The Toronto Maple Leafs forward depth makes them a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.
It’s actually kind of crazy how deep the Toronto Maple Leafs forward group is. Heading into the regular season, we all thought the top-six was good, but their entire top-12 is incredible.
Before we look at the bottom-six, the top-six needs to be talked about.
Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner are having a marvelous season. In fact, Matthews is having the greatest individual season in Leafs history, having just scored his 56th goal. He’s more than likely going to win the Hart Trophy and is well deserving of it.
Replacing Zach Hyman was supposed to be troublesome for Toronto, but I bet you half of the fanbase doesn’t even remember Hyman’s name at this point, after watching Michael Bunting so far. Bunting is an amazing replacement and is arguably better, especially at only one-fifth of the cost.
Toronto Maple Leafs Depth is Unbelievable
As we continue down the line-up, the second through fourth lines have been thrown in a blender, but let’s talk about John Tavares and William Nylander, first.
Both of those players have 68 points in 70 games played. Nylander has 28 goals and Tavares has 25, yet, both of them have been criticized all year. It makes zero sense why they’re ridiculed when they’re point-per-game players. What else do you want from these guys?
Whether it’s been Alex Kerfoot or Ilya Mikheyev on their wing, both players have been fantastic and are great second-line wingers.
Also, the fact that William Nylander is now playing third line minutes, makes the depth of this forward group even more impressive. Having the ability to put Nylander on the third line, similar to how the Pittsburgh Penguins put Phil Kessel on their third line as they won back-to-back Stanley Cup’s, is a brilliant move to increase their depth.
The top two lines should be praised, but the bottom six is even crazier. The Leafs essentially have nine NHL forwards fighting for six spots:
- David Kampf
- Pierre Engvall
- Ondrej Kase
- Colin Blackwell
- Jason Spezza
- Wayne Simmonds
- Kyle Clifford
- Nick Robertson
- Nick Abbruzzese
I know Robertson isn’t up with the team right now, but he’ll be in the picture when the playoffs start. That type of skill is important to have in a playoff series, similar to how someone like Kyle Clifford’s toughness is also good to have.
There’s really no perfect bottom-six for the Toronto Maple Leafs right now either.
If they want to play tough, they can keep Clifford and Simmonds in the line-up, but if they want to go skilled, then Jason Spezza and Nick Robertson can enter the line-up.
Their depth gives them a number of different line-up’s and that’s what you need when the playoffs start. You want to be able to change the roster and make your team look a little different depending on how the series goes and Toronto fans should be happy with what they have.