If Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas was working in a different market, he would be considered a god for the works he’s done, but the fact that he’s doing it in Toronto makes him incredibly underappreciated.
Putting together a winning hockey team is very hard work, but Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas has done that everywhere he’s been.
From the Soo Greyhounds, Toronto Marlies and currently with the Leafs, Dubas has always constructed a good team.
Sure, he never won an OHL championship and hasn’t advanced in the First Round of the NHL playoffs, but he did win the Calder Cup. Dubas’ teams have always been competitive and it’s not his fault that they’ve choked away a few Game 7’s.
The Toronto Maple Leafs GM Is Incredibly Good At His Job
As crazy as it sounds, this may be the first true season as the architect of the Leafs. When Dubas took over in May, 2018 he was taking over a lot of the work done by Lou Lamoriello.
Dubas never hired Mike Babcock to be the head coach of the team and it felt pretty certain that relationship wasn’t going to last. Dubas had a strong connection with Sheldon Keefe that dated back to junior hockey, so it seemed evident that Keefe would eventually take over Babcock’s position, which is, in fact, what happened.
Since the 2019-20 year was cut short due to COVID and the Leafs had to play a random Best-of-5 play-in series, you could argue that season wasn’t a true reflection of his team. The same could be said about the 2020-21 campaign, as Toronto only played Canadian teams, in arenas without fans.
So although we’re still living in a pandemic, Toronto has (or at least, had) a full capacity crowd, they’re playing every team in the NHL and it’s an 82-game schedule. Not only that, but Sheldon Keefe was able to have a full training camp and the team is able to be shown their true identity.
With all of those factors happening, the Toronto Maple Leafs are a top-three team in the NHL and could very well win the President’s Trophy.
Dubas Offseason Signings Show His Greatness
What would you rather have? Zach Hyman at $5.5M for the next seven years or Michael Bunting, Ondrej Kase, David Kampf and Nick Ritchie for $6.2M for the next one-two years?
You could make the argument that if the Leafs only signed Bunting, it would have been a great offseason, as Bunting has the same amount of points (19 points) as Hyman this year.
But having four players for the price of one, is amazing.
Sure, Ritchie hasn’t panned out as hoped, but he fits in on the fourth line nicely. Meanwhile, Kampf has been an awesome shutdown third-line centre and Kase is turning back the clock, making an impact on the team’s first power-play unit.
By getting rid of one contract, the Leafs upgraded their team in four different areas. They could have easily re-signed Hyman, because he’s a fan-favorite and a 20-plus goal-scorer, but they did the smart thing and upgraded for way cheaper.
Dubas gets criticized for signing Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares and William Nylander all the time, but have you checked the stats? Matthews is the league’s best pure goal-scorer, Marner is a point-per-game talent, Tavares is bound for another 30-goal, 82 point season, while Nylander could score 35-plus goals this year.
Those are four of the most gifted offensively players in the NHL and the fact that they’ve locked them up for so many years is amazing.
When you have those type of players, you’re going to be able to continue to restock the cupboards with players who are looking to revitalize their careers or who were underappreciated elsewhere. Dubas has created that ability to get players to sign cheaper deals because it’ll help their career down the road, and they’ll have a chance to compete for a Stanley Cup if they play in Toronto.
Dubas is an amazing architect and should be appreciated for it. He’s built the best Leafs roster in 20 years and is giving this team a true chance at finally winning a championship.