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Mar 28, 2021
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Forum: Toronto Maple LeafsSep 12 at 12:28
<div class="quote"><div class="quote_t">Quoting: <b>BallPuckFellow10</b></div><div>Ritchie-Matthews-Marner




$80,217 left in cap space.



PK Lines:


I have finally settled on this being our most likely opening night lineup. This is the optimal route to go if we want to avoid losing players on waivers. Brooks, Anderson, Amadio, Gabriel, Dahlström, Biega, Menell and Hutchinson are likely the players that we have a chance of losing. Semyonov, Robertson and Liljegren are waiver exempt which likely makes it an easier decision to have those players start down in the minors. I can see Liljegren getting a chance to start the season ahead of Dermott if he comes in and absolutely lights it up in training camp and shows that he should be a top six NHL defenseman out of the gate. That would mean that someone like Engvall likely gets sent down as it would be between Engvall, Spezza and Simmonds to fight for the two last lineup spots. If you think logically and for depth, it makes more sense to start Liljegren in the minors and call him up once there are injuries to avoid us losing players on waivers.

During the season there are a few thing I really would like to see and I am going to list them here below:
- I don't want us to mess about with Rielly. Give him the keys to PP1 and let him shine. Give him all the love he needs and hopefully at the end of the season he wants to stay and signs a team friendly long-term extension. Sandin is fine for PP2, I don't like us switching it forth and back as it creates confusion and frustration. Rielly is our guy, and he has proved that he can do it as well.

- I want Liljegren to get a run of games in the NHL so that we can see if he is a legit NHL top six defenseman. It might take some time before he gets his chance but when he does I hope he is ready. I can see him and Sandin working well together with their strengths as players complementing each other very well. I want to see a Liljegren that is calm but decisive out there on the ice.

- I want to see Robertson get a look in the top 6 with Tavares and Nylander. I think Bunting gets a chance to start there, but at some point I want us to see what we have in Robertson and if he is ready. Robertson posses elite skill and shooting ability combined with high end IQ and vision. I also like his tenacity to win back pucks and he could potentially fit excellently on that 2nd line.

- I want Semyonov to get a chance to play on the 4th line with Mikheyev. They were line mates in Avangard Omsk in the KHL when they made it to the Gargarin Cup final and lost. He looks like a high end two-way forward that is elite on draws (60% last season and 59% the previous season) and kills penalties effectively. I don't expect much offensively from him but I like what he can bring defensively.

- Brooks, Amadio, Anderson and Menell are other players that I am extremely curious to see what they can offer. They are all ''wild cards'' and could really open up the doors for some trades if they impress during camp and early on in the season. It is unlikely that they start the season with the Leafs, but I want them to get their chances. I see them as Spezza, Engvall, Simmonds and Dermott replacements.

- Both Nylander and Tavares need more ice time, especially Nylander. He only played 16:36 per game while Tavares played 18:12. Matthews and Marner were up in 21:33 and 22:26 respectively. I think you can play Matthews and Marner around 20-21 minutes each while Tavares and Nylander should play minimum 18 minutes a night. 19 minutes would be ideal for me. I want these guys on the ice all the time.

As for our line combinations, I like how balanced they are. I don't want to split up Matthews and Marner like a lot of people seem to want to do. Matthews just won the Rocket and Marner finished 4th in the Art Ross. They are arguably the second best duo in the league after McDavid and Draisaitl. After watching Nick Ritchie highlights and all the previous knowledge I had about him, he seems to be the best fit with them. He is not as good at forechecking as Hyman is. Hyman is literally one of the best forecheckers in the league, so it it hard to replace that. What I like about Ritchie's game is that he finishes his checks literally every time and he has an unreal ability of finding the ''soft spots'' around the net to get open for a pass that he quickly can convert on. With Marner's elite creativity and vision and Matthews obviously drawing major attention, I think Ritchie is going to have the ability to score 20+ goals on that line. My only concern is that he can't create anything of the rush, but Hyman didn't do that either. He would chip the puck in deep and then go and get it. Ritchie will likely have to play the same way if he is the one transporting the puck into the zone. Ritchie will also be deadly in front of the net on the power play. Also can't forget that he literally will beat the crap out of anyone. Feels good to have somebody like that on your team I must say.

Nylander and Tavares finished the season on fire together and Nylander continued to bring his form into the playoffs as well. Tavares last 19GP, 9G and 14A while Nylander had 4G and 12A in his last 14GP. He missed some time due to being in COVID protocol if you remember. I could see either Bunting or Kerfoot play on this line, but I think the creativity Kerfoot brings is better served with Kämpf and Kase. Both Nylander and Tavares can create plays, they just need someone that can finish around the net and bring some speed and grit to the line, something Bunting does. He is also equipped with an absolute laser, so if he gets some time he can unload from distance. He can also create his own shot with his speed which is really positive. I love the fit on this line. Just like Ritchie, I can see him score 20+ goals, especially having the net front presence on PP2.

I really like what our third line can bring. Kase has elite skill and creativity, and dangerous shot combined with excellent skating ability. I can see him and Kerfoot combine really nicely. Kerfoot is very creative as well, and has for the last two years usually played with players who kills the play when the puck lands on their stick. Now he has another creative line mate to play with while also being fully unleashed not having to play centre. Kämpf will be the defensive anchor on this line. He was line mates with Kase when they played for Pirati Chomutov in the Czech Republic, so they know each other well. Apparently playing with Kämpf was one of the major factors in Kase signing with the Leafs which is promising. Kämpf isn't an offensive threat, but he played a majority of his NHL career with other skilled players like Kubalik for example that is someone that scored 30 goals on his wing. He has the ability to make the next play and not have the puck die on his stick. His finishing ability is atrocious however, so we can't count on him scoring many goals. I think both Kerfoot and Kase can have 35-40 point seasons if they are healthy.

I don't really have that much to say about our fourth line. Whatever we get from them is a bonus, hopefully they can hold their own and not be a liability. Mikheyev's speed should help playing with Spezza and Simmonds. I don't really have much to say about our defense either with the only loss being Bogosian. We have replaced him from within, so hopefully Sandin/Dermott/Liljegren are good enough to be bottom pairing defenseman. Despite loving Freddy, I think we got better in net. Freddy isn't what he once was, and maybe he just needed a change of scenery. Campbell and Mrazek is a fantastic duo that at least should deliver us league average goaltending, but hopefully more. I feel confident with each guy every night going in to the season.

Let me know what you guys think, I can't wait to have some good discussions with you guys.</div></div>

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