While most Canadians have been disappointed with what they’ve seen at the 2016 world junior hockey championships, Kyle Dubas isn’t one of them.
The Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. native and the Toronto Maple Leafs‘ assistant general manager was busy over the holidays keeping a close eye on some of the team’s top prospects participating in the tournament, including William Nylander (Sweden), Mitch Marner (Canada), Travis Dermott (Canada) and Kasperi Kapanen (Finland).
On Sportsnet 590 The FAN Tuesday morning, Dubas joined Dean Blundell & Co. to discuss what he saw from the four skaters throughout the tournament.
Here’s what he said:
On William Nylander’s recovery from a suspected concussion:
“The process now for William is for us to be very cautious and make sure that he’s returning when he’s absolutely one hundred per cent, no questions asked. He’s on his way back here now … we’ll get him back, our doctors will take over the process and we’ll look forward to getting him back into the Marlies lineup, but only when he’s one hundred per cent cleared and ready to go by our doctors.”
On trusting Team Sweden’s medical staff:
“I think the way that Sweden handled [Nylander’s injury], as a federation and a team, their doctors really couldn’t have been better.
“The two parties worked together and collaborated and did what was best for William in the end.”
On Travis Dermott’s performance during the tournament:
“I think he was in a spot where he was sort of splitting that sixth and seventh defenceman role, his first time with Team Canada in any regard. It was very interesting for me to see him. He got lots of first unit power-play time, started to play more as the tournament went along. For a player like him,  second-round pick, never been a part of Team Canada previously, I was happy with how he did.
“We’re thrilled that he made the team. It’s another sign of his progress.”
On Mitch Marner’s play:
“He showed some great things with the puck and finished off very strong in terms of scoring, and had a number of great moments throughout the tournament where he showed what his potential exactly was.”
On Marner’s next steps in development:
“The key for him as he moves forward is just to continue to develop his strength, get him stronger and allow him to have that same effectiveness consistently at this level, and then eventually, obviously with the Leafs.”
On why he’s so excited about Kasperi Kapanen’s play:
“Kapanen, I thought started slow in the first game or two, and for me, has been really, really strong. I know he hasn’t had the prolific scoring as some of the other Finnish players, but for me, he’s been a huge factor in every game, especially once they got into the latter stages of the round robin.
“It sort of mirrors the way he started for the Marlies: He started a little bit slow, but he plays with great speed, he can make plays with the puck, forechecks very, very well, finishes checks well, can shoot and score.
“I’m excited for how Kasperi’s played, and I’m very excited about the potential that he has.”