The Toronto Maple Leafs are desperate to break the longest cup drought in all of NHL history, and as such have been fairly busy during the offseason. The roster has changed a lot, losing some genuinely great players and gaining some strong players to replace them. With all that said, here is a look at the possible line combinations for the Leafs in the coming season.
This front line has the addition of a really new player to the organization who will look to fill the gap left by the departure of Zach Hyman. This line features some firepower for the Leafs with their young gun hopes of Matthews and Marner playing together yet again. Ritchie plays the role of a gritty forward that has complemented the play styles of Marner and Matthews well in the past, and as such it will be interesting to see how this line performs. Regardless, this line will be almost guaranteed to put up some points for the Maple Leafs and be a threat to any team in the league.
These players are largely accustomed to playing with one another but still might surprise with even stronger performances than that of last season. The addition of Kerfoot on the left wing allows for the chance of switching centers in order to still be effective on the face-off, and use different trick plays to pot shots on the net from different areas of the ice.
These players are also accustomed to playing with one another and have proven themselves invaluable to the Maple Leafs. This line has the ability to truly be a multi-tool for the organization, putting up tricky plays, scoring quick goals, or bringing in some grit when the Leafs are in the lead to keep possession and push play to the offensive end and take away chances to score.
This line has yet to play together and could see some interesting changes in dynamic through how the Leafs play their lines. Each player is well known for being able to bring some grit and fight to the team. This line will look to quickly prove itself by creating chaos among the opposing team and using it to their advantage to put up some points.
These two defensemen have played together for a season now and have gotten to build up some chemistry with one another. Because of this, it seems unlikely that the two will be broken up and due to the calibre of the players, it is likely that they will continue to play as the top line pairing. Each player is able to play well at both ends of the ice, putting up good points and able to take some rocket shots from the point. Defensively they are strong, but will likely look to stay closer to the blue line this season so that there is less chance of a breakaway.
These two played together for the past couple of seasons and have really grown together to form a gritty defensive pairing that can put the fear of a big hit into the other team. Both players move like tanks and play quite well in their defensive game. Holl is likely to defer to Muzzin when it comes to shot opportunities, but both are good at receiving the pass and dishing it out to an open forward to create an opportunity on the net.
This line is largely regarded as the junior line of the Maple Leaf’s defence and could see some changes throughout the season depending on each player’s performance. Both look ready to burst out onto the ice, but it is unknown if playing the two young defensemen together will have the desired effect for the Leafs, or will see their development stagnate due to the absence of a veteran on the defensive line to instruct the juniors.
The starting position will likely be split between goalies Petr Mrazek, and Jack Campbell. Last season Campbell had the season of his career, breaking into the lineup after the injury of Frederik Andersen, and making himself a clear staple among the team. However, Mrazek has played solidly in the starting position and has more playoff experience than Campbell, which may see Mrazek edge him out for the starting position as the staff will look to get the team accustomed to his playstyle between the pipes.
Young forward Nicholas Robertson has played amazingly this past season in the AHL and had looked strong in the 2019-2020 play-in rounds of the Stanley Cup before suffering an injury. Because of this, the player will look to push into the starting lines and could end up bumping in as a squad rotation player.
As well, young defenseman Timothy Liljegren has looked rather strong in the past season, and as such will look to also knuckle his way into the Maple Leaf’s opening day roster. He could perform well and could be implemented into the defensive lines as a rotation player to find the best chemistry between pairings.
With all things considered the Maple Leafs look fairly strong going into their first games of the season, and will hope the changes they made to their roster will be enough to make it past the first round of the playoffs while finishing in a position at the top of their division like they did last season. The pressure is on for the Leafs to perform, and fans can look forward to how these lines end up playing out for the team.
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