Another Kyle Dubas Find Paying Off For the Toronto Maple Leafs

Toronto Maple Leafs v Arizona Coyotes
Toronto Maple Leafs v Arizona Coyotes / Zac BonDurant/GettyImages

Bobby McMann's emergence is a compelling narrative, yet it should come as no surprise to the Toronto Maple Leafs organization.

Hailing from Alberta, McMann's trajectory was always aimed towards the NCAA, eschewing the WHL in favor of the AJHL (Alberta's Tier 1 Junior Hockey League).

Even as a rookie, he displayed a knack for finding the back of the net, with his goal tally steadily increasing each season, culminating in an impressive 36 goals in 47 games during his final season.

With aspirations set on the NCAA, McMann spent four seasons at Colgate University, earning a nomination for the prestigious Hobey Baker Award in his senior year. When reflecting on players who followed a similar path—four years in college, a Hobey Baker nomination, and initially lacking significant name recognition—one inevitably recalls Zach Hyman, a player well-known to Leafs fans.

Another Kyle Dubas Find Paying Off For the Toronto Maple Leafs

Hyman, like McMann, honed his skills in Ontario's Tier 1 Junior Hockey League before completing a four-year college stint. After a season with the AHL's Marlies, Hyman eventually transitioned into a proven 30-goal scorer in the NHL. While McMann may not replicate Hyman's trajectory entirely, it shouldn't be astonishing to witness his success with the Leafs; he simply needed an opportunity.

Breaking into the Leafs forward group is no easy feat. Despite scoring 24 goals in 61 games with the Marlies last season, McMann struggled to translate his game to the NHL level during a brief 10-game stint. Many, myself included, anticipated that his combination of size (6-foot-2, 210 pounds) and a potent shot would seamlessly integrate into the lineup, but initial attempts fell short.

However, in his 31 games with the Leafs this year, McMann has finally found his stride, thanks in part to the astute scouting of Kyle Dubas. With nine goals to his name, McMann serves as a cost-effective option capable of bolstering offensive production in the top-nine forward rotation. Dubas' emphasis on identifying and developing players with potential, particularly those on Entry Level Contracts, underscores McMann's value as a diamond in the rough.

While McMann's pending UFA status may result in a higher price tag next season, it remains imperative for the Leafs to cultivate prospects like him—players with immense upside who can contribute significantly while remaining financially prudent. As McMann continues to build confidence and capitalize on his scoring prowess, it's reasonable to expect him to maintain his goal-scoring form throughout the remainder of the season and beyond.


As usual, the Leafs should give a ton of credit to their former GM, Dubas, for originally signing this player and giving him a two-way contract with the Leafs.