The Toronto Maple Leafs roster is once again stacked with talent thanks to their previous GM Kyle Dubas.
Brad Treliving is receiving a lot of love lately based on his construction of this Toronto Maple Leafs roster but if you truly look at it, Kyle Dubas’ previous moves are the reason why this team is set up for success.
Here’s how the roster is looking as we get ready for opening night (via: TSN’s Mark Masters) (Note this was written prior to last night’s game).
- Tyler Bertuzzi -Auston Matthews – Mitch Marner
- Max Domi – John Tavares – William Nylander
- Matthew Knies – Fraser Minten – Calle Jarnkrok
- Noah Gregor – David Kampf – Ryan Reaves
- Morgan Rielly – TJ Brodie
- Jake McCabe – John Klingberg
- Mark Giordano – Timothy Liljegren
- Ilya Samsonov
Before we speak about the whole team, let’s look at last season’s top-nine.
2022-23 Opening Night
- Michael Bunting- Auston Matthews- Mitch Marner
- William Nylander – John Tavares – Denis Malgin
- Pierre Engvall – Alex Kerfoot – Calle Jarnkrok
If you compare the Leafs 22-23 top-nine to this year’s opening night roster, it’s obviously way better this season, but in reality, it’s only better because of Dubas’ moves. Bertuzzi is a great addition, but him and Bunting are essentially the same player.
Bertuzzi’s career year came in the 2021-22 season when he scored 30 goals and 62 points, yet Bunting surpassed that with a 23 goal and 63 point campaign in the same year. Everyone talks about Bertuzzi’s sand-paper qualities, as he’ll play with an edge, but isn’t that exactly who Bunting was?
Even if Bertuzzi flies by his previous career-high’s with 30-plus goals and 70-plus points, wouldn’t you rather have a player like Bunting who can do all of the same things for $4M less?
Dubas Still Has Huge Imprint on Toronto Maple Leafs Roster
As for the rest of the top-nine, the biggest excitement is around Knies and Minten, who are both Dubas’ acquisitions. Dubas signed Knies as a college free agent and then drafted Minten, so it’s not like Treliving magically got them here, but instead, it was his predecessor who was building this roster.
Everyone knows that it takes a few years for a GM’s finger prints to have full control on the roster and at this point, it feels like this is finally the team that Dubas wanted to construct.
Sure, Max Domi is a nice addition on the second line, but couldn’t Nick Robertson have a similar output at $2M less than Domi, or Knies for that matter?
Essentially, every contract on the Leafs right now that is either overpaid or a worry, is Treliving’s doing. David Kampf, a fourth line centre (!!) makes $2.4M, and paired beside him is a 36-year-old enforcer who’s on a three-year deal at $1.35M annually.
Then, as we look at the defensive-core, five of the six starters are all Dubas’ players, yet the one guy who isn’t, is Klingberg, who Leafs fans are going to want to send out of town by November. At $4M, he may help the power-play, but he’s going to be a defensive liability and someone who will be talked about on every morning radio show in the city, not in a good way.
Lastly, the Leafs are running with the same starting goalie, who Dubas signed to a great deal last year and someone they continued to sign cheaply, thanks to his RFA and salary arbitration rights.
Thanks to Dubas’ foresight, the Leafs in arguably the best spot they’ve ever been to win a Stanley Cup and if he was once again the team’s GM, I’m sure he would’ve used the $11M spent on Bertuzzi, Domi, Kampf and Reaves much more wisely to help them even more.
Maybe he would’ve traded for a player like, I don’t know… Erik Karlsson.
If the Toronto Maple Leafs do the unimaginable and lift a Stanley Cup next June, the first person who should receive a ring is Dubas.