by S. Ferguson
Trades of the Kyle Dubas Era
The Boston Bruins were the best team in the NHL regular season. They lost to Florida in the playoffs in 7 games. The Leafs lost to Florida in 5 games and fired General Manager Kyle Dubas. The Carolina Hurricanes lost to Florida in 4 games so I think we can only assume what happens next?
Ok so who knows what will happen in Carolina, what I can say is there is still a lot of examination of what happened in Toronto, and a lot of analysis of the Kyle Dubas era.
Dubas will be remembered for some big moves like signing John Tavares, and for spotting the potential in players like Matthew Knies, Michael Bunting, and others. He never did truly solve the goaltending and defence issues he inherited, and maybe he couldn’t with so much money tied up in forwards.
But draft picks and signings aside, GM’s are often judged on their trades. And this is where things get a little murky. Bottom line, there weren’t enough moments like this one…
Sadly, I could only come up with one absolutely unequivocal trade win for Kyle Dubas. And you might think unloading Nick Ritchie and Nikita Zaitsev were great moves, and perhaps they were in the salary cap era, but I’m talking about adding great players that will surpass what you have given up.
I think this will go down as his best trade. Curtis Douglas to Arizona for Conor Timmins. What I saw from Timmins down the stretch is a defenceman of the future. Hopefully that’s the case.
Other strong contenders:
I loved this most of this year’s deadline deals. Luke Schenn for a 3rd rounder will probably go down well. But only if we re-sign him as he is now a free agent.
Jake McCabe and Sam Lafferty will at least be with us for next season, and both are solid additions, but it’s hard to judge against the first and second round future picks we gave up.
Ryan O’Reilly and Noel Acciari were great additions, but both are now free agents so it’s not clear if either of them will be with us next year, and we gave up a first and second in that deal too.
Short-term Gain, Long-term Pain:
A lot of people liked the trade that brought Mark Giordano and Colin Blackwell here from Seattle. I agree Giordano has been great to have on the team. But we gave up 3 second round picks. And frankly I’m already terrified about the goalie Seattle chose with our first one. Niklas Kokko is a 19 year-old goalie and was apparently incredible for Team Finland at the under-19 world championships. Seattle just signed him a couple weeks ago. Wouldn’t you rather have him than Giordano at this point in their careers?
Jake Muzzin has been great for the Leafs, but would you rather have him right now, or Sean Durzi who we gave the Kings for him. Durzi is 24 and looks like the real deal.
Taking the L:
And then there are the undeniable clunkers.
Obviously sending Nazim Kadri to win a Stanley Cup in Colorado in exchange for Alex Kerfoot and Tyson Barrie didn’t work out.
Nick Foligno was also a bust. As was David Rittich.
He also traded Alexander Barabanov to San Jose for a guy who is now playing in Sweden, and traded Mason Marchment for Denis Malgin who we then traded for Dryden Hunt who we then traded for Radim Zohorna who has played 2 games for us. Marchment has had 89 points over his last 3 seasons and has become a valuable role player.
Besides the Kadri trade, none of these are egregious, but like so many Leaf GM’s before him, Dubas mortgaged the future too often to try and get that elusive Stanley Cup. And let’s face it, we’ve all made lots of decisions that seemed like good ideas at the time, but don’t seem so great in the long run.