Maple Leaf Playoff Odds to Improve With New Assistant GM Hire?

David Lawrence

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 5:25 PM GMT

The Toronto Maple Leafs had a front office shakeup on Tuesday when they fired former Assistant General Manager Claude Loiselle and Vice President of Hockey Operations Dave Poulin. In Loiselle’s stead, they hired 28-year-old Kyle Dubas to be the team’s new assistant GM.

Prior to this, he cut his teeth being the second-youngest GM in OHL history. He’s known as a stats guru and a man who truly understands hockey analytics. He’s definitely new school and we’ll see if the numbers deliver.

 

How This Came About?
The Leafs have been using old school hockey tactics for a while and clearly, the results aren’t there. Before the salary cap days, they would be able to outspend everyone and their mistakes would get lost in the shuffle. If there was a bad signing, they could just bench the guy and sign someone else. But now that every team is equal because of the cap, the Leafs have not been able to prove themselves as shrewd with their spending. Signings like Jeff Finger, Mikhail Grabovski, David Clarkson and even Ron Wilson have hurt this team. It’s not as if they’ve been bad in the standings but the room for error is so small with a salary cap in place. The Leafs simply can’t afford to make those types of egregious errors and still have high expectations for their team.

Enter Dubas. He’s supposedly the Theo Epstein of the NHL. He’s young, sharp and he uses analytics. Team President Brendan Shanahan polled as many hockey minds as he could as to who they would recommend as the smartest untapped mind in the game and all signs pointed to Dubas. That’s how this all went down.

Take a minute to look at the NHL Betting Futures market

How To Bet The News
For now, this doesn’t mean much for NHL betting odds. The Leafs roster is virtually set for next season, although they did add David Booth today (one year, $1.1 million). For the most part, the impact of Dubas won’t be felt right away. However, in the long run, this could be a move of significance. Obviously Dubas is a man that knows his analytics and if his knowledge translates to the NHL level, the Leafs might be able to find some hidden gems. They’re not far off right; a couple players could really turn this team into a contender – especially help on the blue line. If Dubas can find those guys at the trade deadline, the Leafs will have a great chance to make the playoffs and get beyond the first round. As you might recall, this team was atop the Eastern Conference after the first month of action last year with a record of 10-4-0.

I’m not sure I’d bet the Leafs to win the Stanley Cup as they are at 33/1 to win it all. But Bovada has a prop up on the board whether or not the Leafs will make the playoffs with ‘yes’ at EVEN money and that’s probably worth adding to your NHL picks. In the weak Eastern Conference, that can cash even if Dubas doesn’t have an impact on this season.