WWYDW: Know Your Role

We’re going to keep WWYDW a little bit on the simple side once again this week. Today, let’s talk about some of the newest members of the team and where you think they’ll stand in the lineup.

As far as players acquired since the draft go, five of them can be reasonably expected to play minutes for the Leafs this year. Those would be goaltender Frederik Andersen, first overall pick Auston Matthews, trade acquisition Kerby Rychel, and free agent signings Matt Martin and Roman Polak.

Obviously, there are a lot of players that are capable of playing the team next year, and these guys are going to have to fight for their spots. So here’s my question to you: where should all of these players slot in the lineup? Or, in Andersen’s case, how many games should they play?

I’ll be following this one up with a post of my own this week, but I’m curious to get some of your thoughts. Let’s hear them!

  • Jeremy Ian

    I would love to see:

    Rychel – Matthews – Marner

    But Rychel has to work his way on to that line, which is Martin’s role — to lead by example. Maybe in 2017, we then see the 4th line like this:

    Martin – Holland – Sosh/Hyman

    This would make an incredible bottom six for the next two years, depending on how Bozak is handled (if he is traded, as I expect he would be by the deadline, the math changes a bit — but this could be Plan A for now).

    • Harte of a Lion

      I had thought that a Soshnikov Laich Martin fourth line this year “IF” Laich can keep up. Let’s hope he puts in the work this summer. That would be a line with a kick featuring a potential 20 goal scorer.

      • Jeremy Ian

        A lot of “if’s” all over the place with the overcrowding. Babcock has to showcase the veterans to trade them while easing in a lot of rookies. So, it may be that guys like Rychel and Leivo have to wait to make the roster, and Leivo may even be bundled in a trade.

        True, I suspect that Laich and Holland may be duking it out for 4th line duties. One or both will likely be gone by the deadline. Easier to move Holland than Laich, but Babcock seems to want the veterans in the kix for mentoring.

        These would be my first two lines:

        Nylander – Bozak – Brown
        JVR – Kadri – Koma

        Once Bozak is traded, Nylander moves to center and Leivo joins on the wing. Kadri’s line takes over the hard match ups.

        And I am not even trying to figure out how they wedge Greening, Michalek, Sosh/or/Hyman.

        So, if Rychel does have to wait in the Marlies, you can imagine another wave of rookies joining the team in 2017-18: Rychel, Kapanen, Johnson, Gauthier, and Timashov.

        It’s crazy, but cool.

        • Harte of a Lion

          After letting Percy and Carrick walk… (I’m certain they were offered AHL deals like Smith and Clune; I am glad they both caught on with other teams, especially Sam Carrick as I always cheer for the underdog) …barring trades, the Leafs will start the season with Lievo on the roster ahead of someone younger and possibly more deserving. The team must continue to maximize their existing assets and losing Leivo through waivers would be a mistake.

          With the overflow of good young prospects bursting the banks of the prospect pool, I’m sure his name, amongst many, came up in trade talks. Before the 2015/16 season began, he was looked at as one of the players close to being NHL ready. The Leafs want more than anyone offered or I’m certain JL would be elsewhere. Apparently teams wanted Percy and Sam Carrick but only for free.

          Josh Leivo’s value will be maximized via his performance this coming season. His game has progressed well each year spent with the Marlies and no matter who or what regime called his name on draft day, this kid can play. IMO it’s good news that Shanahan, Lamoriello et al continue to see value in the few players remaining from previous drafts.

          As long as Leivo plays his simple game, he could realistically score 15/20/35 points as a 3rd>4th line guy with some secondary pp minutes. Now that’s an asset worth protecting from waivers.

          I have zero clue how the lineup shakes out but I’m excited as the team continues to move towards respectability and beyond.

          Leipsic and Brown are in the same position in 2017, more talented kids who deserves a shot.

    • It’s the dog days of summer, there’s not much to talk about, and I’m cool with the rest of the staff living their lives and taking a break.

      As for me, this is literally my job and also I don’t really have much else I’d prefer to do so yeah, I’m writing the bulk of the stuff. Once we get more news, get into things like prospect rankings, and the season gets closer, content will be more spread out I’m sure.

