Toronto Maple Leafs: Whatever Happened to Pavel Kubina?


Pavel Kubina was a key member of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ defence for three seasons

Pavel Kubina was one of those odd players on the Toronto Maple Leafs who played a major role on the team but never really got the respect or attention he deserved. His arrival and his departure went equally unnoticed.

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Although Kubina spent the majority of his career playing for the Tampa Bay Lightning (parts of ten seasons, 662 games in total), his offensive game reached a new level of consistency in Toronto. He would combine for 101 points (32 goals, 69 assists) and 258 PIM over three seasons (215 games) with the Leafs.

As a member of the Leafs, Kubina set career highs in points (40 points in 2007-2008 and 2008-2009), penalty minutes (116 in 2007-2008) and power play goals (nine in 2008-2009). These numbers were good enough for Kubina to lead the Leafs’ defence in points during the 2008-2009 campaign; he finished nine points ahead of fellow Czech Tomas Kaberle that season.

Feb 18, 2014; Sochi, RUSSIA; Czech Republic forward David Krejci (46) celebrates with defenseman Tomas Kaberle (7) after scoring a goal against Slovakia in a men’s ice hockey playoffs qualifications game during the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games at Shayba Arena. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Leafs signed Kubina as a free agent in 2006 on a four-year deal worth $20 million. However, he was traded by the team in 2009 to the Atlanta Thrashers for Garnet Exelby and Colin Stuart. Kubina rejoined the Lightning in 2010 as a free agent, signing a fresh two-year deal for $7.7 million, but he would actually end his NHL career as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers after the Lightning moved him around the 2012 trade deadline.

Kubina reached a degree of consistency in Toronto that always seemed to evade him elsewhere. He put up good numbers in his first stint with the Lightning and his brief appearance with the Thrashers, but his second term in Tampa Bay and his time with the Flyers weren’t very memorable.

After playing one season in the Swiss league, Kubina announced his retirement from professional hockey on December 20, 2013. It was another quiet departure for Kubina.

What are your thoughts on Kubina? Did he get the respect he deserved in Toronto? Is he overvalued? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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