As if pre-season didn’t excite the tiny blue and white molecules us Leaf fans are constructed of! Playing with speed and intensity the Toronto Maple Leafs are set to start their season October 8th, 2014 against those pesky Montreal Canadiens. With an abundance of changes over the off-season and some key injuries as recent as September 28th, who will dress to be on the ice and get that coveted starting job? The Original 6 has a bit of an idea; some eye openers as well! Let’s begin.
As the graphic shows, the Leafs first line remains intact. The chemistry of these three has been successful in previous seasons and the brotherhood of Tyler Bozak and Phil Kessel has grown more and more. Expect these three young men to come out guns blazing.
Insert Brandon Kozun, yes; Brandon Kozun. The injury to David Booth which has him out for 4-6 weeks creates an opportunity for a former silver medalist at the 2010 Canadian Junior World Hockey Championships. Brandon Kozun a very similar play style to Nazem Kadri actually worked in their favour as they clicked quite well in the preseason thus far. Adding a big sniper like Lupul to the mix can be the positive catalyst to their creativity. However, beware of the turnovers. Hopefully Nasty Naz has an answer for that this season with his improved 200ft game.
The bottom six is really fun. This is where the Leafs management spent most of their time. You’ll see some new faces and some familiar ones who left the team and came back. Oh and yes, David Clarkson will be just fine. We expect him to start.
We slot Peter Holland over Santorelli in this case, however expect the two to be interchanging the 3rd and 4th lines over the course of the season. But have upside in their respective ways, however we give the edge to Holland for his offensive abilities. Furthermore, the dynamic duo of Komarov and Clarkson will provide that third line with edge, but don’t be surprised to see Daniel Winnik, a former Anaheim Duck with a scoring touch have some shifts alongside Holland and Clarkson.
WHERE’S CODY FRANSON!? Unfortunately Cody Franson was injured in the preseason game against the Sabres. By the looks of it he may not be able to start the season and we’ve adjust the line up accordingly. Stuart Percy fills that spot, however, don’t be surprised if the Leafs look for a stopgap defender that they can sign (depending on the severity of the Franson injury).
Captain Dion Phanuef who has shown signs that his decreased playing time has helped his game quite a bit. Not a lot of media attention being the Captain and all as he looks to make a much bigger impact. Alongside newly acquired Stephan Robidas this allows for the first line of defense to be a much better shut down pair for the opposing teams big guns, while allowing for the likes of Jake Gardiner and Morgan Riley on their respective pairs to utilize their speed and offensive abilities and join the forward rush.
Pretty much self-explanatory. Jonathan Bernier showed his dominance while healthy in his first season with the Toronto Maple Leafs last year. With a few hiccups in the offseason it seems like James Reimer has accepted his position. I still believe he will play his fair share of games however, don’t be surprised if it’s a showcase for some teams out their looking for a number one. *Ahhhem* WINNIPEG *cough cough*
We hope you enjoyed our #ORIGINALSHIT content. Stay tuned for more Leaf talk throughout the season! TheOriginal6 has got what you need!