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Robertson and Engvall in Leafs final practice lines

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What about Robertson AND Engvall?

Vancouver Canucks v Toronto Maple Leafs
TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 29: Pierre Engvall #47 of the Toronto Maple Leafs during warm up before a game against the Vancouver Canucks at the Scotiabank Arena on February 29, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images

It’s Saturday afternoon, all 24 teams will be travelling to Toronto and Edmonton (some farther than others) to enter the NHL Playoff bubbles by tomorrow. The Toronto Maple Leafs are on the ice today, in presumably their last full practice before their exhibition game against the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday.

After much tinkering by Sheldon Keefe on his bottom six, it looks like we have come to a final arrangement.

Some observations:

  • Nick Robertson starts on the third line.
  • Pierre Engvall is the fourth line centre, pushing Frederik Gauthier out of the starting 12.
  • William Nylander is on the left wing with Auston Matthews and Zach Hyman.
  • Morgan Rielly and Cody Ceci are a pair (unsurprisingly, they’ve been together for the whole two weeks).
  • Tyson Barrie is on the third pair with Travis Dermott.
  • And Rasmus Sandin and Martin Marincin are the primary defensive replacements.

Teams will be allowed to dress 13 forwards and 7 defensemen in the exhibition game, so we’re probably going to see Gauthier and Sandin join the lineup and rotate in with the regulars.

Looking at this roster, I gotta say I’m really happy with it. The first line brings me 2017 vibes, the only good year in Leafs history. The second line just looks so dangerous and unforgiving. The third line is fast, nasty, and talented. And the fourth line has the best three players available. Simple as that.

Defensively, Rielly-Ceci does worry me a tad, but they haven’t completely sucked and superficially I trust them more together than Rielly with Dermott or Barrie. I hope Holl can keep up the run of form he had four months ago. The third pair is hopefully where the Leafs tilt the ice. Offensive zone starts only, please.

Games three and four in the Play-In series against the Blue Jackets are a back-to-back, so we may see Frederik Andersen sit one out depending on how he and the team performs up until that point. Considering he’s had four months off, I say just ride him for as long as you can.

Well that’s some symbolism right there.

Caution: Waterbug

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Over/Under: How many Playoff games does Robertson get this summer?

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