Auston Matthews and Justin Bieber drafting a solid team at the All-Star Draft
Photo credit: NHL

Lineup combinations for Team Matthews ahead of tomorrow's All-Star Game

Published February 2, 2024 at 12:53
BY MIKE ARMENTI

Last night, in case you missed it, the NHL's All-Star Draft occurred, with Teams Hughes, Matthews, MacKinnon and McDavid having selected their teams with the help of their celebrity co-captains and assistant captains. Team Matthews breaks down as follows:


Team Matthews took a pretty methodical approach to the draft, mixing things up and drafting a very game goaltending tandem, as well as a nice blend of playmakers and goal scorers. Of course, it helps when you yourself are the best goal scorer on the planet and Team Matthews certainly looks, at least on paper, to be a formidable group.

As far as how they'll separate into lines, I'm sure we'll see a few different combinations tomorrow afternoon during the game, but if it were me, this is how I'd compose the lines.


Keller - Matthews - Marner
Rielly - Barzal - Nylander
Forsberg - Trocheck - DeBrincat

Oettinger
Shesterkin

Obviously, we know how close Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner are. However, Matthews has been close with Clayton Keller since they played junior hockey together as 15, 16-year-olds. Matthews was thrilled to be able to draft Keller. After his Leafs teammates and goaltender Jake Oettinger, Keller was Matthews' first pick from another team. It only makes sense to have the two play together.

Meanwhile, Rielly, the team's alternate captain, and the team's first pick, William Nylander are likely both going to draw in on the team's 2nd line. If that's the case, I'd slap Barzal in between them, as Barzal is an exceptional playmaker with tremendous speed and can find Nylander in the dangerous areas with ease. Rielly, who has taken huge strides defensively this season, can help to give the line a bit of defensive responsibility. He's also an excellent skater, so he'll mesh well with Barzal and Nylander, who might be the two best skaters on the team.

The 3rd line, in my opinion, should feature Filip Forsberg, Vincent Trocheck and Alex DeBrincat. This would create nightmare mismatches against other groups' 3rd lines. DeBrincat is a former 40-goal scorer, Trocheck is an excellent playmaker and Forsberg is the best of both worlds. He can put the puck in the net, but also distribute it extremely well.

Really, though, there are no wrong answers with this group. They could just as easily go with any of these combinations and still be among the most dangerous teams out there:

Nylander-Matthews-Keller
Forsberg-Barzal-Marner
Rielly-Trocheck-DeBrincat

DeBrincat-Matthews-Marner
Rielly-Trocheck-Nylander
Forsberg-Barzal-Keller

Rielly-Matthews-Nylander
Forsberg-Trocheck-Marner
Keller-Barzal-DeBrincat

Forsberg-Matthews-Marner
Rielly-Barzal-Nylander
Keller-Trocheck-DeBrincat

The possibilities really are endless. That's the beauty of the All-Star Game; almost all of these guys are the top players for their respective teams.
POLL
February 2   |   724 answers
Lineup combinations for Team Matthews ahead of tomorrow's All-Star Game

Should the Leafs run an all-Leafs top line at the All-Star Game, featuring Nylander, Matthews and Marner?

Yes, definitely45763.1 %
No, that's boring11816.3 %
Maybe go 2 Leafs on each of the top 2 lines14920.6 %
Don't care. Not going to watch anyway00 %
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