David fuckin Pastrnak. Pasta. Carbs. He is killing me. He is killing you. Consider the fact that he is skating with two all-world linemates in Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, this guy is being given the world on a silver platter. He is every goalie in the NHL’s current worst nightmare. And the Maple Leafs, namely Mike Babcock, could learn a thing or two from Bruce Cassidy’s in-your-face Bruins.
The traditional school of thought dictates that you be strongest up the middle. And Babcock will never be confused with being progressive, that’s for sure. He likes his talent evenly spread, and strong up the guts. He also can often be seen mumbling swear words while chomping down on a bologna sandwich after practice. Nobody knows what he’s saying, and quite frankly, nobody wants to know. And certainly nobody is going to tell him that he now has mustard on his latest vest! But what if Boston is showing the currently punchless Leafs the blueprint (wink) on how to maximize their offence?
Consider this: You take the bulk of PP1, which is Matthews, Tavares, and Marner. Put them on a line. It won’t be confused with the most gritty of the league, but what a world beater! I’d then propose that you make the second line centered by William Nylander, who would in turn be flanked by Zach Hyman and Kasperi Kapanen. I’d then demote Andreas Johnsson to the 3rd line, and try him out at RW. Keeping the fourth line intact, it would look something like this:
Matthews – Tavares – Marner
Hyman – Nylander – Kapanen
Mikheyev- Kerfoot- Johnsson
Timashov- Spezza- Goat
Extra: Moore, Shore, Petan
As you can see, not only does the super-line up top work, the other lines aren’t overly suffering. In fact, Moore is too good of a player, and has too much grit, to be not playing on the Leafs. They have a surplus of forwards, so why not use it to your advantage? This also lightens the load on Matthews, who can focus on doing what he does best: wearing fancy suits and growing weird moustaches. Just kidding. He’d score 60 in his sleep playing with Tavares and Marner.
With the success the unstoppable Bruins are having, and now suddenly the Drai and McDavid show in Edmonton, this is a look the struggling Leafs should consider giving a shot.