It's late July, and I'm a very bored hockey nut. Today I did what I always do around this time of year: Bust out a pencil and try to figure out what the Leafs' opening night lineup is going to be.
I am now thoroughly confused.
Unless I'm missing something, or unless the Leafs still have a trade up their sleeve, this is going to be one weird-looking Leafs lineup in October.
Here's how the process went...
First I got the MGK line out of the way, simply because they've played so much together. We'll assume that's the "second" line.
Let's also assume Joffrey Lupul and Phil Kessel stay together on the top line since they produced like mad men together. For now, we'll put Tim Connolly between them because when he's healthy and on his game, that's probably what the Leafs had in mind for him when they signed him. Alright, so there's two lines.
Let's slot Tyler Bozak into the number three centre slot between James van Riemsdyk, who usually played left with Philly, and... Matt Frattin, I guess? Why not. The other option is Mike Brown.
Then we put David Steckel between Matt Lombardi on the left and Mike Brown on the right. That gives us...
Makes sense, right?
Oh, wait a sec. I forgot somebody pretty important - Jay McClement. Toronto didn't sign this guy for nothing, after all. He's considered by many to be one of the league's better penalty killers, and he's being given $1.5 million for the next two seasons, so you should assume he isn't scratched. Alright, how about...
There. Perfect...Wait a sec. Now Setckel's benched. The guy was sixth in NHL faceoff percentage, and he's an opening night scratch? No, no. Let me try this again.