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Final Grades for Kyle Dubas’ Job with the Maple Leafs

Kyle Dubas had an up-and-down leadership ride with the Toronto Maple Leafs. What would his grades have been for what he did?

The recent announcement of Kyle Dubas becoming the President of Hockey Operations for the Pittsburgh Penguins has reignited discussions about his tenure with the Toronto Maple Leafs. As fans and analysts reflect on his time in Toronto, it is essential to examine his accomplishments, challenges, and the overall impact he had on the organization.

Let’s delve into the evaluation of Kyle Dubas’ job as the Maple Leafs’ general manager.

Related: Penguins Hiring Dubas Answers Questions for Maple Leafs

Dubas’ Positives with the Maple Leafs

Positive One: Building a Competitive Team

One of Dubas’ significant achievements was constructing a competitive team in Toronto. The Maple Leafs boasted a talented roster with elite young players like Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and William Nylander.

Auston Matthews Mitch Marner Maple Leafs
Auston Matthews Mitch Marner Maple Leafs

Dubas played a crucial role in assembling and nurturing this talented group, which led to the team’s consistent success in the regular season. He also learned how to better add the pieces around the team’s core. Despite playoff disappointments, his contributions helped to create a strong foundation for the team. This team was always going to make the postseason.

Grade A-

Positive Two: Balancing Analytics and Intuition

Dubas was known for his willingness to integrate analytics into the team’s decision-making process. By combining statistical analysis with traditional scouting, he helped maximize player performance and optimize his coach’s ability to employ team strategy.

That said, there were times when the team’s reliance on analytics might have led to roster construction errors. Sometimes his players were too small and their skills didn’t show up. However, overall he struck a balance between analytics and intuition. He didn’t overuse player contributions and ensured a holistic team-building approach.

Grade B+

Positive Three: Collaboration and Leadership

Dubas fostered a collaborative and inclusive culture within the organization. He valued input from his team. As a result, he was especially appreciated by his colleagues, his coaches, and his scouting staff.

Dubas created an environment where different perspectives were sought and respected. While some decisions might have been collective failures, it is crucial to acknowledge that his leadership involved seeking teamwork and collective insight. That helped navigate the complex landscape of opinions and strategies. His team won and/or lost together.

Grade A

Related: Maple Leafs Fans, Don’t Expect Auston Matthews to Sign on July 1

Negatives

Negative One: Salary Cap Management

One area where Dubas faced criticism was his handling of the salary cap. Because he was not a strong salary negotiator, the Maple Leafs regularly faced challenges in managing their salary-cap space. His willingness to pay his Core Four well led to expensive long-term contracts. This limited flexibility in adding depth and addressing team needs.

To his credit, Dubas always seemed to figure out ways to keep things successful by finding solid depth pieces to build around the core. However, improving salary cap management was an issue in Toronto. Likely, it will be a priority for Dubas with the Penguins. He’s probably learned lessons from his early decisions in Toronto.

Grade B

Negative Two: Areas That Needed Improvement

Dubas also faced criticism for not addressing his team’s weaknesses adequately. Perhaps the key area was in goaltending and his team’s depth scoring. Two seasons ago, he bet a bunch on Petr Mrazek. That didn’t pan out and Mrazek had to be moved before the 2022-23 season. This past offseason, he traded for Matt Murray. Murray will likely be moved this off-season.

Matt Murray Maple Leafs injury news

These areas proved to be significant problems for the Maple Leafs when they were working to achieve playoff success.

One thing Dubas was good at was finding hidden gems. Going forward, Dubas needs to focus more on identifying those gems that others miss. This is a way to maximize the Penguins’ strength by addressing these critical areas.

Grade B-

The Bottom Line

Dubas’ tenure as the Maple Leafs GM was marked by both successes and challenges. He helped build a talented and solid roster. He also fostered an inclusive culture and built collaborative leadership.

However, his teams often had areas that required improvement. Two such areas were salary-cap management and addressing specific team needs.

As Dubas takes on the role of President of Hockey Operations in Pittsburgh, he’ll have an opportunity to apply the lessons he’s learned from his time in Toronto.

I know I will be watching him closely to see how he navigates the challenges he faces as the Penguins work toward success moving forward. One thing I will miss is the regular surprises that Dubas created. He was often – to my way of thinking – outside of the box.

Related: What Maple Leafs’ Hiring of Brad Treliving Tells Fans

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Yogi

    June 1, 2023 at 11:58 pm

    Another hack job, gives Dubas A- building a competitive team Matthews Nylander and Marner were handed to him on a silver plater along with tons of cap space. First thing the clown does is sign Tavarez to a 7 year 77 million contract. While Tavarez is a great player the ripple effect from the signing pretty much doomed the team. The grade should be an F. Hack hack hack

    • afp1961

      June 2, 2023 at 6:20 am

      Jim c’mon…….
      1: Giving out three deals to AM, MM, WN that all have some level of convergence effective July 1/23 = F
      2: Not getting max 8 years from both AM & MM = F
      3: Never properly addressing the goaltending = F
      4: Imbalanced roster creation with Core 4 totally 50% of cap = D
      5: Hiring a rookie coach for the biggest NHL Team = F (has been outcoached 4 yrs in a row)
      6: Drafting smurfs = F
      7: Trading Kadri for Kerfoot = F
      8: Trading Marchment for Malgin = F
      9: Amirov over Schneider = F
      10: Signing Thornton, Foligno = D

      Positives:
      1: Building the most costly, bloated back office in any pro sport = D
      2: Finding Bunting = B+
      3: Finding Hyman = B+
      4: Community Builder = A
      5: Making Toronot a player friendly destination = B+
      6: Media Darling = A
      7: Muzzin trade (at the time) = B
      8: Campbell trade (at that time) = C+
      9: Building the Calder Cup winning Marlies (with essentially an over the hill NHL Team) = B
      10: Deals for Schenn, Giordano, ROR, Acciari = B

      • Yogi

        June 2, 2023 at 7:36 am

        You`re giving Dubas too much credit he didn`t find Bunting and Hyman, both players let it be known that Toronto was their preferred destination so even scooby-do could connect the dots there. Don`t forget Verhaeghe, Dubas was the one responsible for sending him to the Islanders. Kyles mom sure does give him high praise

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