The case for the Leafs to go the “safe” route with their first-round pick

To say that Kyle Dubas’ reputation preceded him when he was appointed Leafs GM would be an understatement. Climbing the ranks from the Soo Greyhounds to what ultimately equated to an apprenticeship under the highly respected and revered Lou Lamoriello, Dubas made a name for himself as someone who put a greater emphasis on the analytical side of player evaluation, valuing raw skill above all else.
It was a welcomed change for Leafs fans who hungered for a new voice with a fresh perspective – especially at the draft table following three years of mostly fruitless drafts guided by former assistant general manager Mark Hunter, whom Dubas beat out for the GM job after the departure of Lamoriello.
Not only did those drafts produce little in the way of NHL contributors for the Leafs over time, but it was obvious almost immediately that many of the players they selected beyond the first round – where they nabbed stars like Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews with high picks and pounced on a sliding Timothy Liljegren – lacked much in the way of upside or high-end potential. More often than not, they opted for big, physically mature players rather than taking swings on smaller, more skilled players w …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation