The Toronto Maple Leafs Top 5 Mistakes of the Summer

Toronto Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan talks to the press during a press conference at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
Toronto Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan talks to the press during a press conference at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Toronto Maple Leafs
Former GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Kyle Dubas of the Pittsburgh Penguins attends the 2023 NHL Draft at the Bridgestone Arena on June 28, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs Worst Move of the Summer

You don’t give a guy five years of on-the-job training and then let him go to your competition for free.

Or, in this case, that’s exactly what you do.  But you shouldn’t.

The tenure of Kyle Dubas wasn’t perfect, but even when things worked out poorly (Alex Kerfoot for Nazem Kadri, the contracts handed out to the Big Four) you could at least look at the  process behind the moves and be happy with it.

Kadri was traded for a player who scored at a similar rate 5v5 and offered way better defense, who was young, more versatile, and cheaper.

No one could have foreseen Kadri’s big breakout.  And Kerfoot had a ton of upside he never really lived up to.  End of the day, you’d like to have that one back, but at least you can understand what the thinking was behind the move.

Compare that to blowing $11 million on four replacement players and the contrast between how well the team was run and how generically they’re run now is stark.

We already talked about the contracts, but its worth mentioning that despite those deals, the Leafs were a top three team over nearly 300 regular season games spanning four seasons, and that they were legit Cup Contenders each season.

Had Covid not frozen the salary cap, the Leafs would have been a top 3 team over 300 games with a ton of cap space.   The thought is cold comfort, but it does illustrate that the Kyle Dubas Era deserves a major * because of Covid.

I didn’t like all of Kyle Dubas’ moves, but what I did like was the fact that my favorite team recognized the obvious shortcomings of the classic/cliché NHL way of doing things and tried to be smarter.

How you should manage the salary cap isn’t up for debate – the math is quite clear – it’s how the Kyle Dubas did it.  You should avoid paying depth and role players, and you should try to only pay stars.

When you draft, you should draft for skill and intelligence – things you can’t teach.

When you make a trade, you should bet on youth and upside.  There are lots of things I don’t like about Dubas (I think he’s smug, I think he relies too heavily on people and plyers he already knows, I think he overthinks things sometime, I think he’s risk adverse, and under his direction the Leafs often blocked young players from having a chance to make the NHL).

I would have been fine if the Toronto Maple Leafs had of changed GMs, but what I hate is that they seem to have abandoned everything that made their team great over the last few years by going with a traditional “hockey guy.”

Next. Brad Treliving Squanders Gift from Kyle Dubas. dark

Kyle Dubas was about to be re-signed when Brendan Shanahan won a power-struggle for control of the Leafs. Subsequent days have shown that the wrong man won the struggle, and that the Leafs would have been so much better off under President and General Manager Kyle Dubas.