Dubas' three trades Leafs

KYLE DUBAS' THREE BEST TRADES AS LEAFS GM

JAN 14, 2022  (11H40)      COLE
Kyle Dubas has made many moves since becoming the Leafs' General Manager back in 2018. Some are blockbuster moves, such as the Nazem Kadri for Tyson Barrie and Alexander Kerfoot trade and others are smaller deals like Kurtis Gabriel for Chad Krys.

Some moves have been better than others, but for the majority of his tenure as Leafs GM, Dubas has done a pretty good job at putting together a team that has the ability to win every night. He has addressed team needs through trades and free agency, regardless of how insurmountable that challenge seemed due to the salary cap, but these 3 trades, in my opinion, have stood out as his best ones.

3. 2018 25th OVERALL PICK TO ST.LOUIS FOR 2018 29th AND 76th OVERALL PICKS

The 2018 draft was the first draft that Kyle Dubas was in charge of as General Manager of the Leafs. He was interim GM in 2015 but Mark Hunter took charge in the drafting that year, while Dubas ran the AHL's Toronto Marlies. Before Dubas had even made his first pick as Leafs GM, he did something that he is now known to do. Trading down in the draft.

The Leafs have been on the wrong end of trading up/down in the draft many times, but this time it was different. The Leafs traded the 25th overall pick to the St. Louis Blues for the 29th and 76th overall picks.

With the 25th pick the Blues selected German forward, Dominik Bokk. Bokk put up good numbers as a teenager in the Swedish Hockey League and currently has 10 points in 25 AHL games. He was traded from the Blues to Carolina in early 2019 in the Justin Faulk trade. Bokk has the potential to be a good contributor but not at the same level as the player he was traded for.

With the 29th pick that year, Dubas selected Soo Greyhounds defenceman Rasmus Sandin, a pick that was criticized at the time because Dubas drafted Greyhound, but early returns have been good on Sandin and all signs are pointing toward that one being a home run for the Leafs.

Since he came into the NHL, Sandin has impressed. His puck moving abilities are excellent, he's not afraid to throw big hits and he has shown that he can quarterback a powerplay. This season, Sandin has finally shown the potential to be a top 4 defenceman for this team and there's an argument to be made that the 21 year old is the best defenceman on the Leafs' left side, not named Morgan Rielly. The Leafs also got Semyon Der-Arguchintsev in that trade. He may be a boom or bust pick, but to add that to a trade that already got the Leafs Sandin makes it even better for them.

2. GREG McKEGG TO FLORIDA FOR ZACH HYMAN

When Dubas was interim GM in 2015, he made the second best trade of his career. The Leafs sent Greg McKegg, who was a good AHL contributor, to the Florida Panthers for the rights to forward Zach Hyman - a college free agent who did not intend on signing with the Panthers. McKegg has had himself a fine NHL career. He's played over 200 games and has bounced around between 7 different clubs. The crown jewel of this trade however, was Zach Hyman.

Hyman played 345 games in Toronto and during this time he amassed 86 goals and 99 assists, all while playing a workhorse-style game for the team and was a key contributor to the Leafs' top 6 for half a decade.

Hyman was beloved in Toronto for his work ethic and his good guy persona. He gave it 110% every night and it rubbed off on other players. He also improved so much during his Leafs career and blossomed into what would've been a consistent 20-goal scorer, had there not been a pandemic. He played hard in both ends and was a fan favourite during his time as a Leaf.

1. TREVOR MOORE AND TWO 3rd ROUND PICKS TO L.A. FOR JACK CAMPBELL AND KYLE CLIFFORD

There were three things that the Leafs desperately needed going into the 2020 trade deadline. An upgrade on defence, a backup goalie, and grit. The Leafs got 2 of the 3 in this trade. Trevor Moore is a good role player, but there are many Trevor Moore's in the NHL.

Kyle Clifford provided the grit. A har-nosed player who was a longtime member of the Kings, including their 2014 Stanley Cup winning team. He brought what the Leafs needed. Guys who can play playoff hockey. Clifford showed his toughness in Toronto, laying big hits, dropping the mitts when called upon, and gave the team a bit more of a 90's feel. He's now in his second stint with the Leafs after he was acquired from the Blues earlier this season. Clifford may have been arguably the bigger piece at the time, but now I don't think there's any question that it's Jack Campbell.

Campbell has emerged as one of the best goalies in the league since he arrived to Toronto. It took a long time for the 2010 11th overall pick to find his way to the NHL, but he did manage to get his feet wet in Los Angeles working with two-time Cup-winner Jonathan Quick, and now he's really coming into his own in Toronto.

Last season, Campbell broke the NHL record for consecutive wins to start a season with 11. He went 17-3-2 with a .921 save percentage in the absence of regular starter Frederik Andersen, and performed well in the playoffs. In 2021-22, he's been even better. In 26 games he's 17-5-3 with a .936 save percentage, and has become an early favourite to win the Vezina Trophy. Insane.

Soup has been hot in Toronto. He makes game-changing saves and is one of the greatest teammates in the NHL. Always positive and always has his teammates' backs.

He may have been brought in as a backup initially, but he quickly became one of the best goalies in hockey, much to the delight of the Leafs organization and Leafs Nation as a whole.
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