Toronto Maple Leafs Should Play Bobby McMann on the First Line

McMann Should Be Given Opportunity on Leafs First Line

Toronto Maple Leafs v Montreal Canadiens
Toronto Maple Leafs v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages
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The Toronto Maple Leafs should consider giving Bobby McMann an opportunity to play on the first line, especially with Calle Jarnkrok facing an extended absence due to injury.

McMann recently signed a two-year extension with the Toronto Maple Leafs at a minimal salary, securing his place with the team until 2026, which is welcomed news for both him and the fanbase.

Despite being considered a late bloomer, McMann has impressed since being called up, proving his worth to the coaching staff and organization. While he may not be the flashiest player, his size and powerful shot make him a valuable asset to any line.

Pairing McMann with Auston Matthews could create significant problems for opposing teams, given their combined skill sets. With Mitch Marner also sidelined due to injury, there's a gap in the lineup that McMann could fill admirably. Although Marner is expected to return soon, there's merit in exploring lesser-known players alongside Matthews to shake up the lines.

Toronto Maple Leafs Should Play Bobby McMann on the First Line

However, recent practice lines suggest that coach Sheldon Keefe is leaning towards other options, with McMann slated to play alongside Max Domi and William Nylander. While the line of Knies, Tavares, and Robertson is impressive, there's a case to be made for McMann's inclusion on the first line over players like Holmberg.

McMann has shown promise despite limited ice time, tallying 10 goals in just 41 games. Given the opportunity to play alongside more skilled linemates, his production could see a significant boost. Additionally, injuries are a reality in hockey, and having depth options like McMann ready to step up can be crucial, especially during the grind of a long season.

While Holmberg may have his merits, McMann's potential impact on the first line seems more promising. It's essential for Coach Keefe to consider giving him the opportunity to prove himself in a top-six role, as he has demonstrated his ability to excel when given the chance.

The Leafs problem has never been defense. Their problem - several times - has been an inability to score goals in the playoffs when it matters. Therefore, they should do what they can to get the most offense out of their lineup. Promoting Pontus Holmberg to the top line does not achieve that. Getting Bobby McMann more ice time certainly does, however.

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Experimenting with line combinations now could pay dividends in the long run, making the Maple Leafs even more formidable down the stretch.