  • CO

    At first glance there seem to be not enough roster spots but that may not be the case, if you consider:
    1. The number of rookies, who will not necessarily be ready for a full 82 game schedule.
    2. The effect of injuries.
    3. Players like Michalek, Polak, Laich, etc (hopefully) being moved at the trade deadline; and
    4. Healthy competition for jobs, plain and simple.

    Consider how many players rotated through the roster last season. The team is still a work in progress.

    In the forward ranks, 12 forwards x 82 games played = 984 player games (PG) in a season.

    I’ve grouped the roster by (hypothetical) games played then multiplied the number of players by the mid point of that range:

    60-82 Games Played:
    – Komarov, Kadri, Nylander, Bozak, JVR, Matthews, Holland = 7 x 71 = 497 PG
    40-60 Games Played:
    – Martin, Hyman, Soshnikov, Laich (to Trade Deadline), Michalek (to TDL), Greening (to TDL), Rychel, Marner = 8 x 50 = 400 PG
    20-40 Games Played:
    – Brown, Leipsic, Leivo, Froese = 4 x 30 = 120 PG
    0-20 Games Played:
    – Gauthier, Lindberg, Johnson, Kapanen = 4 x 10 = 40 PG

    497 + 400 + 120 + 40 = 1,057 PG
    We’re over by 73 PG. We have one or two regulars too many. Holland is someone who stands out to me as a bit redundant at this point.

    Looking at the defense, 6 defense x 82 games = 492 player games (PG).

    60-82 Games Played:
    – Reilly, Gardiner, Marincin, Zaitsev = 4 x 71 = 284 PG
    40-60 Games Played:
    – Polak (to TDL), Hunwick, Corrado = 3 x 50 = 150 PG
    20-40 Games Played:
    – Carrick = 1 x 30 = 30 PG
    0-20 Games Played:
    – Valiev, Neilsen, Loov = 3 x 10 = 30 PG

    284 + 150 + 30 + 30 = 494
    Which is almost perfect!

    This could all change between now and October but at the moment I don’t think they have to make any drastic moves. There will be plenty of opportunity for the young players to take the next step and gradually displace ageing veterans from the roster.

  • Foximus

    van Reimsdyk Kadri Nylander
    Soshnikov Bozak Komorav
    Martin Matthews Marner
    Rychal Laich Hyman

    Reilly Zaitsev
    Gardiner Polak
    Marincin Carrick

    Anderson plays 50 games

    I think by Christmas Matthews could be the top line but to start the season he’ll be sheltered. I just can’t see Babcock throwing him out there against the best immediately.

    I also believe Bozak will be dealt sometime this year for more draft picks which will also dramatically alter playing time for these guys.

    Rychal is a wild card for me.

  • Jason_76

    I’d like to see Anderson get 65 starts with Bernier relegated to backup.

    Top line: JVR-Kadri-Komarov
    Line 2: Marner-Matthews-Nylander
    Line 3: Leipsic-Bozak-Kapanen
    Line 4: Soshnikov-Holland-Martin

    Defense have Reilly/Gardiner on top pairing and Polak on the 3rd pairing. Not sure on the other 3 spots. Figure Zaitsev should get a look on 2nd pairing and rotate others to see how chemistry works out before settling on any combinations outside of the top pair. Then again what do I know…

    • CMpuck

      all three of the young guys on one line? granted Nylander has some experience, but I don’t like having all three of them together I think you got to have at least one veteran or “tough” guy to babysit and guard them a bit. Not sure how’d that look tho, maybe swap Komarov for Nylander?

    • JB#1

      all three of the young guys on one line? granted Nylander has some experience, but I don’t like having all three of them together I think you got to have at least one veteran or “tough” guy to babysit and guard them a bit. Not sure how’d that look tho, maybe swap Komarov for Nylander?

  • Jeremy Ian

    JVR – Kadri – Nylander

    Rychel – Bozak – Brown

    Komarov – Matthews – Marner

    Martin – Laich – Greening/Michalek/Sosh/Hyman/Holland

    Rielly – Zaitsev

    Gardiner – Polak

    Marincin – Carrick

    Andersen – 55-60 games

  • JB#1

    Always thought the last W stood for “with”.

