Toronto Maple Leafs Lineup For Game 1 Is a Complete Mystery

T.J. Brodie was a long serving top four defenseman for the Maple Leafs, but now finds himself likely watch Game 1 from the pressbox
Toronto Maple Leafs v Montreal Canadiens
Toronto Maple Leafs v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

The 2023-24 season was fun for Toronto Maple Leafs fans as we watched Auston Matthews chase 70-goals and William Nylander chase 100-points.

Both forwards would come up short and in reality both story liners were just a distraction to get through the season. The constant regular season success has led fans to believe that even if the Toronto Maple Leafs finished with a 125-point season in the standings no one would care.

All most fans wanted was the season to end and the real challenge to begin.

Tonight the Leafs will take on the Boston Bruins in game-one of their opening round series, and as of now, the Leafs lineup is a bit of a mystery.

Toronto Maple Leafs Lineup For Game 1 Is a Complete Mystery

The Leafs practiced yesterday, and if the lines they used in practice hold for tonight, TJ Brodie will be a suprise game-one scratch.

As for William Nylander - he wasn't in practice, but was in the building. Will he dress? Will he sit? No one knows.

The Leafs already have a disadvantage against Boston in goaltending and defense, so being without William Nylander will be a terrible blow to their chances of winning.

The Leafs have one of the weaker blue-lines of any playoff team. Formerly strong members of the defense corps TJ Brodie and. Mark Giordano have declined heavily this year and both appear to be starting the playoffs in the pressbox.

Recently I looked at what the ideal six defenseman for the first game of the playoff series would be, which would include Morgan Rielly with Ilya Lyubushkin, Jake McCabe and Simon Benoit together with the final pairing being Timothy Liljegren with Joel Edmundson.

If Friday mornings skate is indicative of what we will see Saturday night those will be the exact pairings as Jonas Siegel posted Keefe's six during practice.

Proceed With Caution with Ilya Lyubushkin

The Leafs are replacing Brodie with Lyubushkin and this is a dubious concept at best. Lyubushkin should not be given an extended rope when playing in this series. Many had hoped that the Maple Leafs were getting another version of Luke Schenn when they acquired the 6'2" Russian defenseman, but that has not been the case.

Lyubushkin does bring a physical style to his game, but even in his declining years TJ Brodie is likely still better overall.

There has been too many occurrences since being re-acquired where Lyubushkin has made baffling plays with the puck which have resulted in high end scoring chances and goals against. If he can't simplify his game, there is a strong chance that Brodie gets back in the line-up.

The Leafs don't need Lyubushkin to worry about making plays, keep it simple and punish the Bruins players below the hashmarks. All of this won't even matter if Nylander can't play. The Leafs desperately need their superstar winger to take full advantage of the only area where they are the superior team.


As for the starting goalie, it's assumed to be Ilya Samsonov, but no one is talking.