Toronto Maple Leafs: Kyle Dubas bets on his Marlies in final roster cuts

Kyle Dubas of the Toronto Maple Leafs attends the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center on June 23, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Kyle Dubas of the Toronto Maple Leafs attends the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center on June 23, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Looking at the final roster cuts for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Kyle Dubas clearly got his way with some of the players who made the team.

The one question many wondered when Kyle Dubas was named the general manager of the  Toronto Maple Leafs is how he and Mike Babcock would work together when it came down to roster decisions.

Well when the team announced the final cuts, it is easy to say that there was some compromise between the GM and the head coach but it is also clear that Dubas ensured that “his guys” are getting their shot. Six players from the Toronto Marlies Calder Cup team made the Leafs with some beating out NHL veterans during training camp.

Now some of the players who made the team didn’t just make the team because they were a part of the Marlies but Babcock made it clear that did factor into the final decision.

"“The GM with them every day is the GM here,” the head coach told reporters when asked about the Marlies players on the team."

Dubas has not commented on the final roster decisions but that probably had more to do with the work the Leafs GM was doing to finish off the Connor Carrick trade and deal with other team business. It will be interesting to see what he has to say about the past couple of days and what else could be coming in the next couple of days with everyone waiting for William Nylander to sign.

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It seemed like a given that Justin Holl would get a major boost by having Dubas making the final roster decisions since he did not have the best audition during the pre-season. Luckily for him. his play in the AHL last season gave his GM confidence in keeping him around.

Carrick seemed like another player destined to get more playing time but it became clear that the emergence of Igor Ozhiganov made the decision easier for Dubas. It also didn’t help that Babcock prefers to have defencemen with size something Ozhiganov and Holl had over the Carrick even though the 24-year-old is no slouch in the gym.

Unfortunately, he didn’t do enough to justify getting in the lineup on a regular basis based on how he was talking near the end of camp and how Babcock relegated him to the AHL group.

Where Dubas probably probably had the biggest input was the backup job and to hear Babcock speak about the decision to go with Garret Sparks over Curtis McElhinney seems to against how the head coach operates when it comes to his veterans.

"“All the decisions were hard for us,” Babcock told Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star. “In McElhinney’s case, he was unbelievable for us. An unbelievable man, great veteran, got a family — all these things go into it.“On the other side, Sparks has been in the organization for a long time and built himself a history. His camp isn’t what got it done. It was the history, and knowing the guy and understanding you’ve got a long way to go. But a 25-year-old guy going in the right direction has a chance to get there.”"

The decision to have Sparks on the team might have been influenced by Dubas but him staying on the team will be determined by how he performs. Seeing how Babcock operates, he won’t tolerate a subpar performance from his backup and if McElhinney doesn’t get claimed, he will be back at the first sign of trouble from Sparks.

One thing about having the younger Sparks around is it potentially lightens the load for Frederik Andersen by giving him more days off. McElhinney probably could’ve made more starts but you wonder what his limit is and in case of an injury (knock on wood) Sparks would probably be the better option to handle the workload.

Now, these Marlies will need to show why they are worthy of the faith Dubas put into them and show Babcock that they can handle the move to the NHL.

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What did you think about the decision to move Carrick? Did the Leafs make the right move going with Sparks over McElhinney? Let us know in the comments below.