Leafs add Jordie Benn and Victor Mete as defensive depth

Kyle Dubas stayed true to his word and went out and added some defensive depth today in the form of Benn and Mete. The contracts are expected to be in the one year, $750k range and we’ll update that when confirmed by the Leafs.
These are two buriable contracts, and we can fully expect that the Leafs may do that at least with Mete, but let’s discuss the players a little before we send them down to the Marlies.
Jordie Benn is 6’2 and absolutely the physical presence that Kyle Dubas was talking about acquiring for the blueline. He’s a left shot rather than a righty, but the options seem to be absolutely absent in free agency when it comes to right shot physical presence, outside of possibly PK Subban.
Benn’s numbers:
Season
Team
GP
G
PTS
PIM
ATOI
BLK
HIT
2018-19
MTL
81
5
22
39
18:12
128
124
2019-20
VAN
44
1
7
17
16:17
62
45
2020-21
VAN/WPG
39
1
10
9
14:45
51
19
2021-22
MIN
39
1
8
10
14:59
41
51

So yeah, it’s all about the hitting and the depth aspect when it comes to the Benn acquisition. The Leafs struggled as they looked down their lineup last year and Benn seems like a better option than players like Biega and Dahlstrom were, so there’s that.
As for Victor Mete, he’s got age on his side at being just 24 years of age, and it might not hurt to take a look at him. Like Benn, Mete is a left shoot, and doesn’t really address the right side needs of the Leafs, but fits from a depth perspective. Figuring out where he really fits in from a defensive archetype standpoint is probably part of the reason he’s struggled, but if the Leafs are looking at him not as a day one Leaf, but a project to tackle throughout the year, the move makes sense.
Season
Team
GP
G
PTS
PIM
ATOI
BLK
HIT
2019-20
MTL
51
4
11
20
16:00
60
20
2020-21
MTL/OTT
28
1
5
8
15:48
35
19
2021-22
OTT
37
0
7
4
14:37
38
13

There really isn’t a whole lot pointing to why Mete makes sense, beyond adding to the Marlies. With the Leafs being light on callup options, Mete will still likely get some t …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Maple Leafs plan in goal becomes a little clearer after shipping Mrazek to Chicago

MONTREAL — It’s easy to criticize Kyle Dubas’ decision to sign Petr Mrazek to a three-year, $11.4 million contract last summer.
With little salary cap space heading into next season and a $3.8 million hit on a tandem goaltender who had an abysmal first year with the club, the Toronto Maple Leafs GM traded the 30-year-old Czech to the Chicago Blackhawks on Day 1 of the 2022 NHL Draft at Bell Centre.
On the surface, it looks like the Leafs traded another first-round pick to dispose of a problem. In reality, all they did was move down in the draft from No. 25 to 38.
It’s not much of a downgrade and they didn’t have to retain any salary in the deal.
Really, Dubas has Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson to thank for alleviating Toronto’s problem.
Chicago was in a particularly giving mood by making some questionable decisions on Thursday, including trading away 24-year-old forward Alex DeBrincat to the Ottawa Senators for draft picks and 21-year-old centre Kirby Dack to the Montreal Canadiens for an identical haul.
The Blackhawks obvious aim to tank is Toronto’s gain and now they’re left with roughly $10.2 in cap space which will be primarily used to help fill their goaltending needs.
Now it’s just a question of how they go about it.
With incumb …

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Author: David Alter / The Leafs Nation

The case for the Leafs to go the “safe” route with their first-round pick

To say that Kyle Dubas’ reputation preceded him when he was appointed Leafs GM would be an understatement. Climbing the ranks from the Soo Greyhounds to what ultimately equated to an apprenticeship under the highly respected and revered Lou Lamoriello, Dubas made a name for himself as someone who put a greater emphasis on the analytical side of player evaluation, valuing raw skill above all else.
It was a welcomed change for Leafs fans who hungered for a new voice with a fresh perspective – especially at the draft table following three years of mostly fruitless drafts guided by former assistant general manager Mark Hunter, whom Dubas beat out for the GM job after the departure of Lamoriello.
Not only did those drafts produce little in the way of NHL contributors for the Leafs over time, but it was obvious almost immediately that many of the players they selected beyond the first round – where they nabbed stars like Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews with high picks and pounced on a sliding Timothy Liljegren – lacked much in the way of upside or high-end potential. More often than not, they opted for big, physically mature players rather than taking swings on smaller, more skilled players w …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation