Where Should Mitch Marner Play When He Returns to the Lineup?

There’s a plethora of possibilities for the Maple Leafs when it comes to inserting Marner into the lineup
Feb 29, 2024; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitchell Marner (16) during warm up
Feb 29, 2024; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitchell Marner (16) during warm up / John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
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Marner Reunited with John Tavares on the Second Line

If there is no place for Marner on the first line, then why not reunite him with captain John Tavares?

It would be just like old times when Tavares first joined the Leafs. Back then, the duo of Marner and Tavares clicked instantly, leading to Tavares’ best season of his career in 2018-19 when he recorded 47 goals and 41 assists for 88 points.

So perhaps putting the two together again can help them rediscover some of that magic together.

More importantly, there’s also prolific Nylander now on the line. Playing perhaps some of his best hockey of his entire NHL career, they could form a new dynamic trio that would torment opposing defenders by skating circles around them all game long.

But of course, if that happens, Bobby McMann would need to be removed from the line, who had been the main energy spark plug and grinder of the three-man unit. However, if it means the Leafs would end up with two unstoppable top lines as a result of it, it should be a small sacrifice that’s worth making, especially when McMann has shown he can be effective as a bottom-six player as well.

Marner Driving a New Third Line

This would be a great experiment for the Leafs to try, since they practically have a playoff spot all sewn up, with hopes of catching either the Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers pretty much hanging by the thread by now.

With the top two lines already doing well recently, the Leafs can try pairing Marner with some of the younger players on the team in Pontus Holmberg and Matthew Knies/Nick Robertson.

Not only would they possess tremendous speed, they would also have the perfect mix of solid defense to go along with offensive flair at the same time, which could actually make them one of the scariest third lines in the league.

More importantly, if Marner does end up on the third line, it essentially spreads out the Leafs core four on three separate lines, creating potential nightmare matchups for the opposing team down the stretch and perhaps even in the playoffs. (All stats from hockey-reference.com)