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Photo Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Maple Leafs Pregame #16: 5 Things to Watch against the Kings

No matter how much people try to get me to care what Drew Doughty thinks you won’t be successful and frankly it doesn’t really change the way I view a Tuesday night game against the Kings. Los Angeles is a terrible team and the Leafs need to continue getting their season on track. This a chance for an easier win and anything less than that will be met with disappointment.

Lineups

LW C RW Forwards
Andreas Johnsson
ANDREAS JOHNSSON

Rating: 73.9#44 LW

Auston Matthews
AUSTON MATTHEWS

Rating: 80.1#7 C

William Nylander
WILLIAM NYLANDER

Rating: 73.5#44 RW

FL1 Rating
Rating: 75.83#15 FL1
Ilya Mikheyev
ILYA MIKHEYEV

Rating: 74.4#34 LW

Alexander Kerfoot
ALEXANDER KERFOOT

Rating: 72.7#92 C

Mitch Marner
MITCH MARNER

Rating: 78.6#12 RW

FL2 Rating
Rating: 75.25#7 FL2
Trevor Moore
TREVOR MOORE

Rating: 70.9#110 LW

Jason Spezza
JASON SPEZZA

Rating: 70.1#164 C

Kasperi Kapanen
KASPERI KAPANEN

Rating: 72.8#54 RW

FL3 Rating
Rating: 71.24#24 FL3
Dmytro Timashov
DMYTRO TIMASHOV

Rating: 73.3#54 LW

Nick Shore
NICK SHORE

Rating: 70.8#138 C

Frederik Gauthier
FREDERIK GAUTHIER

Rating: 68.8#114 RW

FL4 Rating
Rating: 70.95#12 FL4
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS Defense
Morgan Rielly
MORGAN RIELLY

Rating: 76.8#8 LD

Cody Ceci
CODY CECI

Rating: 71.7#83 RD

DL1 Rating
Rating: 74.24#18 DL1
Jake Muzzin
JAKE MUZZIN

Rating: 75.2#18 LD

Tyson Barrie
TYSON BARRIE

Rating: 75.5#20 RD

DL2 Rating
Rating: 75.38#2 DL2
Travis Dermott
TRAVIS DERMOTT

Rating: 72.9#65 LD

Justin Holl
JUSTIN HOLL

Rating: 73.2#49 RD

DL3 Rating
Rating: 73.03#11 DL3

Well, I mean other than the fact that Tavares is healthy,and on a line with Moore and Marner, and Mikheyev and Kerfoot are playing with Kapanen, those lines are accurate.

LW C RW Forwards
Carl Grundstrom
CARL GRUNDSTROM

Rating: 73.8#46 LW

Anze Kopitar
ANZE KOPITAR

Rating: 75.7#34 C

Jeff Carter
JEFF CARTER

Rating: 72.8#85 RW

FL1 Rating
Rating: 74.11#27 FL1
Ilya Kovalchuk
ILYA KOVALCHUK

Rating: 73.0#50 LW

Blake Lizotte
BLAKE LIZOTTE

Rating: 73.2#73 C

Tyler Toffoli
TYLER TOFFOLI

Rating: 72.5#57 RW

FL2 Rating
Rating: 72.90#23 FL2
Alex Iafallo
ALEX IAFALLO

Rating: 70.7#117 LW

Adrian Kempe
ADRIAN KEMPE

Rating: 70.7#140 C

Dustin Brown
DUSTIN BROWN

Rating: 73.9#35 RW

FL3 Rating
Rating: 71.76#18 FL3
Kyle Clifford
KYLE CLIFFORD

Rating: 71.4#94 LW

Mike Amadio
MIKE AMADIO

Rating: 70.6#147 C

Trevor Lewis
TREVOR LEWIS

Rating: 70.3#155 RW

FL4 Rating
Rating: 70.79#18 FL4
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS Defense
Alec Martinez
ALEC MARTINEZ

Rating: 72.4#79 LD

Drew Doughty
DREW DOUGHTY

Rating: 73.2#50 RD

DL1 Rating
Rating: 72.79#28 DL1
Ben Hutton
BEN HUTTON

Rating: 71.2#102 LD

Sean Walker
SEAN WALKER

Rating: 73.0#54 RD

DL2 Rating
Rating: 72.11#29 DL2
Kurtis MacDermid
KURTIS MACDERMID

Rating: 71.3#17 LD

Matt Roy
MATT ROY
DL3 Rating
Rating: 71.29#24 DL3

First line winger Carl Grundstrom. If the trade was for anyone other than Jake Muzzin I’d be upset right now.

And now your five thoughts.

1. Let’s keep riffin’ on Grundstrom

Holy Moly have I liked this guy. The year the Leafs grabbed him at the end of the second round of the draft, I had him pegged as a first round pick. I was psyched and frankly thought it made up the questionable Korshkov pick.

Seeing Grundstrom get sent out the door, and to the Kings of all places hurt, even if it did bring us Jake Muzzin, who presently enjoys all my unconditional love not used up on my family.

In the grandest fashion, expect Grundstrom to burn the Leafs at some point. If Par Lindholm can light up Toronto, Carl Grundstrom seems like he’ll be good for a point or two as well.

2. Is this the last game before Hyman?

If it is, you’d hope to see Timashov, Gauthier, and Shore playing like they mean it. Spezza and Marincin won’t get that chance as they are already relegated to the press box, and that probably doesn’t bode too well for their future. Add Nic Petan to the mix, and we might see him play in for Shore, which adds even more question marks to what is going on in Toronto.

3. Muzzin vs. LA

It will be interesting to see how Muzzin reacts to his old team. He won a couple of cups with these guys, and he’s going to want to put on a show against them, or at least that’s what we’d hope to see.

Muzzin is the lucky one, being able to escape to greener pastures to compete another day, but to see so much of the rest of the core of those cup teams remaining has to leave him feeling on the outside in a game like this. We can only hope that he takes out his feelings on Dustin Brown and Drew Doughty.

4. Andersen loves the Kings

Freddie Andersen is 7-1-2 with a .927 save percentage in his 11 career games against the Kings. It’s safe to say he enjoys these Pacific Division reunions as well.

5. William Nylander thoughts

So Nylander’s scoring hasn’t come back all the way yet and that seems upsetting to some, and he’s certainly an easy mark for discussions around the Leafs needing to be more physical as well. Throw in the fact that William Nylander seems to be in the bad books of Mike Babcock, and it’s not surprising that we’re seeing another uprising against one of the Leafs star players.

Lost in all of that nonsense, are slivers of truther, but also the fact that Nylander has been one of the most defensive responsible players and one of the biggest catalysts for the strong possession game the Leafs have been playing this season. You could also argue that if he consistently had first power play unit time, he’d have closed that scoring gap by now, but that’s not the point I’m trying to make here.

The point is that Nylander is unique among the Leafs young stars, as he plays much more a complete game and arguably is the most consistent 5v5 performer. Learn to love Nylander and accept his flaws. You’ll miss him if he’s gone.