TOR top 4 D projects Rielly-Hainsey; Gardner-Zaitsev. Rosen or Borgman will get long look alongside Carrick: https://t.co/Iy1BT3cY9C— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) September 6, 2017
Earlier today, hockey guru Bob McKenzie opened his Twitter mentions up to questions while he killed time at an airport. One person asked who Bob figured should play on the Maple Leafs’ bottom pairing.
McKenzie suggested that Calle Rosen and Andreas Borgman would get an opportunity to play alongside Connor Carrick out of camp, and he also stated that the top-four will likely consist of a Morgan Rielly/Ron Hainsey pairing and a Jake Gardiner/Nikita Zaitsev duo.
That brings us to today’s What Would You Do Wednesday question — what does your Toronto Maple Leafs blueline look like this season?
Last season, the Leafs commonly rolled with Morgan Rielly/Nikita Zaitsev and Jake Gardiner/Connor Carrick as the top two pairings, Hunlack as the third pair, and Martin Marincin came in and out of the lineup when necessary. Gardiner and Carrick had excellent underlying numbers in a largely offensive role, and Rielly and Zaitsev were solid but bled a lot of shot attempts against together but made up for it by driving play offensively. Hunlack was Hunlack. Their job was to play tough and gritty hockey in the defensive zone.
So that brings us back to this season. The Leafs have Zaitsev and Carrick as the only two right-handed defencemen, while Rielly, Gardiner, Hainsey are all left-handed, but Hainsey can play on his off-side. Those five are the obvious choices to crack the roster, while the other two slots will be filled by Martin Marincin, Calle Rosen, Andreas Borgman, or Travis Dermott, all of whom are left-handed. Marincin would have to go through waivers if he doesn’t crack the team, and the other three don’t, making him a fairly certain option to be one of those final two defencemen.
So, Leafs Nation, who are your seven defenceman? Who plays with who? Do you split up the successful pairing of Gardiner and Carrick? Do you seek out a veteran defenceman through a PTO before the season? Who gets deployed in what situation? Who are you putting on the ice to defend a lead with a minute to go in a game? There are lots of questions and only a few weeks left until training camp starts and we have real things to talk about!