Why Kyle Dubas’ Patient Stance is Positive for Leafs Long-Term

Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Kyle Dubas Smiling While Talking to the Media
Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Kyle Dubas Smiling While Talking to the Media Photo Credit: NBC Sports Chicago

When it comes to the NHL’s Trade Deadline, staying patient is usually an advantage for General Managers. On top of that, especially the ones from a buyer’s perspective. Being early on the scene and paying initial asking prices could lead to trouble. However, if you remain too comfortable, it could do the opposite. 

Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Kyle Dubas hasn’t kept his patient stance a secret. Some are upset with that, but I’m on the opposite side. When dealing with a contending team, fans often want the biggest name on the market. Rightly so, to put their team a step above the rest. I’d be all for the addition of Sharks forward Timo Meier, Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun or even Red Wings center Dylan Larkin. However, being realistic, those moves would take a significant asking price to make happen. 

It’s not quite what the asking price would be that scares me. I’m a big believer in contending teams going for it and making moves to bolster their chances. However, there’s so much more that goes into building a Stanley Cup championship team rather than just the names on paper. I mean, I thought firsthand this fan base would understand it’s not always about adding the biggest and most appealing piece on the block. It’s the little things that push teams above the line. Look at the more recent cup winners; the flurries of moves to round out the roster seem to be the common formula of success.

Often when thinking about this Maple Leafs team, I wonder just how much we all take this team for granted. Usually, when teams make these major additions, it’s to fill some sort of glaring hole. Now look at what Kyle Dubas has assembled here, a Maple Leafs team that’s won thirty-one of the team’s first fifty-two games and sits second in the Atlantic Division with seventy points. It’s clear that this group is good and that they are right there with the best. The group is also fourth in the league-wide standings, just behind the Bruins, Hurricanes, and Devils. Now the reason I’m bringing this up is, what exactly is the current hole on this Leafs roster?

Some may say it’s the defense, but what is that analysis based on? I mean, for sure, the loss of Jake Muzzin hurts; Rielly’s inconsistencies and the flurry of other injuries are also taken into consideration. However, this might not be everyone’s favorite opinion, but the Leafs defense isn’t the gaping hole many believe it to be. The Maple Leafs have one of the deepest blue lines in hockey, especially after the addition of Conor Timmins. Is the group perfect? No way, but let’s not act like there’s a clear-cut problem. Even the fanbase’s favorite player to harp on has played decently well for a good stretch now. Per the Athletic, Justin Holl is playing at almost a $4,000,000 value this year. As for who I’d want? It doesn’t matter; give me a cheaper option on the back end that brings mobility and can separate the body from the puck.

Now if you don’t think the Leafs need a defenseman, there’s also a section of the fanbase who views the top-six as an issue. Mainly the second-line left-wing spot next to John Tavares. From my analysis this season, I would like to add offense to this group, but it doesn’t have to be a top-six piece. My goal for the Leafs would be to get deeper, and secondary scoring is something I’ve been pushing for a long time now. If you look at the recent cup winners again, it’s that secondary scoring they get on top of the strong performances from their stars that push them to the top. Adding a bigger name winger, like Tyler Bertuzzi, would make sense to me because you’re not only getting deeper, but it likely won’t cost near what a Timo Meier acquisition would. 

When discussing trade options, team chemistry and morale often go completely out the window. Why take such a gamble on a product you already know is successful? This team is good, and I will admit they need help to put them above the competition. However, I don’t see a need so big that it would take a significant addition to fill. To me, if you want to win the deadline and actually make a deep run. It’s not subtracting the depth, chemistry, and vibe around the group. It’s simply just adding to it. Give me the fringe pieces to round out the group and the tinkering moves to make this really good hockey team great. 

I’m all for this patient stance from Kyle because you need to know what you have. Given the Maple Leafs ridiculous man’s games lost to injury numbers this year, it resulted in a lot of call-ups and fill-ins. However, it may seem good at first, but it also doesn’t help management know what they fully have when healthy. This is why Kyle is taking a patient stance to see what truly needs fixing in this group and what is the right move. On top of that, the asking prices will surely begin to drop.

Thanks for reading! For more hockey coverage, follow me on Twitter @ITR_Anselmo

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Joshua Anselmo

A hockey mind that's always looking at new and insightful ways to bring different perspectives of the game we all love.

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