Leafs Game 1 lineup projections

Published April 30, 2022 at 2:03 PM
BY RYAN SMITHERAM
The Leafs took the opportunity the past few weeks to rest up some of their big guns to prevent injuries and let them heal their bumps and bruises. Friday night's finale saw Matthews, Marner, Tavares and Campbell all sit while the Leafs went with 7 defensemen to better manage minutes for their top 4. Friday also provided the Leafs with some good news on the injury front with regards to Michael Bunting, Ondrej Kase and Rasmus Sandin.

Kase wont be ready for Game 1 but will be ready at some point during the series. The same can be said for Sandin. Sandin however likely won't draw into the lineup unless there in an injury of some sort. Bunting on the other hand has a possibility of playing in Game 1 as long as things go well with practice Sunday. If Bunting is able to play Monday, the Leafs could roll out a forward group that looks like this:

Bunting - Matthews - Marner

Mikheyev - Tavares - Nylander


Engvall - Kamp - Kerfoot

Simmonds - Blackwell - Spezza

If Bunting is unable to play Monday I would expect Mikheyev, Kerfoot and Blackwell to slide up in the lineup while Spezza slides to Center on the 4th line and Clifford is inserted into the wing on that line.

On the blue line the Leafs will continue to run with what they ended the season with. That being:

Rielly - Lyubushkin

Brodie - Muzzin

Giordano - Liljegren

Lyubushkin has given Rielly and solid, physical, stay at home partner since joining the Leafs and has allowed the Leafs to move Brodie with Muzzin in a shutdown type role. The third pairing of Giordano and Liljegren has been outstanding and since being paired with Giordano, Liljegren has taken his game to an entirely new level and has shown an abundance of confidence in his skill set.

Leaf fans finally get what we've been hoping for in that Holl is no longer in the top 6 thanks to the play of Liljegren and the poor/up and down play of Holl himself.

Of course between the pipes Campbell will carry the load for the Leafs with Kallgren as the backup. For the Leafs to win the series they don't need exceptional goaltending. As long as they can get average goaltending they should be able to win the series against Tampa.
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