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Takeaways from Dubas’ guest mailbag spot with The Star

I’d like to start off by extending the opportunity to any and all Maple Leafs Hockey Ops people to take over our mailbag for a week as well. You are more than welcome to weigh-in on the hard hitting questions about which Leafs belong in a boy band and/or proper ways to slay a Minotaur. I suspect they aren’t interested, so we’ll just stick with weighing in on their quotes from The Star instead.

We have found that creating a new daily routine while at home has been very helpful. We are fortunate in that we still have a lot on the go with regards to scouting, player development and other team matters, so there is a lot to do, just in a very different way.

Dubas and Co. are hard at work on the scouting side of things, and with no shortage of time this is an efficient way to get ready for the offseason. If this is done well the Leafs should be able to make the most of the draft picks they have at an amateur level, and build out a solid plan for the little cap space they have to fill out the bottom part of their roster with hidden gems from Europe and undervalued NHL depth players.

our view on analytics and data is that it serves to objectively inform all areas of our operation — scouting, player development, player contracts, coaching, tactics, etc. It has never been the only source of information that we use when making decisions with our program.

It’s probably a good reminder to all, that Dubas isn’t an analytics or bust guy. There are plenty of those people around, but Dubas has never truly been one of them. While I think analytics are a thing that gets looked at pretty early in the process for the Leafs, I wouldn’t doubt that rigorous effort is put in to understand how a player achieves the results he does and then it’s determined where they could fit in with the Leafs. I say that because that’s how a sane person does it. No one should be chasing players solely on good numbers, the same way counting cup rings or making up fan fiction about truculent players isn’t smart. Dubas is a balance, but the balance still seems to upset a lot of people.

When asked about the salary cap implications from COVID-19:

we will have to adapt and find a way to put the best team possible on the ice as we continue to grow toward our goal of being a perennial contender for the Stanley Cup. We have a long ways to go, but how we overcome the obstacles along the way will likely be the biggest determinant of whether we get there

The biggest takeaway here isn’t the cap hell piece, it’s probably that Dubas is stating the Leafs aren’t to the point of being a perennial cup contender, and this is largely interesting because they are locked into salary long term like they are. More and more I think signs are pointing to major roster shakeup coming, but can’t imagine it will be this summer. The Leafs will probably go one more year of status quo before getting weird with it around expansion draft time.

All of that said, we have a great staff who share their tremendous experience and help us ride the waves as they come.

There are few things I love more than Dubas dropping the “ride the wave” line.
I encourage everyone to check out the full answers and other questions over at The Star. It’s interesting insight from Kyle Dubas, who has proven he is still capable of saying all the right things, even though this season’s product has been incredibly frustrating.