Hey everybody, I’m back with a look at how I think the new Leafs General Manager Kyle Dubas should approach the off-season. We’ll look at what moves I think he should make in terms of trades, internal promotion from the Marlies, draft picks and UFA targets for July 1.
First of all, we know Shanny doesn’t screw around when he knows what he wants. Regardless of what anyone else in the media may think and what drama they would like to create, Dubas is sticking around for a while.
I’m going to assume that this signing was in the works 3 years ago. When Shanny met Dubas and realized his potential, he was thinking all that was missing was the right mentorship. Enter Lou with Brandon Pridham. Which lead to 3 years of getting the team in shape cap wise, moving the right players in and out of the lineup (Phaneuf out/Andersen in for example).Then having Robidas and Lupul serve their full terms in exile, while simultaneously showing Dubas the ropes as he learns first hand how to run a team with the Marlies. Brilliant management by Shannahan.
Alright, so now that the whole process has played itself out and Dubas is the current GM, what now? Well, he has some heavy lifting to do right away. This all begins on getting ready for the 2018 draft which will be held on June 22 and 23 in Dallas. Someone I follow on Twitter follows prospects very closely and I respect his knowledge on this. These are his predictions for Leafs picks.
Rich White @6_8_5_13 writes,
With the First pick in the Kyle Dubas era, the Toronto Maple Leafs are proud to select from the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League, Rasmus Sandin.
He may not be the Rasmus on defence we would all be hoping for but he’s quite the consolation prize and it’s only fitting that Dubas would love to use his first pick as General Manager on a beloved Greyhound in Sandin.
Rasmus has had a good playoffs so far putting up 1G 11A in 23 GP. He is currently in the midst of the OHL finals against a powerhouse Hamilton Bulldogs team, led by superstar Leafs prospect Nicolas Mattinen ( 2016 179th overall). The Bulldogs are currently up 3-2 in the series. Rasmus has earned the trust of his coach Drew Bannister throughout Sandin’s OHL rookie season since coming over from Sweden.
With excellent leadership qualities, Rasmus fit in right away with a strong team in Sault Ste. Marie including winning 23 out of 24 games upon arrival. Rasmus Sandin is currently on loan from Rogle of the Swedish Elite League. The Leafs are familiar with fellow Swede Timothy Liljegren’s former team . It is expected Rasmus will return to the pro ranks next season with Rogle where he will work on his professional game at the next level.
Rasmus Sandin 5’11” 190 LHD Ranked #11 NA skaters # 26
http://Hockeyprospect.com 51 GP 12G 33A 45P Rasmus is a good, average skater who is rarely caught out of his defensive position. He has a good above average shot that he loves to put low on net. For a Swede he loves to hit and play physical. Holds the line really well which makes him a good threat on the power play. Projection: Top 4 LHD Comparison: Jake Muzzin.
2nd Round #52 Allan McShane
The Leafs need more center depth within our prospect system,that’s no secret, and Allan McShane’s play making ability will soon be no secret either. The Oshawa Generals center has taken a nice leap offensively this season to go along with his elite skill defensively. Last month he showed his skills in Chelyabinsk and Magnitogorsk, Russia at the U18 tournament when he posted 1G 5A in 5GP and named one of Canada’s top 3 players of the tournament. A real Mike Babcock type of player with his work ethic, a player all Leafs Nation can get behind. Allan McShane is 5’11”, 190 lbs,shoots left and is ranked #50 NA skaters, #62 Future Considerations.
Stats are 67Gp/20G/45A/65P. Allan is a smooth but average skater who will need to work on his first step skating before he gets to the next level. Excellent play making ability, great shot, great 2 way C ability and can play a sound defensive game on both ends of the ice. He has great work ethic. Projected: 2/3 C. Comparison: David Krejci.
Round 3 #83 Alec Regula
In the 2010/11-2011/12 season I got to watch Colton Parayko play his junior hockey career with the Oil Barons of the AJHL and the comparisons of the two players at the same age are very similar. Colton went on to become a good NHL player but he also took the necessary steps in between his draft to now to become that player everyone loves to watch.
Alec has that potential and it’s up to him to get there. Without going to that extreme his game reflects a Brian Dumoulin style already where his defensive skill has real next level ability. His offensive game is starting to take off. Being one of the youngest players in this draft means he’s got extra time for future development over his peers and potentially the best is yet to come in this London Knight.
