Leafs make several significant lineup changes ahead of matchup with Flyers

Published April 19, 2022 at 6:52 PM
BY MIKE ARMENTI
The Leafs are set to face off against the Philadelphia Flyers within the hour, but with Auston Matthews set to miss his second straight game, Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe has thrown the lines back into the blender.

Per The Athletic's Jonas Siegel, the Leafs have elevated Ilya Mikheyev and Colin Blackwell to the top line to play alongside Leafs captain John Tavares. Mikheyev has seen plenty of time within the team's top six this season, but I believe this is his first look on the top line. Meanwhile, Blackwell has been, in large, used as the team's 4th line center. It is worth noting that Blackwell spent time in the top six in both New York with the Rangers and with the Seattle Kraken.

Pierre Engvall and William Nylander will flank Alex Kerfoot, who will be filling in at center on the second line. Nylander and Kerfoot had shown tremendous chemistry playing together during the playoff series against the Montreal Canadiens last season. Engvall has been a pleasant surprise for the Buds this season, posting career highs in goals (14), assists (17) and points (31) in his first full NHL season. It will be intriguing to see what he can do with more ice time.

The biggest change comes on the team's third line. Per Siegel's line projections, rookie Nick Abruzzese will be centering a line between Michael Bunting and Mitch Marner. I'd imagine that this line will not stay together throughout the whole game, as I'm sure Bunting and Marner will end up playing more minutes than Abruzzese. Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see how this line shows tonight.


David Kampf, the team's usual 3C, will slide down to the 4th line to center a line with Wayne Simmonds and Jason Spezza. No changes to the D pairings as Rielly will play alongside Lyubushkin, Brodie will slot in next to Justin Holl and the Giordano and Liljegren pairing remains as well. Jack Campbell will draw the start in goal.

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