A new general manager surely brings a new approach to a team and it won't be different for the Toronto Maple Leafs EVEN if GM Kyle Dubas was promoted from within the management group.
The Editor-in-Chief of the Athletic James Mirtle just revealed how the first major change for the Maple Leafs under Dubas will be the team’s draft strategy, and one promising prospect might not a be a priority anymore in Toronto. For the past years, former assistant GM Mark Hunter led the charge ahead of every draft, and it seems that one prospect name kept coming up under his leadership for this summer's draft in Dallas. Mirtle claims that prospect Ryan McLeod would have been a first-round target for the team, but now there is a new strategy for the Maple Leafs since Hunter left.
Mirtle believes McLeod will have dropped significantly in any kind of draft ranking the Leafs have because he isn’t a “Dubas pick”:
“McLeod, you see, is a safe, low-ceiling type, someone who probably tops out as a second-line centre, if all things go well. He’s also one of the oldest first-year eligibles in the draft — with a late September birth date — and this was his first season with big point totals in junior.”
Maple Leafs fans might see a more forward thinking approach ahead of the draft, which goes along the reputation Dubas has earned especially during his time with the Marlies in the American Hockey League.
For example, during the weeks leading up to the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, it was believed that Dubas' pick for that year was Alex DeBrincat. The Leafs instead drafted Yegor Korshkov with the 31st pick in the 2016 draft and only nine picks later in the second round, the Chicago Blackhawks drafted DeBrincat.
You know what happened next: DeBrincat just played his first NHL season and was able to record 52 points in 82 games, whereas Korshkov dropped off a bit in the 2017-18 campaign, tallying 26 points in 52 KHL games overseas.
This year, Dubas will be able to go with his gut and the pick he has been targeting throughout the season. Without Lou Lamoriello and Hunter in charge, major changes are coming to Toronto and it seems like it will start at this year's draft.