Alec Regula is 6’3”, 200 lbs RHD Ranked #72 NA Skaters #89 Future Considerations. His stats are 67GP/7G/18A/25P . He is a very good skater and has shown the ability to carry the puck. Good/smart passes out of the zone to elude danger, good size. great vision and hockey sense. Projected: Top 4 RHD Comparison: Brian Dumoulin.
Of course the Leafs could pick three entirely different players and this is all for not but what it does show is the depth of talent at the draft.
As for trades this summer, I think it’s a no-brainer that they will move Matt Martin. I love a lot about his game but he’s obviously fallen out of favour with Babcock for whatever reason. Maybe the COCK wants to go another direction where he doesn’t feel like Martin is keeping the flies off the youngsters like he originally wanted. Maybe the Leafs get a pick for him, not sure in this case. Maybe a 3rd or 4th rounder, they may have to keep half his salary t get more than that.
I can also see Jake Gardiner going as well. I know, I know, he’s very good offensively and overall he did have a very good season, but he has shown twice now that he can fall apart when it counts the most. Of course KD could look at from another angle and say that he needs to be surrounded by better D, which would mean pushing him down the lineup. My question is how low do you push him down when he’s making 4.5 million and his contract will expire next season? Either way you look at it, we always hear that good D cost a ton, so maybe the Leafs cash in here. Then take those assets to acquire another D that they feel will better help the team.
A third possibility that I thought of, was that the team could possibly make that big push for a top D that we keep hearing about. I’m not talking Doughty or Karlsson here, but a top 2 D nonetheless. I don’t think it would be a massive move like moving Marner (in my last blog you saw how I felt about that :-)) or Nylander
but maybe a combination of players, prospects and picks to achieve this.
Something like (and don’t have a cow if you like these players, they are just scenarios) :
Kapanen or Jonsson or Brown + 2nd rounder and Bracco/
for X defenceman who could be a top 2/3 D
The one thing I do know for sure is the Leafs aren’t getting a #1D without moving either Nylander or Marner. So, um yeah, I wouldn’t count on the team landing one of those guys. Personally, I think the team needs to get two good D from outside the organization and this is where I think UFA comes in.
When it comes to UFA, it’s always a sticky situation because in theory the team that lands the player is ultimately the one that has outbid all the other teams for their services. However, we’ve heard that the Leafs are pursuing Par Linholm, a centre, and Igor Ozhiganov, a defenceman. Who knows how good they’ll be in the NHL so I’m not banking on that for a major upgrade at either position.
Once in a while a UFA signing works out, and those are usually depth players. Most of the time they are overpaid and hurt the cap. So when saying I would try to get this or that player, of course it all depends on the cap hit. And no, I’m not getting into the Leafs signing Tavares, I just can’t see it happening but I do hope I’m wrong on this.
July 1, as a top 2 D, I would pursue John Carlson at 7 million times 7 years but that’s it. As for a bottom 4, bottom pairing D I would look at Jack Johnson or Luca Sbisa but I wouldn’t extend myself on those players.
The Leafs could also use a 3/4C assuming they don’t bring back Bozak. This is a position that can be filled with a bunch of different players. Just throwing out the names Letestu, Ryan or Beagle, but really I don’t care. I just want them to have someone with some NHL experience in a support role. They have enough young guys on the team.
As far as young guys on the team goes, I will consider Johnsson and Kapanen as internal promotions from the Marlies for next year. Maybe Grundstrom because he was so close last season.
So if I were to predict a lineup for next season I would guess the following but would not put any money on it:
Holl-Carrick ( or two UFA, also I can see Polak re-signed to be 7th D)
As for comments like these,
I think you have to take them with a grain of salt. You can’t put it out there that you’re desperate to improve on defence. (Not pointing fingers at Peter Chiarelli here) Also you have to think there will be some General Managers that will see the rookie and try to screw him over. Dubas is too smart for that though. He knows that it is a slow, meticulous process regardless of how impatient and crazy the fan base may be.
To conclude, I hope the mostly younger fans that have fallen in love with Dubas (without him doing really anything yet) remember this comment. Because when the Leafs win a cup, not if, but when they do, they’ll have to thank Lou for a lot of ground work at the beginning.
Have a most excellent off-season friends and #GoLeafsGo. Remember to shoot down the Tweeps that are constantly negative. Don’t put up with their crap. 🙂