Toronto Maple Leafs: Kyle Dubas has a lot to ponder with final roster decisions

General manager Kyle Dubas of the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
General manager Kyle Dubas of the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

There are still many question marks heading into the season for the Toronto Maple Leafs with the team needing to make their final roster cuts.

When the Toronto Maple Leafs trimmed their roster down to 26 players, it didn’t come as a big surprise to see who didn’t make the cut. The real intrigue will come when the team announces the 23-man roster for opening night.

There are many factors that will determine how the final decisions are made with William Nylander‘s contract situation being one of the main. Then there are the obvious decisions involving the blueline and who will be the backup goalie.

After making the team right out of camp last season both Calle Rosen and Andreas Borgman were sent down to the Toronto Marlies leaving nine defencemen left on the roster. Since all three of Martin Marincin, Connor Carrick and Justin Holl (who expected to be the extras) need to clear waivers in order to be sent down to the AHL expect two of them to be kept with the team for the time being.

The best bet would be having Carrick and Holl make the team since they would be more likely to get claimed on waivers than Marincin. Carrick is reportedly on the trade market so if he clears it would be easier to move him or does Kyle Dubas try to find a trade partner before then? At this point, it seems unlikely unless a team has a need for a bottom pairing right-handed defenceman.

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Upfront the decisions are not as difficult to make mainly because the team would only need to send one player down in order to make room for Nylander. Frederik Gauthier would need to clear waivers in order to be sent down and there’s a good chance he would clear given his lack of success at this point.

Where it gets interesting obviously is between the pipes considering the amount of attention that has been put on the battle between Curtis McElhinney and Garret Sparks, with Calvin Pickard not getting consideration for the backup job.

McElhinney seems to have the edge given his experience and performance in pre-season but there is the case to be made about his age and whether he can take on an increased workload.

Obviously, this is more of an issue for Dubas than it is for Mike Babcock since the Leafs GM has to make the final call on the roster while the coach’s priority is on the players playing in the season opener against the Montreal Canadiens.

Dubas would have a valid reason to go with the younger goalie in Sparks and take the chance of putting McElhinney on waivers. It might not seem like a major issue but when you consider how important backup goalies are, it can’t be overlooked.

This will continue to be a highly debated issue even when the final decision is made but Leafs fans should be fortunate that these are the issues being discussed.

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What is your take on the final roster decisions for the Leafs? Are there any major concerns or is there nothing to worry about? Let us know in the comments below.