It was two years ago today that the Toronto Maple Leafs announced that Kyle Dubas would be named the 17th general manager in club history.
The wiz kid had been serving as the Leafs assistant GM for the past four years under Dave Nonis and later Lou Lamoriello.
In his first draft weeks after his hiring, he selected former Soo Greyhound Rasmus Sandin in the first round, before taking another defenceman Sean Durzi in the second round. Durzi, however, was traded last year in a deal that brought back Jake Muzzin to the Leafs.
And the subsequent free agency period, Dubas made the biggest splash he could’ve. He and the Leafs upper management courted free-agent star John Tavares, who signed in Toronto for a seven-year, $11-million AAV contract.
If there’s one thing we’ve grown to know about Dubas, it’s that he has no fear to pull the trigger on big deals. On July 1, 2019, he traded Nazem Kadri, Calle Rosen and a 2020 3rd round pick to the Colorado Avalanche for Tyson Barrie, Alex Kerfoot and a 2020 6th round pick.
He managed to get the Leafs out of the Nikita Zaitsev deal trading him, Connor Brown and Michael Carcone to the Ottawa Senators for Cody Ceci, Ben Harpur, Aaron Luchuk and a 2020 3rd round pick.
And most recently this past February he acquired goalie Jack Campbell and Kyle Clifford for Trevor Moore and third-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021.
The Leafs hit the 100 point mark in Dubas’ first season with the Leafs, but lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Boston Bruins.
This past season, the Leafs were on pace for a 95-point season and a berth in the playoffs, but the COVID-19 pandemic has since put that on hold. When Toronto was struggling early on this year, going 9-10-4 in their first 23 games, Dubas made the move to fire head coach Mike Babcock and bring in his own guy, Sheldon Keefe.
With Keefe behind the bench, Toronto has been very successful going 27-15-5.
The jury is still out on Dubas and his time as the Leafs GM. He acquired a roster stacked with talent, but has done a solid overall job of supplementing the players on the team.
What do you think of the Dubas era?
On Twitter: @zjlaing