Toronto Maple Leafs: Optimal Line-up (Roundtable)

RALEIGH, NC - NOVEMBER 24: (L-R) William Nylander
RALEIGH, NC - NOVEMBER 24: (L-R) William Nylander /
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Toronto Maple Leafs
RALEIGH, NC – NOVEMBER 24: (L-R) William Nylander /

The Toronto Maple Leafs are starting to put some distance between themselves and the rest of the Atlantic Division (except Tampa).

A recent win in Calgary  to start their western road swing puts the Toronto Maple Leafs record at 16-9-1 and well on the path to making the Playoffs.  We’re almost one-third through the season, and the Toronto Maple Leafs continue to operate with far more forwards than are strictly necessary.

This means that we see things like Mitch Marner, William Nylander, Patrick Marleau or Connor Brown on the fourth line.  It means that the Leafs have a valuable NHL player   – Kasperi Kapanen – in the AHL.  Not to mention Josh Leiov and Nikita Soshnikov who get paid tons of money to watch the games from above.

The Leaf unusually deep group of forwards has allowed coach Mike Babcock to freely experiment with the lines, and we’ve seen some unusual combos.  Recently we saw Matt Martin on the first line.  Then we saw Matt Martin in the press-box.  We saw Auston Matthews tried with as many as three different right wingers.

This depth is a great thing for Toronto.  Not only does it give the Leafs some leeway to try and add to their roster, it gives the coach tons of opportunities to experiment, tons of options to specify his team to the opponent, and it creates internal competition for jobs.  Other than the occasional hurt feeling, it’s difficult to envision any negatives to this situation: The Leafs are a great team and part of what makes them so great is their depth, and the unpredictability that such a malleable lineup offers.

With this in mind, the staff of Editor in Leaf met up recently at our headquarters and convened around our famously round table like a bunch of hockey obsessed knights.  Our leader – just a guy in a knock-off Carlton the Bear costume –  asked us to submit what we thought were our optimal lineups for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

So kick back, take in our ideas and then tell us yours.  As always, we thank you for your participation and for reading in the first place.