soo Greyhounds run deep. His father interned with the team and his grandfather coached the team from 1960 to 1967. As for Kyle himself, he spent his youth in various roles with the team culminating as the team’s general manager from 2011 to 2014.
In one of the first moves made by Dubas as G.M. of the Marlies was hiring Sheldon Keefe to head coach the affiliate as former Head Coach of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds from 2012 to 2015.
In 2019 as G.M. of the Leafs, Dubas promoted Keefe to coach the big club.
Beyond major titles, there’s a list of other Leafs and Marlies staff who have also plied their trade in the Soo:
- Chris Roque – Amateur Scout (Leafs)
- Victor Carneiro – Amateur Scout (Leafs)
- Richard Rotenberg – Director of High Performance (Leafs)
- Wes Clark – Assistant Director of Player Personnel (Leafs)
- A.J. MacLean – Assistant Coach (Marlies)
- Coach Jon Elkin -Goaltending (Marlies)
In Kyle’s first draft as G.M. of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2018, Rasmus Sandin (#29) was Dubas’ first pick. Four slots later, Mac Hollowell was selected.
Since then, no Soo Greyhound has been drafted by Dubas, but that hasn’t stopped him from loading up on Soo Greyhounds alumni through other means. In his first major trade with the Leafs in 2019, Dubas picked up Jake Muzzin.
Then in 2020, he grabbed Jack Campbell.
For the 2020-21 season, Wayne Simmonds and Joe Thornton both came aboard.
Other Soo Greyhounds Alumni Playing in the NHL
It’s hard to imagine Dubas ever deviating, so here is a list of Soo Greyhounds alumni playing in the NHL that could be in the Leafs fixture sometime in the near future:
- Matt Murray (Senators)
- Tony DeAngelo (Rangers)
- Nick Cousins (Predators)
- Jeff Carter (Penguins)
- Darnell Nurse (Oilers)
- Conor Timmins (Avalanche)
- Robin Lehner (Golden Knights)
- Colin Miller (Sabres)
- Barrett Hayton (Coyotes)
- Nick Ritchie (Bruins)
- Michael Bunting (Coyotes)
If the Leafs are going to wheel and deal with any of these teams, you can be sure Dubas is going to consider picking up one of his own.
Besides the special relationship Dubas has with Ron Francis, a similar theme runs deep with the Leafs. Already Dubas and Keefe lead the way with five fellow Soo Greyhounds alumni in tow, but one has to wonder if there’s more in store.