Maple Leafs: This Is Their Year, Right?

Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images

PLAN THE PARADE. IT’S OUR YEAR, LEAFS NATION! 

Well, it’s about that time of year again. The time when all die-hard Leafs fans are just recovering from yet another painful first-round playoff exit. Time to recover and get their hopes up for the next season. They are allowing themselves to get their hopes up all over again and brag about how this is the year (like every year). Where everyone and their sister make predictions about everything, you could even begin to imagine about their favorite team, in this case, the Leafs. Everything from line combinations to who will be the team’s leading scorer to where they will finish in the standings to … well … I think you get where I’m going with this. So, since everyone else is doing it, I figured what the heck; I may as well make some predictions of my own, right? In this case, I will be focusing on the Leafs roster and what I THINK the lineup will look like compared to what I WANT the lineup to look like. I’m not just talking about the four forward lines and three defense pairings. I mean everything five-on-five line combos, power-play units, and everything in between.

What I THINK the lineup will look like: 

5 on 5 Forward Lines

Bunting – Matthews – Marner

Kerfoot – Tavares – Nylander 

Engvall – Kampf – Jarnkrok 

Aston-Reese – Gaudette – Aube-Kubel 

5 on 5 Defensive Pairings 

Rielly – Brodie 

Giordano – Liljegren 

Muzzin – Holl 

Goalies 

Murray 

Samsonov 

PP Unit One

                 🥅

            Nylander 

Marner Tavares Matthews

              Rielly 

PP Unit Two

             🥅

         Bunting 

NAK Engvall Kerfoot 

        Giordano

*NAK = Nic Aube-Kubel

5 on 3 PP Unit

                   🥅

              Nylander 

Marner Tavares Matthews

                Rielly

PK Unit One

Kerfoot – Marner 

Muzzin – Holl 

PK Unit Two

Kampf – Engvall 

Rielly – Brodie 

PK Unit Three (if/when needed) 

Jarnkrok – ZAR 

Giordano – Liljegren 

*ZAR = Zach Aston-Reese 

5 on 3 PK Unit One

       Kampf 

Muzzin – Holl

5 on 3 PK Unit Two

   **Tavares

Rielly – Brodie 

** = Since Tavares is one of the best face-off guys in the entire league, use it to your advantage. Have Tavares take face-offs, then immediately change up with Marner after clearing the puck. 

5 on 3 PK Unit Three (if/when needed)

          Jarnkrok 

Giordano – Liljegren

Now, here’s what I WANT the lineup to look like: 

Bunting – Matthews – Marner 

Robertson – Tavares – Nylander 

Kerfoot – Jarnkrok – Engvall 

Aston-Reese – Kampf – Aube-Kubel

Rielly – Liljegren 

Muzzin – Brodie 

Giordano – Sandin 

Murray

Samsonov 

The only minor tweak to special teams, power-play, and penalty kill lines would be on the second power-play unit. 

PP Unit Two

                 🥅

             Bunting 

Kerfoot Engvall Robertson 

            Giordano 

Is this the deepest lineup of the Dubas era? No, I don’t think so. Which I think could end up being an advantage for this team. Everyone’s expectations are, most likely, a little bit lower than in the previous couple of seasons. I say expectations may be a little lower this year because of goaltending. It is the biggest question mark heading into this season. Other than that, this is a very talented roster. Let’s hope Murray and Samsonov prove everyone wrong! In saying that, expectations will always be somewhat high, with Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner leading the charge. They are two very talented individuals with two incredibly different skill sets. 

How do I see the Atlantic Division standings shaking out? That’s a great question. It is, in my opinion, the deepest and most talented division in the entire league. Here’s how I think the final standings for the division will look: 

  1. Tampa Bay 
  2. Toronto
  3. Florida 
  4. Ottawa 
  5. Detroit 
  6. Boston 
  7. Montreal
  8. Buffalo 

Both Ottawa and Detroit are very intriguing teams for me. They made some great additions this off-season, and both teams have a great young core. I expect both teams to take significant strides, pun intended, this season. 

If you disagree with my predictions, by all means, post your thoughts in the comments. I can’t wait to see how wrong I am. That’s the fun of doing things like this. I can’t wait to hear the fantastic individuals from the Leafs Late Night podcast make all their predictions during their next episode! I don’t know about everyone else, but I, for one, cannot wait to have hockey back. It truly is the passion that unites us all!

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3 thoughts on “Maple Leafs: This Is Their Year, Right?

  1. I like the predictions! Looking forward to discussing on our next episode of Leafs Late Night! Thanks for the shoutout 😊

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