Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas was a guest on Sportnet’s Tim & Sid Thursday and talked to the show’s hosts about how the Jack Campbell and Kyle Clifford trade came together. From there, he spoke about the Maple Leafs immediate plans, including how handcuffed the team is despite wanting to make a move.
That the Maple Leafs are now with Morgan Rielly and need to look at replacing Cody Ceci, who suffered a high ankle sprain injury and will be re-evaluated in a month, things in Leafs Nation are even more troubling.
The Campbell / Clifford Trade
Dubas was asked how long he’d been working on the deal and the Maple Leafs GM said he’d talked to the Los Angeles Kings throughout the season. That said, it was the last week or so that talks amplified and the deal got done. When asked if he would have liked to have done the deal some time ago, Dubas admitted that it would have been ideal, but that sometimes these things don’t shake loose until closer to the deadline.
Dubas also added that the deal had nothing do with the injury to starting goaltender Frederik Andersen and that despite knowing the team needed to add some toughness, he wasn’t prepared to sacrifice skill to add grit and sandpaper.
Specifically, when it came to Clifford, Dubas believes that he can play. He’s not a guy you need to hide in certain situations. Instead, he can play regular minutes, he adds experience and he’ll fit into the style of type of game the Maple Leafs would like to employ.
What About the Maple Leafs Blue Line?
The conversation actually started when Tim and Sid asked about the status of Morgan Rielly and what Dubas had planned when it came to their blue line. Clearly, no Rielly and no Ceci means the defense has become a priority for the Leafs and after two bad games, fans are hitting the panic button.
Dubas said he understands how important Rielly is to this team and while his injury could potentially open up cap space to make a move, the team will have to wait to see where exactly Rielly sits in terms of a return date. Dubas said that like a lot of other NHL teams, LTIR doesn’t necessarily mean a team has money to spend. It might seem that way on the surface, but should they go out and add, and then Rielly is able to come back, the Leafs are then stuck being over the cap.
As such, Dubas has to wait on Rielly’s injury status and he has to wait and see what others teams do while in a similar spot.
Be Patient Leafs Fans
Essentially, Dubas said he’d like to do more, he just may not be able to. Calling the next few games a real test for his franchise, that they are one point out of the playoffs and that they can look at themselves and get through this trying time as a team, could be the hurdle the organizations needs to jump to move forward.
Maple Leafs fans got a taste of some trade action on Wednesday. They may have to wait until right before the trade deadline to see any more and should there be nothing, shouldn’t be surprised.
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