Are the Toronto Maple Leafs thinking of separating their first line? Apparently so.
According to Steve Simmons, the Leafs are “toying” with the idea of separating Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk because the belief is that there is too much power on the first line and not enough on the second.
First things first, it makes sense that the Leafs would want to spread out the offence. However, one thing that must be considered is Kessel’s and JVR’s chemistry with each other. There is no guarantee that either could have the same chemistry with other players.
If the Leafs were to do this, I could see Joffrey Lupul moving up the first line alongside Kessel and Tyler Bozak. van Riemsdyk would then line up alongside Nazem Kadri and whoever wins the second-line right wing spot.
One plus by making this move is if it’s David Clarkson who wins the second-line right wing spot is that having JVR play with him could definitely Clarkson find his offensive game in Toronto. It might also help Kadri out as well. Kessel has had chemistry with Lupul before so I could see that working as well.
The Leafs are obviously going to be a more offensive team if this is the prevailing thought. Almost of the forwards the Leafs brought in are more offensive than defensive. The Leafs might not even have to separate Kessel and JVR to have more power on the second line.