May 4, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Debris and thunder sticks strewn about the empty seats after fans left the arena following the Toronto Raptors loss to the Brooklyn Nets in game seven of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Air Canada Centre. The Nets beat the Raptors 104-103. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Dubas Fills Statistics Void on the Toronto Maple Leafs

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Tuesday was a pretty busy day for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

First, they announced the hiring of Kyle Dubas as the team’s new assistant general manager. The 28-year-old executive is known for his use of statistical analysis to back key hockey decisions, which should appease the advanced stats crowd.

This is one area where the Leafs have been slow to act, preferring old school gut impressions over quantitative assessments in their personnel choices. The results of this reluctance can be see in the Leafs’ horrible defensive zone play and inconsistent special teams play last season. Fortunately, this is about to change.

Jun 27, 2013; New York, NY, USA; NHL vice president of hockey and business development and director of player safety Brendan Shanahan arrives at the Westin Hotel for the NHL Board of Governors meeting. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

At the same time, the team announced the firing of Claude Loiselle, who vacates the assistant general manager position for Dubas, and Dave Poulin, who served as the team’s vice-president of hockey operations since 2009.

The moves were spearheaded by team president and hockey legend Brendan Shanahan, raising immediate questions about general manager Dave Nonis’ and head coach Randy Carlyle‘s future with the team. Shanahan tried to downplay these questions with limited success.

Loiselle and Poulin were both hired by former team president and general manager Brian Burke. This leaves Nonis and Carlyle as the two remaining senior figures from the Burke era – an era known for its emotional management style.

For his part, Dubas’ excited to join the Leafs.

“I was enthused with my talking to Brendan, then even more enthused with my discussions with Dave and where he sees the game going and the game evolving,” Dubas told reporters after the announcement. “That, to me, was one of the more exciting parts of the entire process: knowing that I’d be able to come in and be heard and help out as much as possible.”

Shanahan shared this view, noting Dubas’ presence will help improve the team moving forward:

“Kyle is a young executive that has made a strong name for himself in hockey with a progressive style, worth ethic and maturation beyond his years. He has a fresh approach that we feel will benefit our club for years to come.”

Although young, Dubas is already credited for helping to turn around the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in four short seasons.

Who knows what year the Leafs’ perennial turnaround finds itself in now, but if Dubas can help us finally get there, let me be the first to welcome him aboard!

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