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Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski / USA TODAY Sports

WWYDW: Uncle Leo’s role

We often bicker about how Matt Martin slots into the lineup every night rather than younger, more promising wingers like Nikita Soshnikov or Josh Leivo. But while Martin tends to be the focus of frustration in regards to forwards, Leo Komarov has slid under the radar with a very poor season thus far.

Through 28 games, Uncle Leo has only three goals and four assists. I mean, points aren’t everything, obviously, but Komarov also boasts the worst shot attempt differential of any regular Leafs forward. That isn’t a good thing, especially considering he’s getting largely getting played in the top-nine.

The Leafs are letting Komarov roll on the team’s second line with Daddy Marleau and Nazem Kadri tonight. Those two have been his most common linemates at even strength this season. But when Komarov is on the ice with Kadri and Marleau, both players have inferior shot differential numbers to when they’re playing with somebody else. It’s the same case with Komarov and his next-most common linemates, Connor Brown and William Nylander. Up and down the roster, forwards have their shot numbers deteriorate when playing with Komarov this season. Source.

I understand the logic of wanting a feisty player like Komarov in your top-six. Last season, he was a solid contributor in that role, posting 14 goals and 18 assists with decent shot numbers. But this year, the wheels have fallen off and Komarov doesn’t look like the same gritty, catalyst who could augment an offensive line with 200-foot play like he did last season.

So What Do You Do (Wednesday) about Uncle Leo? Do you let him ride it out in the role he’s been successful in in the past? The team is doing pretty well, so is this even an issue? Or do you slide him on to the fourth line, bumping up William Nylander in the process?


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  • leafdreamer

    Uncle Leo is always on the ice against top lines when the opposition is chasing the score, he’s starting in the defensive zone whenever there’s a particularly dangerous situation and he’s our best penalty killers. He’s also a pest and a physical player, a funny guy in the locker room and a mentor to many of the kids coming up from Russia, Finland and Sweden as he speaks alm those and a few other languages. He’s a hard working heart and soul kind of player and I feel that Lou and Babs will hold on to him as long as possible as they should despite your advice.

    Also, at what point are you going to realize that Babcock does not deploy traditional 1-4 lines structure – he likes to have 4 first lines each one ideally made up of a grinder, a sniper and a playmaker. That’s why he hadn’t granted your wish of playing 4 lines of ‘skill’ players all of whom can shoot but cannot defend or win the puck on the boards or traditional 2 scoring lines with a matchup 3rd defensive line and 4th ‘energy’ line composed of 3 grinders like Komarov, Martin, Hyman, Moore etc.