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Dubas off to a dreamy start with Maple Leafs

July 4, 2018, 3:14 PM ET [396 Comments]
Lucas Neilson
Toronto Maple Leafs Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
It was Canada Day, a beautiful sunny day out and I was up north enjoying the glorious weather doing some fishing, boating, swimming, biking and hiking.

It was also the first day of free agency and a magical one at that.

Before I took off for a few hours of activities I fired out some messages to my hockey friends about the potential signing of John Tavares. It seemed like a long shot and after getting my hopes up for Stamkos last off season I didn’t want to pump up the Tavares tires too much.

Last season when discussing the potential add of Stamkos for the (2017/18) season or Tavares (2018/19) most of the hockey minds agreed with me that Stamkos was a better goal scorer but without question Tavares was the better all-round player. They are both world class, and both have amazing leadership skills.

When it came down to joining the Leafs the difference is Stamkos was on a contending team and one he felt would be better for his career going forward. Tavares on the other hand was in sinking sand on the Island. Two rinks, Garth Snow; the whole thing just seemed to be a bit of a hot mess.

Then you have the Leafs…Matthews, Nylander, Marner, Kadri, Marleau, Rielly, Andersen, etc.

With Shanahan and Babcock leading the way with a fresh young minded Kyle Dubas who just won the Calder Cup with the Marlies as the General Manager. Dubas has really put an exclamation mark on his Toronto Maple Leafs team with this Johnny T addition.

John Tavares is a player that every single team in the NHL would have jumped on.

Babcock once said something along the lines of, “when it’s safe they will come”.

Well, he sure was bang on with that assessment. The Leafs are primed and ready for their third playoffs in a row in (2018/19) and you can bet Tavares will be a big part of the majestic run that will take place. There will be no first round exit next season, not for the Leafs.

So far so good for Mr. Dubas! It feels weird that a General Manager for the Maple Leafs is younger than I, but after that Tavares move, I will gladly refer to him as Mr. Dubas.

The Leafs opened up another 2.5 million after trading Matt Martin back to the Islanders. Those salary dollars will be much needed next season when the Leafs have all of their young studs inked in.

Could there be another big addition to the Leafs roster? There should be, and a defenseman of some sort must be in the works, it may even be another game changer. Likely not at the same magnitude of the Tavares deal but hopefully a top four defender who has a bit of a mean streak but can play a quality defensive game. That to me is the Leafs number one need right now and you can bet management wants to rectify that before the season starts.

It’s important they stay on the path to glory and keep Nylander, Marner and obviously Matthews. I’d rather be patient drafting or waiting for another top notch free agent to join the Leafs over rushing the magical run and losing a young player of that quality.

With that being said I am very hopeful the Leafs can sign all three of the young guns this off season. The addition of Tavares is going to significantly increase the point totals of everyone on the team. There will be so many different combinations and lines for the opposition to worry about. It’s without a doubt the best thing for the Leafs to do. When Matthews scores 40+ and Marner excels to 30+ goals and adds on to his ridiculous amount of assists each season they will only cost more to sign.

Nylander is a must this season as he’s an RFA, thankfully his numbers didn’t spike up from his first season. He won’t be cheap putting up 61 points in each of the last two seasons, but I think he will certainly be cheaper than Marner and Matthews.

There must certainly be a plan set in place for the Leafs to have brought in Tavares and still keep all of their young guns.

The Shanaplan is a thing of beauty isn’t it?

I remember when the Penguins won the cup years ago and I was once told by a great hockey mind that to win the Stanley Cup you must have center depth. The Leafs have the best depth in the league now with Matthews, Tavares and Kadri. Now may just be the time…

Time to order my Tavares jersey!

Have a great day and thanks for reading; it’s good to be back in action.
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