Toronto Maple Leafs Training Camp Line Combinations

John Tavares, Toronto Maple Leafs (Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports)
John Tavares, Toronto Maple Leafs (Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports) /

After an interesting offseason, the Toronto Maple Leafs opened training camp this week.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have now had two days of on ice sessions at training camp as they prepare for their first preseason game on Saturday, September 25th against the Montreal Canadiens.

This, of course, will be the teams first meeting since the Canadiens eliminated the Leafs from the playoffs.

TSN’s Toronto Maple Leafs reporter, Kristen Shilton, tweeted the current line combinations on Twitter (@kristen_shilton) which you can see below.

Toronto Maple Leafs Training Camp Line Combinations

The most obvious thing to notice here in that Adam Brooks is most likely a placeholder for Auston Matthews who’s healing up after wrist surgery.  Alex Steeves is also missing as he’s day-to-day with a shoulder injury.

Right now, it looks like William Nylander is playing on a third line with Alex Kerfoot and Ilya Mikeyev while Josh Ho-Sang is playing in Nylander’s usual spot with John Tavares.  This might just be a training camp experiment or something that will continue into the season, but it creates a lot of questions.

Is it because Nylander and Kerfoot had such great chemistry in the playoffs when Tavares was hurt?  Is it to provide much needed scoring depth?  Is it to please Mikeyev by giving his line an offensive boost?  Is it to provide more opportunity to Ho-Sang so Keefe can see what he has to offer?

Jason Spezza and Wayne Simmonds are also a bit further down the line-up than I expected.  The fourth line seems to be Gusev-Kampf-Kase at this early point in camp.  Perhaps Keefe is providing opportunity to Nikita Gusev or maybe he wants Spezza to play with Nick Robertson to act as a mentor.

It’s not out the question that Robertson could make the team out of camp and play with Spezza during the season, but they’re playing with Michael Amadio and I can’t see him starting the season with the Maple Leafs.  It would be a surprise but not a huge one if Simmonds lost his spot during camp, but the Toronto Maple Leafs wouldn’t drop Jason Spezza would they?

At the same time, I can’t see David Kämpf getting dropped and Ondrej Kase deserves a shot if he’s healthy.  I feel that some combination of those two lines will end up being the Toronto Maple Leafs fourth line when the season starts.

Pierre Engvall’s position in this line-up doesn’t look promising either.  He seems like a likely trade candidate especially if Ho-Sang or Gusev or both make the team.

Defensive Pairings at Toronto Maple Leafs Camp

The wildest thing with these line combos might be the defense pairings.  They’re nothing like they were last season.  I’m not sure if these combos are what Sheldon Keefe is thinking about using to start the season or if he’s just providing more opportunity to some of the young guys during camp.

If Keefe does roll with these defense pairings during the season, it looks like Justin Holl would be the odd man out.  I can’t really see the Maple Leafs starting the season without Holl in the lineup though since they may not have much room for scratched players and Holl would have to clear waivers while Timothy Liljegren and Ramus Sandin are both waiver exempt.

Imagine if Holl was waved after Kyle Dubas protected him in the expansion draft?  If Holl really does lose his job to Liljegren, Dubas would probably trade Holl before exposing him to waivers or trade someone like Pierre Engvall if there’s no room for a scratched 7th defenseman.

After an impressive development camp and an invite to main camp, Joseph Duszak isn’t anywhere to be seen.

Ian Scott and Erik Källgren seem to be the odd men out in net.  I can see the Marlies carrying three goalies this season with Hutchinson, Woll and Scott while Källgren joins Keith Petruzzelli in the ECHL.

Early Projections for the Toronto Maple Leafs Lineup

It’s way too early to make projections on what the Toronto Maple Leafs lineup will look like coming out of camp, but I’m going to make an early prediction anyway.  The team has three preseason games in the next five days where they can experiment and then they’ll have a few days off to figure things out before their last three preseason games, so things could change drastically.

These aren’t “what I would do” lines.  They’re based on what Sheldon Keefe is doing right now. It’s also assuming Ho-Sang and Gusev would sign for cheap and there’s enough salary cap space:




Next. Toronto Maple Leafs 2021 Prospect Tournament Results. dark

Like I said, there’s still a lot of time for things to change and a lot of factors to consider.  I’m excited to see what happens with the roster after the first three preseason games and when the puck drops on opening day of the season.