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Weekend FTB: If the Leafs are fully healthy, what’s your ideal lineup?

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With the news that Mikheyev is back to full health, let’s have some rosterbation fun.

NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs at Detroit Red Wings Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a sad fact that the Maple Leafs have yet to have a single game all season with a fully healthy lineup. Hyman and Dermott started the year injured, and by the time they got back the Leafs had already begun a rotating carousel of injuries to the likes of Tavares, Marner, Johnsson (twice), Muzzin (twice), Rielly, Kerfoot, Ceci, Mikheyev, Andersen, and probably some others I can’t remember off the top of my head.

With the news that Ilya Mikheyev is now back at 100% health (see below), the Leafs are getting close to being 100% healthy as a roster. Johnsson’s status is pretty much the only question mark now, but with how much things are being pushed back to the COVID-19 virus, he may well be fully recovered if/when the league tries to resume the season in some capacity.

I’m not even going to bother trying to figure out an ideal roster that fits under the cap because I’m pretty sure they’d have some trouble with it. They had staved off having a short 20 man roster only because they always had an injury.

So, let’s have some fun!

FORWARDS:

Zach Hyman - Auston Matthews - Mitchell Marner

William Nylander - John Tavares - Ilya Mikheyev

Andreas Johnsson - Alexander Kerfoot - Kasperi Kapanen

Kyle Clifford - Pierre Engvall - Jason Spezza

The top two lines I think you can play around with depending on who’s playing well together. You could move in Johnsson up and Mikheyev down, but I’m starting with this setup for a few reasons:

  • None of the “locks” for the top two lines have been perfect during the year in any configuration that Babcock or Keefe have tried, but they have been putting up points. I’m sticking Hyman with Marner to balance their types and “willpower” (your words, Mitch, not mine).
  • Nylander and Tavares have been pretty wonderful together, and Mikheyev looked good with Tavares in his sort time there. He doesn’t have to worry about points, really, he just has to fit in with them.
  • Give that third line more punch. Johnsson is a much better player on offense than Engvall, and he and Kapanen played well together on the same line last year.
  • Engvall in a more reduced role can swap center duties with Spezza, and I really like that as a fourth line. Engvall is fast and has a shot, Spezza can dazzle in limited minutes, Clifford can throw his weight around. You can give that fourth line more than bare minimum minutes.

DEFENSE:

Morgan Rielly - Tyson Barrie

Jake Muzzin - Justin Holl

Rasmus Sandin - Travis Dermott

Cody Ceci

Honestly I have no fucking idea what I’d do with the defense. They have 7 guys who have played a lot of minutes, but a lot of them have been lacking for quality at times. Take Holl, Dermott, Ceci, Sandin and heck Barrie sometimes and pick them blindly out of a hat. Sandin has promise but seems to still be adjusting to life in the NHL. Dermott hasn’t taken as much of a step forward when given a big opportunity as I’d like. Ceci and Holl and Barrie have both been surprisingly good as far as underlying numbers while making many Leafs fans angry when we watch them.

Basically what I’m saying is Rielly and Muzzin need to come back playing 60 minutes a night.

GOALIES:

Frederik Andersen

Jack Campbell

Weirdly, I might be the most confident in the goalie tandem from top to bottom — not that anyone but your starter really matters in the playoffs. Andersen has looked much more like himself for about 2 weeks leading up to the shutdown. Campbell was a revelation after the trade, helping us at least tread water during some tough stretches of play and Andersen’s injury.

We have all weekend (and beyond). What does your ideal lineup for the Leafs look like with a fully healthy roster?

ONTO THE LINKS

Maple Leafs’ Doug Gilmour watches 1993 Game 6 vs. Kings for first time | by Sportsnet

Ilya Mikheyev is 100% healthy (among other bits of news) | by MLHS

The first 25 inductees to The Athletic Toronto’s inaugural Sports Hall of Fame | by The Athletic

Highlights of Brendan Shanahan’s interview with James Duthie | by Jon Steitzer at TLN

GM’s ‘very concerned’ about allegations against Coyotes getting resolved | by TSN

Have a safe, healthy and happy weekend everyone!

Poll

How deep do you think a fully healthy Leafs’ lineup can go in the playoffs?

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    First round loss
    (49 votes)
  • 30%
    Make it to the second round
    (79 votes)
  • 19%
    Make it to the conference finals
    (52 votes)
  • 7%
    Make it to the Cup finals
    (20 votes)
  • 23%
    Toronto enters collective alcohol-induced coma from celebrations
    (63 votes)
263 votes total Vote Now