What Would You Do Wednesday – Lupul, Kadri and Kessel

They didn’t put up any points together, but that Lupul-Kadri-Kessel line was pretty fantastic last night against the Buffalo Sabres. 

It’s hard to imagine a world where Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak don’t play on a line together, but maybe Coach Randy has been reading up on these newfangled WOWY stats and thinks it might be time to give Nazem Kadri a shot on the top line. The good news is that, in TLN magic land, it isn’t up to Randy anymore.

THE SITUATION

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The top two forward lines currently have Kadri centering Lupul and Kessel, and Bozak centering van Riemsdyk and Clarkson. Is this a short-term experiment or a long-term solution? Should Bozak and JVR return to the top line with Kessel, or should even more changes be made?

Plead your case in the comments below!

THE PEOPLE LOVE LUPUL4CAPTAIN

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KESSELKADRI GETS TRASHED

TLN readers thinks this guy has some bad ideas.

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  • nazemkadri43

    The top 2 lines are fine. Kessel-Kadri-Lupul and Clarkson-Bozak-JVR creates more than one scoring line, unlike last year where the 1st line were the ones scoring goals. These line combos are long-term solutions to many of the Leafs’ problems.

  • Poluza

    Moulson – Ennis – Stafford

    I don’t think we can really judge how any line of the Leafs did last night considering the top line they could match up against was that. (as per Daily Faceoff).

    My opinion, as unpopular as it may be, would be to move lupul out of there while he still has value. Toronto needs a really good two-way top six winger (as well as the obvious center need). If the “top six of the future” includes Kessel, Kadri, Nylander, JVR, they badly need a couple guys in there who can play a really good defensive game if this team wants to be elite (think Marian Hossa).

  • Poluza

    Moulson – Ennis – Stafford

    I don’t think we can really judge how any line of the Leafs did last night considering the top line they could match up against was that. (as per Daily Faceoff).

    My opinion, as unpopular as it may be, would be to move lupul out of there while he still has value. Toronto needs a really good two-way top six winger (as well as the obvious center need). If the “top six of the future” includes Kessel, Kadri, Nylander, JVR, they badly need a couple guys in there who can play a really good defensive game if this team wants to be elite (think Marian Hossa).

  • CMpuck

    lupul-kadri-kessel
    jvr-holland-winnik
    komarov-santorelli-clarkson
    panik-bozak-ashton-frattin

    still such a major 2rw gap but i would like to see holland given a real chance with offensive players. winnik can maybe be an option for some defensive responsibility or even try jvr-holland-santorelli and komaov-winnik-clarkson. bozak/panik produced that one goal in that stinker vs boston so worth a shot. they can provide some offence

  • Wes

    Holland has been playing really well lately. I think when Kozun and Booth return, we will see a spark in that line-up. Maybe not directly having the addition of booth (because he will not be put onto the fourth line most likely), but if he is moving up the lines someone has to come down. And that only creates depth. Kozun was playing really well, he just needed someone to be able to provide him with chances. The fourth line is lacking of a big body in front of the net, Panik just does not cut it. With the addition of Booth we can move winnik (or someone else) to the fourth to provide that line with a big body that has relatively great possession numbers.

    Lupul – Kadri – Kessel (Any line with kessel is automatically assumed the first line)
    JVR – Bozie – Uncle Leo (Booth when he returns)
    Winnik (Leo when Booth returns) – Santorelli -Clarkson
    Panik (Winnik when Booth returns)- Holland – Kozun

    Also, the fact the fourth line almost played 10 minutes average last game, made me smile. I want to see more time given to lines. I don’t want our top 6 to play 20 minute+ nights. We have 2 great players out right now, one is set to return and will provide the team with much needed shuffling. The line I do not want to break up is Leo – San-man – Clarkson; that is a great line.

  • CMpuck

    I hope Lupul/Kadri/Kessel lasts long enough to get tested against the Hawks (Toews) and other top teams.

    A fear I have with Kadri in how he faired against the zetterburg line when the leafs were blown out (say compared to the sabres). The next game in the back to back with the wing, Carlyle went back to Bozak line vs Zetterburg which was a much more competitive game. Maybe this is small sample coincidence but Kadri’s ability to match up against elite talent is a concern. We saw some of this when Bozak was injured last year and Kadri was lined up with Kessel. That said, Carlyle’s is probably the ideal coach here (if I can say that) in his ability to shelter Kadri away from other top players.

    The other risk I see is that Lupul/Kadri/Kessel are all high puck touch players. One of these players game may suffer though Lupul seems open to doing the stand in front of the net thing and less of the puck handling so it might work.

