Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Duba, who was promoted to coach on March 13, said he is optimistic the team can win a second straight Stanley Cup and that the Leafs can build a contender.
“We’re in a good place right now,” Dubas told reporters on Monday.
Dubas, who is the first Leafs coach in franchise history to win the Stanley Cup, also said he has a lot of respect for the new GM Kyle Fisher.
Fisher was the assistant GM for the Chicago Blackhawks during the 2015-16 season.
The Leafs are 19-17-5 in their last 22 games.
They are 0-3-1 in their past five games and are 2-8-1 on the road.
Toronto has allowed two goals or fewer in 10 of its last 12 games.
“Our defense is playing well,” Duba said.
“I think it’s just a matter of getting our defense playing at the right level.”
Duba is in his second season as a head coach in the NHL.
He joined the Leafs as an assistant GM in 2016.
Last season, Dubas won a Cup with the Boston Bruins, winning in six games.
He led the Bruins to three Stanley Cups from 1993-96 and four in 1997-98.
While Dubas is in Toronto, the Leafs have already traded their first-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft for defenseman Dylan Strome.
He was one of four draft picks acquired by the Leafs.
Dylan Strome was the first pick in this year’s draft and he’s currently a defenseman.
At 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, Strome is expected to start with the Leafs this season.