Kyle Dubas has made his mark on the Toronto Maple Leafs this off-season

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) /

With the dust settling on yet another blockbuster trade, it’s clear to see that Kyle Dubas has made his mark on the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Toronto Maple Leafs knew they had something special on their hands when they brought Kyle Dubas in to be assistant general manager of the team back in 2014.

Dubas, who was also named GM of the Toronto Marlies, was the future of the team and was one of the ‘new wave’ of people relying on analytics when it came to building a team.

The other most prominent name attached to this ‘new wave’ is Arizona Coyotes GM John Chayka, who saw his team almost reach the playoffs despite huge adversity, with his most recent free agent signing being former Leafs winger Phil Kessel.

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Dubas, who turns 34 in November, has done a lot in his five years with the Maple Leafs organisation, but he has had just one full year to truly start to mould the team into his own image.

He did have a three-month spell as interim co-GM alongside Mark Hunter, during a time that saw the pair bring in the likes of Andreas Johnsson and Travis Dermott as well as secure the long-term future of the now-traded Nazem Kadri.

But Dubas was never the solo guy and his focus was largely placed with building the Marlies into a dominant development team for the Maple Leafs.

The Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario native has already helped the Leafs’ AHL affiliates to their first-ever Calder Cup championship, seeing Sheldon Keefe become one of the highest rated coaches in the minors in just a few short years.

Now that Dubas has stepped up to the NHL on a full-time, solo basis, the impact he has had on the team is clear to see.

After taking over from Lou Lamoriello, Dubas made a few changes to the team’s roster to start shaping things how he believes the team should look.

Dubas officially took charge of the Leafs on May 11th 2018, but it was six days later that he made his first signings in the role.

On May 17th, Dubas signed Pierre Engvall, Igor Ozhiganov, Par Lindholm and Jesper Lindgren all to Entry-Level deals.

12 days later and the young GM re-signed Kasimir Kaskisuo to compete for the Marlies’ starting role.

All of these initial deals were minor, with Dubas seemingly tip-toeing his way through the early days of his tenure in a job that was expected to be his from day one of the Lamoriello era.

Then Dubas makes a home-run swing and lands the biggest free agent signing in Toronto Maple Leafs history, bringing in John Tavares on a seven-year, $77 million deal.

Tavares followed up this huge contract with a 47-goal, 88-point season – the best single-season totals of his entire career.

Throughout the next season, Dubas made a number of smaller signings but the focus has always been on the big names already on the team.

While it dragged on too long, Dubas locked up William Nylander for less than what Kevin Hayes is now earning with the Philadelphia Flyers.

He then followed that up by extending superstar Auston Matthews for another five seasons, ensuring the team’s best young player remains with the team throughout the majority of his prime.

Adding Jake Muzzin was a nice positive as the Leafs’ defence has needed some serious work for a long time.

Jump forward to July 1st 2019.

Dubas has pulled off an enormous trade with the Ottawa Senators akin to the deal the club made that saw them offload Dion Phaneuf‘s monstrous contract a couple of years earlier.

In the deal, the Leafs managed to part ways with over $6 million splits between Connor Brown and Nikita Zaitsev, while receiving a pick, some minor players in Ben Harpur and Aaron Luchuk as well as the rights to RFA defenceman Cody Ceci.

If Ceci signs his qualifying offer, he will be on the books for one year at $4.3 million – the same as what he earned this past season with the Senators.

If the right-handed blueliner can regain his confidence and play a key role in the Leafs’ defensive corps, this trade will be viewed as a big win for Dubas.

But the spectacled gentleman in charge of turning the Leafs’ first-round playoff struggles around, was far from over with that trade.

Sending Kadri, a player that has been a part of the organization for ten years, to the Colorado Avalanche alongside Calle Rosen in exchange for a legitimate top-four right-handed defenceman in Tyson Barrie and a potential third line gem in Alex Kerfoot is a stroke of genius.

The Leafs instantly improve with this trade, giving Morgan Rielly a top quality partner while also potentially adding a 15-goal a season scorer in Kerfoot.

In just one year, Kyle Dubas has made his mark on the Toronto Maple Leafs roster, which now looks significantly different from the day Lou Lamoriello departed.

The Leafs now boast one of the best top-six forwards in the league, having experienced and promising depth on the third and fourth line while also seeing the defence overhauled in a significant way.

Hainsey will no longer be on the top pairing and Mike Babcock will have a host of new toys to play with this season.

If the Toronto Maple Leafs progress beyond the first round this season, it can largely be attributed to the work that has been done by general manager Kyle Dubas – who has been the driving force behind building this team.

No matter what, though, Dubas will watch this team play this season knowing deep down that his mark has been made.

Next. Leafs make big splash with Avalanche trade. dark

What do you think Leafs fans? How pleased are you with the moves that Dubas has made? How impressed with his most recent trades have you been? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!