Dec. 8, 2019
Toronto Maple Leafs
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Solid bet. AAV is high enough it's not a steal, but Ritchie is a decent physical player with the ability to score some goals. He takes too many penalties, but as long as even up calls are a real thing in the NHL, I don't think it harms his value as much as it's given credit for in most analytics model (different models seem to weight it differently).
I think Tatar is a better player, but likely costs what Toronto paid for Kase and Ritchie combined. Nice thing about splitting it is that it's easier to manage from a cap perspective, and there is a chance both deliver their full value, and less of a chance of missing completely on both.
Toronto isn't having as bad a summer as some think, but it really depends on how you rate their current group. If you look at last season on it's own, the Leafs were much better defensively, still strong offensively, very strong analytically, and really outplayed Montreal but ran into an extremely hot goalie. Toronto looked better against Montreal than Vegas did. Other top teams took more of a step back than Toronto did, and they did make some nice bets to counter one of their biggest weaknesses last year, which was depth scoring. It's fine for fans to overreact, it's why we watch sports, but I am glad management isn't. It's actually refreshing to see a GM with some conviction when on the hot seat. No big changes just for the sake of it, no mortgaging the entire future to save a job. Most GMs enter this sort of season with a swing for the fences mentality, knowing that if they gamble and win, they look good, but if they lose, it won't be their problem. If Dubas doesn't make it to next season, someone new won't really inherit a big mess of an organization with newly added bad contracts and lost assets to terrible desperation trades.
This isn't to say he's made no mistakes, there are plenty of good and bad moves, but it's nice to see he had a plan, and he's willing to just stick to it and either prove that it can work, or get fired if it doesn't.