Author Topic: Line Juggling  (Read 586 times)

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Offline hobarth

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Line Juggling
« on: January 25, 2022, 12:34:44 PM »
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.

Online Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate

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Re: Line Juggling
« Reply #1 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.

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Re: Line Juggling
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2022, 01:02:26 PM »

Offline Guilt Trip

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Re: Line Juggling
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2022, 01:19:28 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.
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.

Offline CarltonTheBear

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Re: Line Juggling
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2022, 01:42:01 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.

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.

Offline Dappleganger

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Re: Line Juggling
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2022, 01:50:40 PM »
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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Re: Line Juggling
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2022, 04:24:42 PM »
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.

Sounds good to me.

Offline Guilt Trip

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Re: Line Juggling
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2022, 04:36:24 PM »
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.

Sounds good to me.
I'll pass. That line is way too slow. JT, Mikheyev, Kerfoot or similar would be better.

Offline hobarth

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Re: Line Juggling
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2022, 11:25:49 PM »
At one point it was 5 shots for Engvall, 5 for the d and about 7 for the rest of the team, why not elevate Engvall, he might help JT and Nylander, they aren't helping themselves and Kerfoot.....

On 2 of the goals against Rielly basically pulled up a chair and watched rather than try to do anything.

Offline Arn

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Re: Line Juggling
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2022, 04:58:31 AM »
Did Rielly sleep with your wife or something?
I Saw Jay McClement Score.

Offline hobarth

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Re: Line Juggling
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2022, 02:51:58 PM »
I think GMs like players can get nervous this time of year, the teams they preside over appear ready to contend so they spend, usually the future, but we all know only one team wins it all. Realistically, TO doesn't look ready to truly contend but a team like Montreal went to the finals last year so what exactly is realistic.

I don't think that the lines we keep seeing are ideal, Matthews with Marner guarantees Matthews 60 goals but is that 60 goals all we have to look forward to, year after year? The 2nd line isn't great, the 3rd acceptable and the 4th horrendous. Dubie can try to trade TO into a better team, not realistic, or Keefe can try to mix things up hoping for a more dynamic mix.

Line ideas I'd try because the forwards aren't committed to helping defend:

Bunting/Matthews/Mikheyev

Engvall/JT/Marner

Robertson/Kerfoot/Nylander

Joey Anderson/Kampf/Kase

Simmonds and Spezza aren't decent enough for even 4th line duty anymore, the puck lives in TO zone when they're on the ice together.

D pairings need far more help from the forwards to be effective so really Keefe can do whatever he wants there but Keefe must find a way to wake up the inner defensive attributes of the forwards, something like what we saw from Buffalo, clog up the zone infront of goaltenders.

It seems to me that pretty well every goal scored against TO is a deflection, nobody is interfering with the opposition's sticks but the 2 d-men can't be everywhere. I'm sure that the goalies will be far better without feeling abandoned by the team which is how I'd feel as a Leaf goalie. TO has decent goaltending, trading for upgrades isn't the answer, one of them getting hot is.

Offline Guilt Trip

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Re: Line Juggling
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2022, 05:12:38 PM »
Simmonds and Spezza aren't decent enough for even 4th line duty anymore, the puck lives in TO zone when they're on the ice together.

Simmonds and Spezza have a CF% of 51.84%. 177 SCF, 157 SCA in all scenarios. Anytime your 4th line guys are on the plus side of 50%, it's a good thing.

Offline hobarth

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Re: Line Juggling
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2022, 05:41:12 PM »
Simmonds and Spezza aren't decent enough for even 4th line duty anymore, the puck lives in TO zone when they're on the ice together.

Simmonds and Spezza have a CF% of 51.84%. 177 SCF, 157 SCA in all scenarios. Anytime your 4th line guys are on the plus side of 50%, it's a good thing.

TO had one of the best goalies in the NHL, TO's defensive #s were awesome earlier in the year, that's the past, what's also in the past is that TO hasn't progressed beyond the 1st round of the playoffs in eons. Simmonds and Spezza aren't living up to the possession figures they have now because their best numbers were from earlier in the season, not how they've been playing now. Load management problem, maybe, but who can afford to have 2 or any players that can't play everyday when healthy. I'd rather see Robertson and Anderson playing and learning now.