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Photo Credit: © Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

TheLeafsNation Top 25 of 2020: #9 — Projecting the Leafs Opening Night Lineup for the 2020-21 Season

Welcome to the yearly wrap up of the top read articles over the last year!

With free agency and the draft wrapping up in early October, the focus shifted to the start of the 2020-21 season.

And on Oct. 18, TLN writer Michael Mazzei broke down what the Leafs lineup could look like.

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It was the ninth most-read article this year.

Projecting the Leafs Opening Night Lineup for the 2020-21 Season

Here’s the lineup that Mazzei projects and how he summarized it:

Hyman-Matthews-Marner

Mikheyev-Tavares-Nylander

Robertson-Thornton-Kerfoot

Vesey-Spezza-Simmonds

EXTRA: Anderson-Engvall-Barbanov

Rielly-Brodie

Muzzin-Holl

Dermott-Lehtonen

Extra: Sandin-Bogosian, Marincin

Andersen

Campbell

Dell

The most significant changes to the lineup will be in the bottom half for both forwards and defencemen. While top-six should likely be untouched, the amount of quality forwards at Keefe’s disposal should present him with challenges in how to properly adjust the lines and get the most out of his depth.

Barrie and Cody Ceci’s departure opens the door for three new arrivals to help buff up the blue line that was in desperate need of improvements. Goaltending remains virtually unchanged apart from the addition of a third-string netminder. Special teams also see minimal adjustments with the exception of the second power-play unit.

Even if one of the players I slotted into the projected lines gets dealt in the coming weeks to free up cap space, it’s hard to argue that Toronto didn’t do a great job at bringing in some quality players without compromising one of the big four.

Whoever the Leafs play on the first game of the 2020-21 season could be in for a rough night having to match up against these lines, whenever that may be.

On Twitter: @zjlaing

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