What Would You Do Wednesday- Build a Shutdown Line

The top competition; who plays against them? That’s been the
question that materialized after Zetterberg ran over the Leafs on the weekend.
The Leafs did better at controlling John Tavares on Tuesday night. While he did
score, it was on the powerplay and holding him to just 3 shots in the game is
somewhat of a victory.

Alas, if only there was a community of people who follow the Leafs
religiously who could connect the dots and determine the best way of handling
other teams top players.

The Situation

The Kadri line didn’t get the job done against
Detroit at home and Carlyle couldn’t get the Santorelli matchup on the road
either. So it begs the question, what forwards should Toronto have going up
against the best the opposition has to offer, and how do you make sure the
Leafs aren’t comically mismatched when they are on the road and don’t have
benefit of the last change?

That’s right beautiful people of TLN, I want your best line
combinations with shutting down the opposition as your primary focus (with the appreciation that the Leafs will not be trading for Bergeron, Toews, or Datsyuk). Fill the
comment sections with these beauties and give thumbs up and thumbs down to the
rest.

  • BubbaLou

    I’m a big stat afficianado and using corsi I would construct the ideal shutdown line consisting of

    1. Reimer in net
    2. Gardiner/Phaneuf(tops 2 corsi for dmen)
    3. Winnik/Lupul/Kadri (tops corsi forward this season)

    I’m not sure why you are picking on Kadri like the rest of the MSM by saying he can’t get the job done. But I fear you are biasing your opinion by “watching the game” when clearly Kadri’s analytics communicate he is the best leaf centre for driving possession.

  • Benjamin

    Bozak centering Komarov and Winnik. Those 3 would be the ultimate shutdown line. Hands down! Since that line would never exist a realistic option would be Winnik, Komarov and Santorelli. Hands down! Forecheck so strong you wouldn’t need any D since they’de be hemmed in their own end all game. Of course Bernyayy in net. Hands down! Maybe gardiner and reilly on D. Hands in the air screaming shutout!

  • Benjamin

    Lupul – Kadri – Kessel

    JVR -Bozak – Komarov

    Winnik – Santorelli – Clarkson

    Who cares – who cares – who cares

    If we are looking to have a strong shutdown line/lines We can pair the 2nd line with other teams top lines in a shutdown role and give the “1st” line more of an offensive opprotunity against other teams second lines.

  • Benjamin

    I think for the purpose of a shut down line…. give clarkson his chance on l2, he’s earned it. komarov santo winnik get the toughs which they should be able to drive play in the right direction

  • Benjamin

    Winnik – Bozak – Santorelli

    Winnik & Santorelli to provide speed and possession during the play, Bozak to gain possession through a faceoff.

    Percy – Gardiner

    Bernier

    Have them run a low 2-1-2 in the offensive zone, and play keep away. Have the defensive zone breakout focus two low outlet passes from the D to the Winger, then to the Centre. Opens up the passing option for the other Defenseman or Winger, or a pass back to the original Defenseman for a reverse.

  • Benjamin

    The Clarkson line is the best we have -though they are not really a shut down line .

    I think Frédérik Gauthier was drafted to be a shut-down specialist but he is probably a couple of years away.

    But the best players to build a shut down line might be Winnik and Ashton but we should trade for a large
    checking center -too bad we didn’t manage to sign Brain Boyle as he would fit the bill.

  • Benjamin

    Rather than one “shutdown line”, I would look at the Minnesota Wild model and see if we can spread out some talent:

    1. Komarov-Kadri-Kessel (aka The KKK Line)
    Our most offensively gifted C with our most offensively gifted winger. Komarov can skate with these guys, retrieve pucks, get in on the forecheck, and help defensively (and can take draws if need be). Lupul/JVR can take an extra shift here when we need a goal, or if Komarov is seeing a lot of PK time in a given game.

    2. JVR-Santorelli-Clarkson
    Our current third line subs out Komarov for some scoring touch in JVR. Should continue to have a strong cycle game, and is defensively reliable. In my mind, Santorelli is the second best centre on this roster (sorry, Bozie).

