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The Athletic Confirms Kyle Dubas' Top Move as GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs

Published March 7, 2023 at 6:15 PM

The astute and strategic Kyle Dubas, serving as the General Manager of the Maple Leafs, is hailed as a mastermind when it comes to making moves that elevate his team's performance. However, it's worth noting that Dubas' best move wasn't a move at all.

Dubas' Best Move: Allowing Campbell to Depart

Jack Campbell's tenure with the Maple Leafs ended last season after he landed a lucrative five-year, $25-million deal with the Edmonton Oilers. Sadly, Campbell's performance with his new team has been anything but impressive. With a dismal sub-900 save percentage, it's no wonder he's lost his starting position to rookie Stuart Skinner.

It's an indisputable fact that the deal has been an utter catastrophe for the Oilers, who are desperate for some financial wiggle room.

While Campbell showed promise in Toronto, the Maple Leafs management team came to the sound conclusion that his stats were unsustainable, a shrewd decision in retrospect.

Although goaltending is not necessarily the team's forte, both Matt Murray and Ilya Samsonov are undoubtedly outperforming Jack Campbell this season.

The Athletic Recognizes Campbell as a Major Disappointment

Earlier today, The Athletic released an article on the most significant disappointments of the 2022-23 NHL season, and Jack Campbell earned a well-deserved spot on the list, perhaps the only notable distinction he's received all year.

After Mike Smith and Mikko Koskinen's erratic and uneven performances, upgrading the goalie position was a top priority for the Oilers in the offseason. However, given the dearth of quality goaltenders and the abundance of teams seeking upgrades, shopping for goalie talent proved to be a daunting task. Despite this, Edmonton chose to be audacious and signed Jack Campbell to a five-year, $25-million contract.

Now, after less than a year, many are referring to it as one of the most hazardous contracts in the league.

According to Evolving-Hockey's model, Campbell's -22.5 goals above expected ranks him third from the bottom in the NHL, trailing only Spencer Martin and Elvis Merzlikins.

Thankfully, the emergence of Stuart Skinner has rescued the Oilers. Skinner boasts a .912 save percentage and has saved 11.5 goals above expected. Credit is due to the Oilers for swiftly signing him to a contract extension with a $2.6 million cap hit for the next three years after this season, providing some cost certainty and, hopefully, offsetting Campbell's inefficient value.

One reason for optimism is that Campbell has previously demonstrated his ability to overcome adversity. He's familiar with the pressures of having high expectations, failing, and then recovering, as evidenced by his journey from being drafted eleventh overall by the Stars, struggling in the minors for years, and then re-establishing himself in Toronto. Perhaps this resilience will serve him well once again.

Without a doubt, Kyle Dubas has made several outstanding decisions as the Maple Leafs GM, but Jack Campbell's $25-million deal with the Oilers may be his most significant accomplishment.
March 7   |   292 answers
The Athletic Confirms Kyle Dubas' Top Move as GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs

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