Jay McClement is slated to be a big defensive piece this year but what do we know about how Randy Carlyle might use his forwards?
James Mirtle has been cranking out some great work that I am sure we are all reading but his latest on Jay McClement had a couple of interesting notes. One that I wanted to focus on was on were Andy Murray's comments on using defensive specialists to shield younger players and James' mention of Carlyle's deployment of lines in Anaheim:
"He just does the right things all the time," Murray said. "You need players like Jay on any team. I know a couple of GMs called me last year at the trade deadline and were looking at him.
"Sure he's not going to score the goals for you. But he'll do everything else that helps you win."
Without top-tier players that excel at both offensive and defensive roles, Murray explained, sometimes it's better to rely on specialists at both ends of the rink.
In other words, the Leafs could use a McClement-led shutdown line - just as Carlyle did to great effect with Pahlsson during the Anaheim Ducks' 2007 Cup run - against other teams' stars and keep their defensively suspect snipers like Phil Kessel or Joffrey Lupul protected.
"When you're young, like we were in St. Louis, you're not good enough to play power on power," Murray said. "You cannot play your top players against the best teams' top players. We needed a line that had the responsibility of making sure that we defended our game.
"He also put up some numbers. The reason was that sometimes the top units on the other teams didn't play defence."
This is the kind of approach that the Leafs have been needing. We didn't get the longest look at Carlyle last season but 67Sound looked at the Anaheim Ducks 2006-07 Stanley Cup winning season and how the players on that team were deployed. The interesting thing, aside from how cute it was to think Colby Armstrong would actually dress, is that Brian Burke's bluster about team building didn't match up with reality. I know, stunning.
Having said that, it is definitely the approach that the Leafs should be using
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