Well, over the first three days of free agency, the Toronto Maple Leafs have made a few moves that for the most part have remodeled the look of their defense and their bottom-six forwards.
To go along with Roman Polak, acquired by the Leafs on day two of the NHL Draft, the Leafs have brought in four new players. They signed defenseman Stephane Robidas and former Leaf winger Leo Komarov on July 1 while trading for another former Leaf in Matt Frattin. Today, the Leafs once again looked to the KHL for another Finnish player in Petri Kontiola.
Komarov and Pontiola could take up spots on the third line while Frattin now seems destined for the fourth line. Polak and Robidas will each probably be a defense partner for one of Morgan Rielly or Jake Gardiner. That would leave either restricted free agent Cody Franson or rookie Petter Granberg to play with captain Dion Phaneuf. That is, unless the Leafs make more moves with the defense.
Here’s how I see the Leafs lines shaping up as the roster stands now.
Extra: Petter Granberg
James Reimer (RFA)
If the Leafs don’t want to bring up Gauthier just yet, they will have to bring in another center. Kontiola could play center but also can play right wing and might have chemistry with Komarov since they were on the 2014 Finnish Olympic team together. They could bring back Trevor Smith or look at some of the remaining free agents, such as David Legwand.
If Franson remains with the Leafs and bounces back from last year’s lackluster effort or Granberg takes his job and runs with it, then the Leafs defense doesn’t look too bad right now. With the goaltending, the Leafs of course have to deal with the James Reimer situation. Either the Leafs will trade him and look for a veteran replacement (since Drew MacIntyre signed in Carolina), or they will convince him to stick around for at least another season and maybe trade him at the Trade Deadline.