    What Would You Do With…?

    If these articles only come out on Wednesdays, then I stand corrected – last W is “Wednesday”.

  • JB#1

    Andersen is the starting goalie. Start him 60 games.

    Matthews is to start on the 3rd line in the centre slot (Kadri #1/Bozak #2 for now). I’d like to see him with Marner and Michalek. It would be great if he could have at least one veteran winger.

    Rychel will be a healthy scratch come puck drop, he has to earn his spot. However, he could win me over in the pre-season.

    Martin will be on the forth line with Holland/Froese and Hyman.

    Polak will be on the 2nd pairing with Gardiner.

    If the Leafs were to ice their team tomorrow I’d go with this:

    JVR, Kadir, Soshnikov
    Komarov, Bozak, Nylander
    Michalek, Matthews, Marner
    Martine, Froese, Hyman

    Hunwick, Rielly
    Gardiner, Polak
    Marincin, Zaitsev

    Andersen, Bernier

  • CMpuck

    Andersen is the starting goalie. Start him 60 games.

    Matthews is to start on the 3rd line in the centre slot (Kadri #1/Bozak #2 for now). I’d like to see him with Marner and Michalek. It would be great if he could have at least one veteran winger.

    Rychel will be a healthy scratch come puck drop, he has to earn his spot. However, he could win me over in the pre-season.

    Martin will be on the forth line with Holland/Froese and Hyman.

    Polak will be on the 2nd pairing with Gardiner.

    If the Leafs were to ice their team tomorrow I’d go with this:

    JVR, Kadir, Soshnikov

    Komarov, Bozak, Nylander

    Michalek, Matthews, Marner

    Martine, Froese, Hyman

    Hunwick, Rielly

    Gardiner, Polak

    Marincin, Zaitsev

    Andersen, Bernier

  • @ShawnMacLean

    Maple Leafs 2016-17

    JVR – Kadri – Komarov / Lupul (or put Leivo here) – Nylander – Hyman / Martin – Matthews – Marner / Laich – Bozak – Soshnikov
    xGreening

    Rielly – Carrick / Gardiner – Zaitsev / Marincin – Corrado
    xHunwick, xPolak

    Andersen 52GP
    Bernier 30GP (pump and dump at deadline)

    Marlies 2016-17

    Johnson – Smith – Kapanen / Rychel – Cameranesi – Brown / Leipsic – Gauthier – Lindberg / Timashov – Brooks – Clune
    xCliche xFroese

    Valiev – Dermott / Loov – Lindgren (probably not in North America) / Nielsen – Holl
    xCampbell

    Bibeau
    Sparks
    Kaskisuo

    This being said, I’m a firm believer in LD-RD when it comes to D-pairings.

    I’m also very, very much on the side of not trying to form Trios of players but Duos + complementary player.

    JVR/Kadri plus Komarov:
    These guys get big, tough assignments. Top line vs top line. Might see a bit of the opponents checking lines due to their threat level.

    Nylander/Lupul or Leivo plus Hyman:
    Unleash on weak lines! Leivo and Nylander can *shoot,* Lupul too when healthy. If he ever dresses for the Leafs again. Hyman is the worker of this group. Puck retrieval. Going to the corners.

    Matthews/Marner plus Martin:
    One of these things.. is not like the other..
    Why else was Martin signed but to protect these guys? Same as Hyman.. will be the worker. Freeing up pucks and hitting things. This line will see some tough match-ups but depending on opponents depth.. could eat them alive.

    Bozak/Soshnikov plus Laich:
    I want Bozak to be here until the deadline. He will eat up lower lines and was a useful player under Babcock. Soshnikov was used similarly on the Marlies.. paired with people who don’t have to do much but give him the puck. Laich is the worker, cycler and net presence.

  • silentbob

    Komarov – Kadri – Nylander

    JVR – Matthews – Laich

    Michalek – Marner – Soshnikov

    Martin – Bozak – Greening

    Hunwick – Rielly

    Gardiner – Zaitsev

    Carrick – Polak

    Marincin, Corrado

    Andersen – Bernier