The NHL trade deadline has now passed and the rosters are now set for the remainder of the season, and that includes the Toronto Maple Leafs who made a handful of their own moves.
The Toronto Maple Leafs added before and at the trade deadline, and now have their roster set for the remainder of the season and heading into the playoffs.
What could a potential Toronto Maple Leafs lineup look like in the playoffs this year with their recent additions and their current players that are playing?
Numerous different mock lineups for this team are being made recently to try and find the ultimate lineup for this Toronto Maple Leafs team to go far in the playoffs. So here is the lineup that I would like to see in the playoffs.
My Playoff Lineup
Forward line 1: Galchenyuk – Matthews – Marner
Line one is a line we’re currently seeing right now and it’s been pretty good thus far. Obviously, it’s a small sample size but they’ve shown great things together on a line in the handful of games lately and seem to have chemistry.
Galchenyuk is aggressive on the forecheck, hits people, and can also score the puck too. Matthews and Marner, are Matthews and Marner, there’s nothing else to it we already know what these two can do together.
Forward line 2: Foligno – Tavares – Nylander
Line two would be adding a new addition to the Toronto Maple Leafs in Nick Foligno, and to be honest I could see Foligno slotting in either on this line, on line one with Matthews and Marner, or even the third line and help act as the “shut down third line.”
Foligno brings some similarities as Hyman in regards that he isn’t afraid to go into the corners and in front of the net and he will bang some bodies and help out defensively too. Also with Foligno, there could be a possibility he could slide on the third line and switch with a guy like Hyman in the top-six as both players play a similar style and can honestly play anywhere in the lineup.
Forward line 3: Mikheyev – Nash – Hyman
Line three would be the “shut down third line” that head coach, Sheldon Keefe has been wanting this year. He did get it at some points this season when it was Mikheyev-Engvall-Hyman, but with the deadline acquisition of Riley Nash..
All three guys play similar to each other in the way that they make it hard on their opponents to score on you every shift. Won’t be surprised if Hyman ends up back in the top-six and switches with Foligno or stays on the third line as he can legitimately play anywhere.
Forward line 4: Simmonds – Kerfoot – Spezza
Lastly, line four is a line we’re also seeing right now in Kerfoot and Spezza together but now this line has Simmonds on it too. There’s really nothing to this line, to be honest as all these players already average less than 12 minutes a night but they can also produce some offence so it’s not like they’re totally useless on the ice.
Extras: Thornton, Robertson and Engvall
These three are the odd men out, but can always come in and out of the lineup in the playoffs to give someone else a rest or if someone isn’t playing up to standards and needs to come out of the lineup. To be honest, I know I have Robertson here as an extra but I could also see him possibly cracking the lineup in the playoffs and push someone else out of it, but we’ll have to wait and see of course.
Toronto Maple Leafs Defense and Goalies
Defense pair 1: Rielly – Brodie
Pair one is a pair we’ve seen all season long and it has worked pretty well thus far minus the times where Rielly gets caught lacking in the defensive zone and it costs them but having Brodie on that pair with him has helped out a lot compared to Rielly’s partners in the past.
Defense pair 2: Muzzin – Holl
Just like the first pair, this second pair is a pair we are currently seeing right now and has been like this since the start of the season. This has been the Maple Leafs’ best defense pairing and it isn’t close, to be honest. They both play big minutes every night, play on the penalty kill, and act as the team’s shut down pair against other teams’ top players.
Defense pair 3: Dermott – Bogosian
Lastly, the third pair, yet again, just like the first two pairings is a pair we have been seeing all season long.. This has been one of the better third pairings in recent memory and the fact they have two more defensemen that can easily slide into the lineup and play similar minutes is great to have.
Extras: Hutton and Sandin
The extras are not that unexpected with Hutton and Sandin, however, one of these extra defensemen could potentially swap with a guy like Dermott down the stretch and into the playoffs and be given more looks on the back end.
The Toronto Maple Leafs want to give Sandin more looks so I wouldn’t be surprised if he knocks a guy like Dermott out of the lineup at some point in the season and then also depends on how he is playing he may stay in the lineup in the playoffs and switch in and out in games with Hutton and Dermott too.
Goalie(s): Frederik Andersen, Jack Campbell and David Rittich
Extras: Michael Hutchinson
Goalies aren’t that big of a surprise but the one thing we don’t know is who the potential starter would be heading into the playoffs. Of course, I’m thinking to play the goalie that is the hottest down the stretch and ride him while he’s hot. Another big question is what is going to happen with Andersen and his current injury.
Kyle Dubas says he’s confident Andersen will play again, but we don’t know if that’s at the end of the regular season, in a short stint with the Toronto Marlies, or just in the playoffs.