    3. Lupul-Bozak-Booth (Panik for now)
    This is your sheltered scoring line. Holland could get a shot here in Bozak’s place, but let’s be honest: Bozak won’t even be bumped to the third line, nevermind the fourth. They love the guy. Lupul can get the occasional double shift with the top line. RW on 3rd and 4th line will be audition spots for whoever claims it between Booth/Leivo/Kozun/Ashton/Panik/Frattin

    4. Winnik-Holland-Ashton
    Carter Ashton should be in the lineup. Period. Between he and Winnik, this line has size along the boards and enough puck skills to hopefully chip in the occasional goal.

    Those are three lines that can score, and one that can hopefully hold its own. If opponents shutdown out first line, they win. With this model, hopefully that changes.

    Thoughts?

  • Benjamin

    Winnik- santorelli- clarkson
    Make the other teams top group work the boards in their own zone, these 3 should be able to break a cycle in the d zone aswell.

  • TGT23

    Hm… It is difficult to create a “Shutdown” line without disrupting your lines too much. Especially that third line which has been the only consistent line the team has had.

    And while they may not be a “Shutdown” line, perhaps using them against other teams top line so they can cycle the puck and basically kill the other teams shift off and get them off the ice, maybe that is the best play.

    I don’t like the ideal of messing with that line. Regardless of who you move around to play on the 3rd, be it Bozak or Winnik, Komorov won’t end up on the 2nd line (likely, and is wasted in an offensive role) so now we’re talking Clarkson, again? Is that Clarkson with Lupul and Kadri? Because Clarkson with JVR and Bozak makes NO sense since they all are puck hawks who go to the net.

    Now, an argument can be made that he (Clarkson) was out of shape having missed the first 10 games last season and then injuries killed his season. Fine. And you can suggest that maybe he’ll be better this season with Kadri and Lupul as he’s healthy and stands in front of the net consistently. Also, valid. But, with the third line being your most consistent line, I don’t see the benefit in changing that line.

    I think you just roll with Komo-Santo-Clarkson against other teams top lines as often as you can and pair them with a strong D pairing (either the Phaneuf pairing or the Percy pairing) and you take the chance that they get the puck and cycle the heck out of it for 40 seconds until both lines need a change.

  • Benjamin

    JVR – Bozak – Kessel

    JVR + Kessel = Awesome duo – JVR can drive the play and so can Kessel

    Bozak + Kessel = The Mario Lemieux effect – where a player is so good they make everyone around them that they play with seem amazing. Kadri may be a better fit for teaming up with kessel, but I hope bozak presents a challenge for them because at the end of the day – a little competition within the team just makes everyone better.

    Lupul – Kadri – Winnik

    I like this line because winnik is a big body that drives the play – makes it hard for the other team to get the puck off his stick when crossing the blue line. He doesn’t dump the puck in all the time – he guides the puck cross the blue line and that is great for someone like kadri or lupul who can make a play out of anything.

    Yakupov – Santorelli – Clarkson

    Trade gardiner, reimer and ashton for yakupov, some ahl’er, and scrivens. Yakupov just needs someone that can drive the play, and santorelli + clarkson can do just that. You will see this person develop into someone greater than he has shown to be. Considering Oilers situation – they need this trade to happen and this will only help us. Then again – def depth is great to have but I like the idea of that trade. It is like JVR – JVR didn’t seem to work out in philly because they didn’t have him working with anyone really that special. He came here and he started teaming with kessel and many other greats – that made him show how great he truly is.

    Uncle leo- Holland – Frattin [(booth)Kozun]

    Uncle leo is a great leader where he can drive the play anywhere. Holland and frat can keep up – they just need that person to be there. Uncle leo will see alot of time on the pk anyways – so this will be great for him to have some break. Also allows us to role 4 lines rather than just 3. Kozun or booth will be great leaders when guiding the play. At the end of the day you are looking what is best for the team, and we need a big body on all 4 lines. That is what uncle leo does – he is that big body that forces people to slow down.

  • TGT23

    47-25-47.

    Less about their defense; more about the penalty differential. Best way to deal with a top line is to have one or more off in the box. Santa is at centre, because he’s historically been better at draws (although you couldn’t tell from this year), and his defensive focus is better. Even if Kadri & Komarov aren’t drawing penalties, their style of play should throw the opposition off their game.

  • nonikhanna

    Best way to shut down opposition is to play with 4 shutdown lines. Be suffocating 60 minutes a game, even if we are playing an away game and the opposition wants to mis-match us. Another line could still get the job done.
    Fast, strong players who are aggressive in getting the puck back. This gives us the best chance to win every night in the regular season and in the playoffs