One of the best GMs’ Maple Leafs over the past 50 years

Until 1967, the Toronto Maple Leafs were considered one of the strong teams in the NHL. The 1967 season ended with the Maple Leafs defeating the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 to win the Stanley Cup. This was the team’s thirteenth Stanley Cup. The only team to win more was their arch rival the Canadians, who had won 14 at the time.

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The Canadians would have gone on to win another 10 Stanley Cups, while the 1967 Stanley Cup was the last to be won by the Maple Leafs.

Things have changed for the maple leaf since 1967

Fast forward to the present. Maple Leafs blogs caught on with fans calling out CEO Kyle Dupas. He was called incompetent and joking. And these are some of the nicest things we can report. He seems to have a few supporters.

It made us wonder, if we compare Dubas to other general managers at the Maple Leafs over the years, where would he rank?

Kyle Dupas, General Manager of Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Alana Davidson/NHLI via Getty Images)

In all, Maple Leafs had 21 General Managers. Four of those were temporary general managers who had no real authority to make changes. That leaves 17. Howie Meeker was hired and fired as GM in 1957 without the Maple Leafs playing a single game. (From “Brian Burke Launched: From Conn Smythe to Present, Record Leafs GMs,” Daniel Gerrard, Toronto star01/11/2013).

Related Topics: PatQueen: Success Through Leadership

Of 16 other Generals, only four were at the helm of the Maple Leafs before the summer of 1967, in the summer following their last Stanley Cup win. Three of them won multiple trophies.

Con Smith (1927-1955) won seven Stanley Cups.

Punch Imlach (1958-1969) won four Stanley Cups.

Charles Querrey (1917-1927) won the Stanley Cup.

The fourth GM was Hap Day, who was at the helm for two seasons (1955-1957).

Looking at the general managers after the original six era

Beginning in the 1967–68 season, the NHL began expanding from its original six-team format. The league doubled in size to 12 teams in the 1967-68 season. By 1972, there were 16 teams. By 2021, that number has doubled again to 32 with the addition of the Seattle Kraken.

Brian Burke
Brian Burke was General Manager of Maple Leafs (Canadian Press)

We don’t think it’s fair to compare general managers from the post-expansion era with those who came after. Instead, we’ll compare all general managers from 1967 to the present. In all, Maple Leafs had 14 General Managers during that time. In which of these General Managers would Kyle Dupas rank?

If we look at the regular season wins, here are the five best general managers since 1967.

Director general Wins
Jim Gregory 334
Cliff Fletcher 202
Kyle Dupas 171
Pat Queen 169
Jerry McNamara 166

These numbers can be deceptive. It took Gregory 11 seasons and 788 games to rack up 334 wins. It took Fletcher seven seasons and 460 games to score his 202 victory. Dubbas, on the other hand, only took four seasons and 290 games to score his 171 victory.

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If we rank the general managers by winning percentage, we get the following.

Director general win percentage
Kyle Dupas .643
Pat Queen .591
John Ferguson Jr. .559
Lou Lamoreello .547
Jim Gregory .506
Ken Dryden .506

Based on these numbers, Dubas is number one and not even close.

Post-season success for Maple Leafs general managers

Of course, as we all know, qualifying is an entirely different story when it comes to Dubas. In the four seasons, he was the general manager when the Maple Leafs failed to make it past the first round. Where, then, is Dubas’ standings in the playoffs?

Kyle Dubas Toronto Maple Leafs General Motors
Kyle Dupas, Toronto Maple Leafs GM (Amy Irvine/Hockey Book)

If we look at the games won, we see the following:

Director general Wins
Pat Queen 26
Cliff Fletcher 25
Jim Gregory 22
Jerry McNamara 14
Kyle Dupas 11

Although he didn’t win a single playoff, in four seasons Dubbas had actually moved up to fifth all-time to win the Maple Leafs general manager.

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If we look at the playoff win percentage for these five GMs, only two have win percentages above 0.500%. They are Quinn (.520%) and McNamara (.519%). While Jim Gregory had 22 playoff wins, he also had a staggering 42 losses. If we rank the winning percentages for the same general managers, we see the following:

Director general win percentage
Pat Queen .520
Jerry McNamara .519
Cliff Fletcher .481
Kyle Dupas .423
Jim Gregory .344

Finally, all Maple Leafs fans know that if you want to win the Stanley Cup, you have to make the playoffs. If we look at the general managers who have made it to “The Show” since 1967, here’s their ranking:

Director general Match appearance
Jim Gregory 8
Pat Queen 4
Cliff Fletcher 4
Kyle Dupas 4
Jerry McNamara 3

In the final analysis

In conclusion, regardless of whether or not you like the job Dupas has done so far, when we include both his regular season success and his playoff failures, Kyle Dupas has become, in just four seasons, one of the most successful general managers Maple Leaves has had in More than half a century.

ambiguity
Punch Imlach was successful as general manager of Maple Leafs, but at the expense of the team’s reputation.

When the Maple Leafs finally break that first-round jinx and go into a deep playoff, it will secure Dubas’ legacy as one of the team’s best general managers ever.

[Note: I want to thank long-time Maple Leafs’ fan Stan Smith for collaborating with me on this post. Stan’s Facebook profile can be found here.]

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