The Toronto Maple Leafs general manager has pulled several trades, but not all are pretty. However, Kyle Dubas may be able to put the worst trade of his NHL career behind him after shipping Denis Malgin to the Colorado Avalanche for Dryden Hunt. Now when that player steps on the ice, Leafs’ fans don’t have to be constantly reminded of what Dubas did to acquire Malgin in the first place. It is easily the most lopsided deal under the general manager and might rank pretty high on the all-time franchise worst trades too.
In February 2020, Dubas acquired Malgin, at 5-foot-9 and 182-pounds with less than impressive stats, for Mason Marchment, a 6-foot-4, 210-pound son of former Maple Leafs (and all-around NHL tough guy) Bryan Marchment. Marchment had been developing in Toronto’s system and was starting to make significant strides with the Marlies. He had just got called up to the NHL, and had four games under his belt when he was sent to a division rival, the Florida Panthers.
Marchment Excelled, Malgin No-Showed
Marchment went on to become a big part of Florida’s recent success. During the 2021-22 season, he broke out for the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Panthers, recording 47 points in 54 contests. In addition, he recorded 114 hits and received votes for the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward. While Marchment was ripping it up, Malgin was putting up some decent numbers – but it was in Europe.
Related: Maple Leafs’ Dubas Trade History is Awful
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Sure, hindsight is twenty-twenty, but even at the time, this trade made no sense. Size alone should’ve been enough to pass; however, we all know how Dubas seems to acquire smaller-stature players. But Marchment was signed by Dubas and coached by Sheldon Keefe with the Marlies; in fact, he was part of the Calder Cup-winning team. So how did these two hockey minds miss on Marchment? To make matters worse, how did they think Malgin was a better option? Until Malgin returned to Toronto this season, he had played just eight games with the Maple Leafs since he was acquired. Meanwhile, Marchment’s hard work, a lot of it was with the Leafs’ development system, got paid a four deal worth $18 million to play with the Dallas Stars.
Marchment was a Reminder of a Great Team
Maybe it is nostalgia, but Marchment being a Maple Leaf meant something to me. His dad was a big part of the last Toronto team to win a playoff round. Bryan had 106 penalty minutes in 75 games played with Pat Quinn’s squad, one of the toughest teams in Maple Leafs’ history. Marchment, one of the meanest in the business, was joined by Tie Domi, Wade Belak and Darcy Tucker.
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Marchment returned to Toronto in October as a member of the Stars. He admitted that he was surprised when Dubas traded him, “There’s a lot of ups and downs in one’s career, and I definitely had a fair share of them early… I always thought one day I would make it, and I got my chance with the Leafs, and then Florida gave me an even better opportunity. It worked out in that way. So, I’m happy.”
Keefe, who must kick himself sometimes for letting Marchment go, was complimentary of the player he watched develop, “There’s probably not a lot of people in hockey that had a lot of belief in his ability to get there. We believed in them and gave him an opportunity to grow. It was a longer road than he probably would have been like to really solidify himself in the NHL. When he got his opportunity, it seems like he hasn’t looked back. I’m incredibly proud of him.”
Marchment would’ve slotted right into the top six giving the Maple Leafs just the right amount of size, defence and scoring threat. Instead, they now have Dryden Hunt, a fourth-line (at best) player. But at least we don’t have to watch Malgin and wonder what could’ve been.