Fourth-Line Left Wing
It all depends on how the other combos shake out, but there will be a WWE-style steel cage match rumble for the fourth line, and, in particular for who plays on the left-wing.
If Keefe installs Kämpf as the center for the fourth-line to play alongside Reaves (two players whose games could not be more opposing), then one player – out of McMann, Robertson and Lafferty – could round out the Leafs lineup.
If Lafferty is not traded, he should play on one of the two bottom lines, which really means there is one vacancy. Other possibilities for Keefe are Dylan Gambrell and Pontus Holmberg.
Both Gambrell and Holmberg are natural pivot-men. Holmberg, who can be sent down without being on the waiver wire, will probably spend another year on the Marlies – no matter how much he impresses during camp.
Treliving made a smart gamble with Gambrell. His presence should ignite something inside of Robertson, McMann and Holmberg. Keefe needs to see one of those younger players prove that they belong. And if Gambrell fails, then odds are that he will make a nice addition to the Marlies or another team’s farm club.
Hey, wouldn’t it be something if Roni Hirvonen, Alex Steeves or Nick Abruzzese emerged victorious from the battle royale?
Sweet dreams, Keefe. Well, for better or worse, at least he has options.