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Line Juggling

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hobarth:
Bunting-Matthews-Kase

Mikheyev-Tavares-Marner

Kerfoot-Kampf-Nylander

Engvall-Spezza-Simmonds

Extra: Ritchie, Clifford

These were the lines from practice yesterday, Keefe said these were something that they wanted to try since the beginning of the year but injuries have got in the way.

I like to see Mitch and Austin separated, I really feel that AM is hot when he's hot and not when he's not, he's not dependent on his linemates to score, I think JT is consistently better with better linemates. I don't think AM is a reliable puck mover from DZ to OZ so I wouldn't mind seeing Engvall on that line just for possession sake and I believe Engvall could be as productive offensively as Bunting.

With JT and MM able to have decent possession I think Kerfoot should remain on the 2nd, he's having a career year but only because he's not being relied on as a center.

The 3rd line of Bunting/Nylander/Mikeyev would be very reliant on Nylander to move the puck but if Keefe can give them the proper role, against opposition's 3rd lines, this line might have decent potential both offensively and defensively as all 3 are dog on a bone determined.

Kampf is a 4th line center in every way who's limitations were masked by playing with Kase, Engvall, Mikeyev, his possession abilities might be more valuable against other's 4th lines. We are seeing the Spezza that Dallas didn't want at any money and Simmonds when motivated is a very good 4th liner but he provides little value anywhere else. Lately TO's 4th line has been horrendous except in rare games but then Ritchie, Clifford, Anderson, Seney plus others haven't provided a lot of value so Spezza it is I guess.

I hate the nights when it looks like TO has nothing in the tank and the commentators spend the evening making excuses like tiredness, altitude, injuries, +, TO has a great record and being satisfied with this team, this core, going into February hasn't worked and hasn't gotten them over the hump of even a single playoff round win, TO needs this experimentation.

Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate:
I agree, they are a lock for the playoffs and the first round matchup will be tough no matter where they land, so experimenting with 3 lines that can (might be able to?) score is a good idea.

That said, I'm not sure the first line is sustainable and the 3rd line depends on Kerfoot feeding Nylander consistently.  Maybe he can, maybe no.

Spezza has begun to look Thornton-ish-done-ish lately but that may just be a slump.  In any case, the fourth line is intriguing.

What we need is Ritchie to be a better player.

Guilt Trip:

--- Quote from: Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate on January 25, 2022, 01:02:26 PM ---I agree, they are a lock for the playoffs and the first round matchup will be tough no matter where they land, so experimenting with 3 lines that can (might be able to?) score is a good idea.

That said, I'm not sure the first line is sustainable and the 3rd line depends on Kerfoot feeding Nylander consistently.  Maybe he can, maybe no.

Spezza has begun to look Thornton-ish-done-ish lately but that may just be a slump.  In any case, the fourth line is intriguing.

What we need is Ritchie to be a better player.

--- End quote ---
I think Spezza is in a bit of a slump but having Clifford as a linemate is a terrible option. Anderson was a lot better and the line was pretty good against the Isles.

CarltonTheBear:

--- Quote from: Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate on January 25, 2022, 01:02:26 PM ---Spezza has begun to look Thornton-ish-done-ish lately but that may just be a slump.  In any case, the fourth line is intriguing.
--- End quote ---

I think one issue with Spezza that's gone a little unnoted is that he's been tasked with primarily playing centre this season when it's actually something he rarely did in his first 2 seasons here, especially last season. It seems clear he's better suited for wing at this point in his career but it's tough to make that work in a line-up right now when we a) need a 4C and b) have Simmonds in the line-up who takes up the 4RW spot.

It's why Engvall is pretty important to that 4th line's success because he a) provides a burst of speed that guys like Ritchie or Clifford didn't and b) can handle those centre/defensive responsibilities so Spez doesn't have to. Hopefully we get to see this line together for a decent stretch of games.

Dappleganger:
I think after a TV timeout you run a line of Nylander - Matthews - Marner followed by a line of Spezza - Tavares - Simmonds then back to the regular Matthews line.

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