The Toronto Maple Leafs have not played a single game this season with their optimal lineup.
Missing from the Toronto Maple Leafs first game of the year were Travis Dermott and Zach Hyman.
John Tavares broke his finger.
Mitch Marner, Andreas Johnsson, Freddie Andersen, and Ilya Mikheyev have all also missed time.
Not to mention Trevor Moore and Cody Ceci.
Still, the team has remained competitive, and would easily have a playoff spot locked up if they’d received just league average goaltending.
Toronto Maple Leafs Optimal Lines
With all the injuries, it’s worth asking what an optimal lineup would even look like. Since we haven’t seen one, we’ll have to guess.
The top six is probably set in stone. The lines Keefe has found have been extremely successful, and I see now reason to change them:
Kerfoot- Tavares – Nylander
You don’t mess with perfection.
Next up is the third line.
Johnsson- Engvall – Kapanen
This is a great third line. Tons of skill, and way better than most teams can put out there.
The fourth line, is also, potentially the best (by far) in the NHL.
Clifford is one of the best 4th liners in the NHL, while Spezza has had a fantastic season and Mikheyev only plays here because a healthy Leafs team is the deepest team in the history of the Salary Cap Era.
A healthy Leafs Defense would look like this:
Rielly- Barrie (who have scored 60% of the total goals scored while on the ice together)
Muzzin – Holl (A fantastic shut down pairing that won’t hurt you offensively).
Sandin – Dermot
It’s honestly a much better blue-line than it gets credit for. Muzzin, Barrie and Rielly are all legitimate first pairing players. Holl, Sandin and Dermott all have the potential to be first pairing players.
I wouldn’t hate it if they upgraded, but it’s an underrated group and overall, the Toronto Maple Leafs optimal lineup is among the best in the NHL.
And depth? Well the Leafs have Aberg, Agostino, Wilson, Gravel, Schultz, Marincin, Petan, Timashov, Gauthier, and Cody Ceci all available just in case.
I truly believe the only thing standing between the Toronto Maple Leafs and a Stanley Cup is their ability to stay healthy.