Toronto Maple Leafs: Another Young Defenseman Headed for Exit Door

Oct 4, 2021; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Joesph Duszak (54) sets up an attack in the second period against the Ottawa Senators n the second period at the Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 4, 2021; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Joesph Duszak (54) sets up an attack in the second period against the Ottawa Senators n the second period at the Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Toronto Maple Leafs stand to lose another young defenseman, despite his remarkable point-scoring rate for the Marlies this season.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have developed a solid NHL prospect, but likely have no where for him to play.

Unfortunately for Joseph Duszak, he now finds himself stuck in quite a queue of defensemen despite being an elusive right-sided blueliner.

As a 24 year-old that hasn’t yet managed to make it to the NHL, you would have to think that he will head for the exit if things don’t go his way this summer.

Toronto Maple Leafs Set to Lose Another Defenseman

With Travis Dermott departing for the Vancouver Canucks at the trade deadline, losing Joseph Duszak would be just the latest Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman to depart due to limited opportunities.

This season, even with his near point-per-game AHL pace, he hasn’t been the first-up to the Leafs when they are suffering from injuries among their defensemen. The likes of Kristian Rubins and Carl Dahlstrom have been called up ahead of Duszak.

When you factor in that Rasmus Sandin is injured presently and Justin Holl is the nominal seventh man as a result, that places him about 11th in the pecking order.

In fact, it was mentioned a few weeks back in 32 Thoughts:

"He’s not someone I know real well, but AHL Toronto defenceman Joseph Duszak is looking for a new start. He’s got 37 points (32 of them assists) in 37 games. – Elliotte Friedman"

The Toronto Maple Leafs have plenty of offensive talent on their defense, with the likes of Morgan Rielly, Ramsus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren. Fitting another would likely skew any semblance of balance that exists as it is.

In fact, it’s fair to suggest that couple with a need to clear some cap space, that’s the reason Kyle Dubas sent Dermott to Vancouver.

Thankfully for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Joseph Duszak is a restricted free agent this summer, so there’s every chance they can reap some sort of reward as a result of trading his signing rights.

Kyle Dubas certainly has shown multiple times in the past that he’s willing to let players move on if he can’t offer the right opportunities. Jospeh Duszak could very well join a list including Travis Dermott and Josh Leivo,  both of whom went to Vancouver.

With the Toronto Maple Leafs, there’s a chance that he never lifts himself beyond the third pairing. With a lesser NHL team, his offensive talents could see him as a possible second-unit powerplay option and maybe even establishes himself in their top four.

In all fairness to the player, Kyle Dubas should absolutely allow him to move on this summer.

He has plenty of decent alternative options on the Toronto Marlies roster, several of which he has also shown willingness to give the nod ahead of Duszak.

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Whether it plays out to be a big loss for the team is anyone’s guess. Sean Durzi is starting to seem like a bit of a loss after all; he was probably the last non-NHL defenseman traded away.