    Finally, faceoffs may not be statistically significant as some argue but this assumes that a player has average faceoff ability. If Kadri can’t improve that part of his game, he will put his line at a constant disadvantage. And I would hate for this to result in Kessel/Lupul/Kadri getting hemmed into their own zone.

    Time will tell but Ron Wilson never gave Kadri as many chances of Carlyle has given Kadri.

  • CMpuck

    I think the leafs need to waive or trade Bozak today for Steve Ott, Jay Mcclement or who cares. Bozak is a garbage possession player who is only successful in the NHL because he plays with Kessel.

    The leafs centre core would be
    Kadri
    Santorelli
    Holland
    Who Cares (Carrick/Kontiala/Smith etc)

    This is addition by subtraction as the leafs would instantly create both cap space and a roster spot that they could use to trade or sign viable 1C in the off season. Also fire Carlyle and Nonis too and trade Clarkson.

  • CMpuck

    what happens when booth comes back?

    JVR – KADRI – LUPUL

    BOOTH – BOZAK – KESSEL

    KOMAROV – SANTORELLI – DAVIE CLARKMAN

    WINNIK – HOLLAND – PANIK/FRATTIN/ASHTON

    • Wes

      Lupul – Kadri – Kessel

      JVR – Bozak – Booth

      Uncle Leo – Santorelli – Davie Clark-man

      Winnik – Holland – Kozun

      Panik, Frattin and Ashton

      Dion – Franson

      Reily – Robidas

      Polak – Gardiner

      Booth is for sure not a first liner. He is most likely going to be a second liner because our third line is already made. UNCLE LEO NEEDS A CHANCE TO BE ON THE FIRST LINE BEFORE BOOTH! I WANT TO SEE HIM GET BENCH ASSISTS AND SIT ON THE GROUND ASSISTS!

  • CMpuck

    What glue are you guys sniffing by having a misfit like Bozak on the second line? Bozak is clearly not a 1C nor a 2C. And in reality he is not even a 3C like Chris Kelly.

    The guy is too soft to play 4C and would probably be a an “ok, just ok” fit for a team that lacks a centre depth.

  • Wes

    JVR – Bozak – Kessel
    Lupul – Kadri – Booth/Clarkson
    Komarov – Santorelli – Clarkson/Booth
    Panik – Holland – Winnik

    Kozun, Ashton

    Looks familiar, right? I think one of the problems that both the coaching staff and all of us as fans have is becoming bogged down in focusing on strict line combinations.

    I liked how Kadri and Bozak were switched around at times during the Sabres game – it’s a perfect example of what I’d like to see going forward.

    Not every player is going to be on top of their game every night – fact of life. Carlyle has emphasized time and time again a need for more “compete” and accountability – yet he hasn’t backed it up. I’d love to see more in game adjustments when things aren’t working, putting the best players on that night out there together, and force these guys to learn how to play with all of their teammates. Who knows? It could make everyone better. And maybe JVR – Santorelli – Clarkson will go on a wicked run for 5 games midseason and put up a ton of points, but we won’t find that out if they never get a shift together.

    Thought exercise: Put Kessel at 1RW and then move everyone else in the top 9 around. It might just change some perspectives. Here’s what I got:

    Booth – Santorelli – Kessel
    Lupul – Bozak – Clarkson
    Jvr – Kadri – Komarov
    Panik – Holland – Winnik

    I wouldn’t play this all season but if it’s working that night, why couldn’t these be our lines? At the end of a long road trip playing their third game in four nights, if these lines squeeze a point out of Dallas or someone they’d normally lose to, I’m all for it

  • Wes

    We are asking all fans to please visit both NHLPA site as well as NHL.com, and any media outlets to tell the league it had better start handing out longer suspensions to repeat offenders like John Moore and others. Just because the league knows that after Five Games, any suspensions can be appealed is not a good enough reason not to dole them out. What will it take before the NHL wake up, maybe someone being seriously injured. Thanks.

  • jasken

    There is no reading into WOWY or any other fancystat its called lack of production from the second line. It forces Carlyle to change things to get some production out of them. He cant sit there and wait to see when fancystats are going to turn into points because it may never happen he needs them producing now and if that means splitting the lines it’s what has to be done to ensure wins.

    There has to be a nice complimentary player who is consistent throw Bozak with Kadri and Lupul have Winnik center JVR and Kessel for Columbus. Now I say this because it seems Bozak is producing with anybody at the moment its a good chance Kadri or Lupul will capitalize on this. Not saying its a great idea but Bozak leads the team in consistency of points ratio if there is someone better to help these 2 spark some offence then a player who has points in 7 of 9 games I liked hear it.