This is my first ever blog, and I welcome any feedback!
This is my opinion on what the leafs 2016/2017 line up will look like as of today. So because this lineup is done as if the season started today it does not include any potential trades that could happen in the offseason. By the way I would like to note that giving Jonathan Bernier one more season as the starting goaltender wouldn't be such a bad thing. As in my opinion the leafs defence won't start to really grow and solidify as a unit until next year, and keeping Bernier next year spares our goaltender of the future perhaps getting hung out to dry which could cause confidence issues making the extreme pressure on Toronto Goaltender that much more intense. I decided to put the age of the player next two there name. If they had a birthday in the first month or two of the upcoming season I just wrote the age as a year older than they actually are.
VanRiemsdyk(27) Kadri(26) Komarov(29)
Brown(22) Bozak(30) Nylander(20)
Marner(19) Matthews(19) Soshnikov(23)
Michalik(32) Laich(33) Leivo(23)
Forwards - Line one
In my opinion Nazem Kadri will start the season as the number one centre despite the drafting of Auston Matthews and the assumption/hope he will be our first number one centre since Mats Sundin. This allows Matthews to ease into the NHL on the third line with the ability to be moved up if Mike Babcock thinks he is ready. JVR is the obvious choice for 1st line left wing and should put up 30 goals and 60 points if he can stay healthy. Now for Right wing I picked Uncle Leo because he can do the blue collar work for that line while also filling that spot until some of the more skilled prospects are ready to assume that role.
Forwards - Line two
Much to most peoples surprise I picked Connor Brown to play on the second line because he played very well in a short stint last year and In my opinion will excel in this role while also allowing Marner to ease into the NHL on the 3rd line which also makes it easier to shelter the 19 year old rookie. Bozak offers 40 - 50 point production while also excelling on faceoffs, and allows Nylander to start his NHL career off on the wing which appears to be the preference of coach Mike Babcock. Nylander will also be put in a position to excel as a second line winger while showing leafs brass if he can eventually be moved up to first line duties.
Forwards - line three
Mitch Marner Slots in with Auston Mathews as his centre men on the third line. These two should work extremely well together and tear up opposition third lines and defence pairings while also as I made note of above allow Mike Babcock to shelter them if he sees a need to do so. In my opinion Soshnikov is a great fit on this line because he has an amazing work ethic and can do a lot of the blue collar work for the 2 leafs super prospects while having enough skill to not be an anchor on that line.
Forwards - line 4
This line is made up of two of the money dumps the leafs accepted this past season to acquire a prospect in the case of Brooks Laich and rid themselves of Dion Phaneuf's contract with Milan Michalik. I choose Josh Leivo to be a winger on this line because He is a big body who should be more than capable to play physical and and chip in with more than the odd goal. This line should be able to be solid defensively while chipping in on the offence if given the opportunity.
I wrote this blog assuming the leafs will pick Auston Mathews. This goes against what I stated in the opening paragraph but I can't help it. I'm just way to excited to see him in a leafs jersey this upcoming season.