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
Toronto Maple Leafs /

Toronto Maple Leafs – Jason Spezza (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

The Fourth Line

I hated the signing of Wayne Simmonds to a two-year contact on the day it was signed, and I hate it even more today.

I like Simmonds, and his play last year was better than I thought it would be.  But the reason I wish they didn’t sign him is that coaches have a tendency to play the best name, and not the best player.

If Jason Spezza and Wayne Simmonds are the best players for the fourth line, then they should play. If not, then they shouldn’t , since blocking a path to develop your young players is pretty dumb.  I also believe that even if you were once a star, or even if you had a very strong playoff series and have become a fan favorite, you should earn your job based on merit.

In my opinion, the best kind of fourth line should be made up of entry-level players who are trying to earn jobs higher up in the lineup.  Most importantly, your fourth line should be talented and able to score.

Since most teams play grinders and ancient players on their fourth line, I think an offense-first unit gives the best chance to exploit opponents and give the most value.

The Toronto Maple Leafs fourth line should feature Nick Robertson for every game he’s healthy, until he forces them to play him higher.  His shot should get him in the lineup because it will be very useful on the power-play.

The Centre of this line should be Adam Brooks, a player who deserves a chance and who will likely be better than either Spezza or Simmonds if given one.  On the right side, Ondrej Kase.

This would be an incredible fourth line with a ton of talent and scoring ability. The Leafs should insert Spezza and Simmonds into the lineup every few games to spell out players, and make job competition fierce.   They should not be regulars.