The Toronto Maple Leafs had the worst summer in their modern history.
They fired their should-be beloved GM – Kyle Dubas, hockey’s version of Alex Anthopoulos – and their new GM proceeded to waste $20 million four more or less useless players (shout out to hockey’s resident brainiac, Tyler Bertuzzi who was the only worthwhile signing of the summer).
It was a complete betrayal of the message they sold to fans about process over results for the last half-decade, and it was just generally a shame that the Leafs punted on the one good GM they’ve ever had.
Regardless, that’s life and the Leafs are back to being run by one of the 200 Hockey Guys and being managed at the whims of magical thinking and caring too much about plus/minus and faceoffs.
But with the Leafs set to play the Penguins tonight (without Joseph Woll and coming off one of their worst games ever, despite somehow getting a point for trying hard while a short-handed Columbus team gave up) it seemed worth checking in on how Dubas is doing with his new team.
How the Ex Toronto Maple Leafs GM Is Doing in Pittsburgh
While a lot of bad-faith arguers want to rip the Leafs former GM for how the Penguins are playing this year, that’s pretty dumb, even by hockey’s low standards for discourse.
The Penguins are chockfull of hall of famers to-be, and there is no point in doing anything but trying to win now with what they have. Sidney Crosby deserves no less.
So, Dubas brought in the NHL’s best available player over the summer, and he’s been unreal. Unfortunately, he should be playing on the Leafs, but what can you do?
The Penguins are destroying the opposition while Karlson is on the ice, and if not for Cale Makar, he’d probably be on his way to another Norris Trophy.
Unfortunately his point totals are extremely depressed by the Penguins terrible power-play, which is also the reason why they are currently out of a playoff spot.
The Penguins are a top 10 5v5 team, and they should have an elite power-play but have been unlucky. They are four points out of a playoff spot with a game-in-hand,and their power-play will rebound, so they should be fine.
Dubas has done a great job, despite what a minority of loud people are saying – it’s basically impossible to believe anyone could be critical of the Karlsson trade when Malkin and Crosby have, at best, two or three years left to try for one more win.
Tonight’s game is a lot more exciting than having to play Nashville on a Saturday, and while Dubas probably won’t get the reception he deserves (a standing ovation) history will remember him as one of the Toronto Maple Leafs best ever GMs.
I had to write this before the starting goalies and lineups have been announced, but you can expect the Leafs to once again dress one of the worse blue-lines a contending team has ever iced, and I wouldn’t bet against Martin Jones finally getting a shot in net.