Kyle Dubas had himself quite the Canada Day, revamping the Toronto Maple Leafs roster and adding more balance to the team’s lineup thanks to a handful of significant transactions.
The general manager traded Nikita Zaitsev and Connor Brown to the Ottawa Senators for a return that included defencemen Cody Ceci and Ben Harpur. He then signed veteran centre Jason Spezza on the open market and capped off his July 1 with the biggest move of them all, flipping Nazem Kadri and Calle Rosen to the Colorado Avalanche for Tyson Barrie and Alexander Kerfoot.
This comes only a couple days after re-signing Andreas Johnsson and Kasperi Kapanen to team-friendly extensions, and not long after the team traded away Patrick Marleau for cap space.
So, what’s the likelihood Dubas makes a splash in free agency or pulls off another trade of consequence this summer?
“I don’t know that it’s all too likely,” Dubas said Tuesday during an appearance on Prime Time Sports. “We like where we’re at as of right now.”
Instead, his immediate focus will shift to finalizing new contracts with restricted free agents Ceci, Kerfoot and of course Mitch Marner.
Besides the RFAs, though?
“I think the majority of the focus is on versatile depth pieces up front and on the back end that can kind of compliment what we have and give Mike [Babcock] and the coaching staff as many looks and options as possible heading into training camp,” Dubas said. “You never say never – and I certainly never expected that we would be talking today and Nazem Kadri was not a member of our team – but at this point I don’t see anything imminent or being overly likely.”
The team currently has just north of $11 million in cap space following the Kadri trade.
Teams began expressing interest in Kadri after the 2018-19 season, according to Dubas, who also mentioned the Maple Leafs weren’t in a position to even contemplate moving a forward like Kadri one summer ago because of how important he was to their lineup.
“It was never our intention to trade [Kadri],” he said. “It just became something where as we went through our options and went through every team we kind of knew we were going to have to give something up to address our needs on the back end.
“We were trying to find a trade partner where everyone could come out on the winning end of it. Where a team could address their need for a top-end, proven centre and we could get a centre back, hopefully somebody younger that was a little cheaper that we could plug into our lineup and replace Naz – and then also the biggest need for us was of course on D.”