Due to the broken finger suffered against the Washington Capitals ruling centre John Tavares out, the Maple Leafs have unveiled their new forward lines for the next couple of weeks with the all-star centre recovering.
New Maple Leafs lines:
Nylander taking Tavares's bumper spot on PP1.
— luke fox (@lukefoxjukebox) October 18, 2019
The first line has stayed cemented — even with the possibility of Nylander playing centre — while Kerfoot has moved up into the spot that Tavares occupied previously. The former Avalanche forward has been looking solid for a couple games recently and this streak of big minutes will surely put his skill to the test. Through eight games this season, Kerfoot has scored two goals and four points.
Joining him after a late-game promotion to the Tavares line in the game against the Caps, is fan favourite Ilya Mikheyev. The soupy forward has impressed and been without a doubt one of the most entertaining players on this Toronto team through the eight games. He already has familiarity with Kerfoot, as they were on the third line together with Trevor Moore.
After being a healthy scratch for a while now, Jason Spezza has returned into the Leafs lineup and has earned a promotion at the same time. The new third line centre will be playing in between Moore and Kasperi Kapanen — surely to be a couple of annoying wingers to play against with all that speed down the sides.
One added effect of Tavares’s absence will be the top power play unit, but his bumper role in the middle of the ice is to be taken up by William Nylander for the tie being. The 22-year-old forward was clearly the best player on the second unit and will now have a chance to reap the benefits of playing alongside Matthews, Marner, Johnsson, and Rielly during the man advantage.
The Leafs are hosting the Boston Bruins on Saturday night for the first time this season. It should prove to be a gigantic test for this new-look forward group.