The Toronto Maple Leafs’ window to win is closing fast; with it, the best chance to win a Stanley Cup in a generation will be gone. Unfortunately, not many are willing to accept that as a cold, hard fact. In a recent article, Maple Leafs’ Comedy of Errors was Avoidable, I put forth some of my opinions about the team’s poor decisions when free agency opened. It seemed to hit a nerve. Some people seemed to take the article as a personal attack and defended Kyle Dubas. Why do some fans only view this team with rose-coloured glasses and believe Dubas can do no wrong?
32 people on the planet are NHL general managers, so they must be pretty good at their jobs and have comparable skills. But a part of the fanbase thinks Dubas is more competent than everyone else. After his recent moves, it appears Dubas himself believes he is more intelligent than the other general managers. As a reminder, he has not won nor been nominated for the Jim Gregory GM of the Year Award.
Maple Leafs’ Narrative is Dumbfounding
Dubas is forcing the narrative that Matt Murray‘s pedigree is good enough to power the Maple Leafs to the Cup. This is the same goalie who the Ottawa Senators gave away draft picks and even retained 25 percent of salary to rid of and pursue another goalie. So are we to believe that Dubas is more crafty than the Sens? Keep in mind that the Senators lost in the Conference Finals in 2017. The Leafs lost in the first round that season.
Meanwhile, the Edmonton Oilers believe they have a real shot at the Stanley Cup after they signed Jack Campbell. After all, the guy was an all-star and had impressive numbers in his previous two seasons. Yet, Dubas didn’t even make Campbell an offer and barely spoke to his agent for weeks leading up to the free agency period. So are we to believe that Dubas is more brilliant than the Oilers? Let’s remember the Oilers made it to the third round of the playoffs last season, while the Leafs went home after the first round – again.
Maple Leafs Bargain Shop for Players No One Wants
The Maple Leafs then signed Ilya Samsonov after the Washington Capitals did not even extend a qualifying offer to the goalie. The Caps did not want him back, end of the story, which is telling and a red flag. Dubas then went to work on his bottom six, signing another Ottawa Senators cast away, Adam Gaudette. Finally, finishing off the depth forwards with Nicolas Aubé-Kubel. He is coming off a Stanley Cup victory after the Colorado Avalanche got him off waivers.
When Dubas met with the media after day one of free agency, he said, “we’ve got the ability to look and see what the best fits are going to be as the market begins to dry a little bit.” But, again, is Dubas brighter than the other 31 general managers? Now that the market has been picked over, he will swoop and grab the players the other teams forgot about. He found Jordie Benn, a 34-year-old defenseman with injury issues. Victor Mete and 5-foot-9 defenseman who hasn’t lived up to his potential. Finishing off with a possible fourth-line centre in Calle Jarnkrok, who every other team passed on for days.
The biggest mistake the general manager made and has refused to correct during his tenure is investing more than half of his payroll in four forwards. Many teams have found some success in utilizing a core of highly paid players and filling in the blanks around them. But these core groups include elite goalies and defensemen. He is pegging his team’s hope on those four forwards plus two goalies whose previous teams could not get rid of fast enough, a makeshift bottom six and a less than dominant defence. However, Dubas is a nice guy who represents the organization well in the community and in the media. He has fooled enough of the fanbase to believe he can outsmart everyone. The jig is up.