The Toronto Maple Leafs assembled an incredibly deep team in the off-season and it’s already going to start paying off.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have lost Nick Robertson for at least four weeks to what I think is a knee injury, and have lost Joe Thornton now for who-knows-how-long after he left the bench in obvious pain during last night’s game and the coach suggested in his post game presser that Joe would be out for a while.
On one hand, this sucks because Joe Thornton was playing like an elite-player ten years young, on what appeared to be one of the best value signings in NHL history, while Nick Robertson is the team’s top prospect and one of the most exciting things about this team heading into the season.
But on the other hand, the team now gets a chance to show just how deep it is. Sure, the games dating back to the playoffs in the summer make it seem like the Leafs don’t have any depth scoring, but the whole team has been on a suppressed PDO reverse-bender and every goalie they’ve faced has seemed like a superstar.
That won’t last. The goals will come. Hyman, Mikheyev, Kerfoot and others will finish the season with perfectly respectable numbers for auxiliary scorers. It’s not a real concern.
The Toronto Maple Leafs Now Get to Show Off Their Depth
With Thornton likely heading to, and Robertson on the I.R, the Leafs have recalled Joey Andersen and Adam Brooks. Though these aren’t exciting players, they are above-average fourth liners who will help the team. In my opinion, Spezza and Simmonds have been too slow to be effective, and the Leafs could easily put together a nice fourth line with players like Brooks, Anderson, Travis Boyd, Pierre Engvall, and Alex Barabanov.
In fact, this kind of early season misfortune is exactly what the team needed for it’s long term success, because they’ve got to know what they have in these guys. Alex Barabanov can’t do anything to show he belongs with five minutes per night, but now he might get an opportunity.
Surely you’ve got to know what he can do before you decide to make a trade. Same goes with Anderson, Boyd, Brooks etc. These aren’t players who will get the average fan excited, but they project to be significantly better than what most teams have on their fourth lines, and now we’re going to get a chance to find out if this is true.
A deep team is able to have a Zach Hyman on the third line to move up when Thornton goes down. Vesey struggling? Put Mikheyev in his place. A third line of Kerfoot , Barabanov and Anderson might be exactly what the doctor ordered, who knows?
What about a fourth line of Brooks, Engvall and Boyd? It might be awesome. This is the beauty of the roster that Kyle Dubas constructed: the options are nearly limitless.