An Early Guess as the Toronto Maple Leafs 2021-22 Lineup

Nick Ritchie #21 of the Boston Bruins (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Nick Ritchie #21 of the Boston Bruins (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Maple Leafs
David Kampf #64 of the Chicago Blackhawks is one of the newest members of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The Third Line

My inclination is to just have another scoring line here. I think the Leafs can just play their top lines against other top lines and come out ahead pretty much all the time, making the need for a specialist line irrelevant.

In addition, I think teams should work harder to outscore their problems.  In an ideal world, your third line and your fourth line can both score, making your team absolutely relentless.

But I don’t think that Sheldon Keefe agrees with me, and possibly for good reason. I mean, I am not a professional coach.

So, instead of giving you my preferred line here, I am giving you the line I think Sheldon Keefe will use.

Obviously, David Kampf is the third line centre in this scenario.  The Leafs believe that he has elite defensive potential, and they are going to use him in a shut-down role.  Alex Kerfoot is also an elite defender, having at least one season where he was the NHL’s best defensive forward (his last year in Colorado).  Though it would be tempting to trade him for the cap space, if the Leafs want a true shut-down line, he’s got to be on it.

The third member of this line should be Pierre Engvall, with apologies to Ilya Mikheyev, who should be traded.

Kerfoot-Kampf-Engvall should give the Leafs one of the better – if not the best – defensive lines in the NHL.