Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What the Maple Leafs could look like on opening day

Maple Leafs fans we are just a few weeks from training camp, thats right Leafs Nation just a few weeks away from September and another run by our beloved Buds to end this playoff misery that we having been suffering from since the end of the lockout.

The Leafs have made a few changes from the club that ended the season in April:

In: Tim Connolly, Matthew Lombardi, Cody Fransen and Philippe Dupuis

Re-signed: James Reimer, Carl Gunnarsson, Clarke MacArthur, Tyler Bozak, Jay Rosehill, Darryl Boyce, Mike Zigomanis, Matt Lashoff, Luca Caputi, Ben Scrivens and Joey Crabb

Out: J.S. Giguere, Tim Brent, Brett Lebda, Fredrik Sjostrom and Christian Hanson

The club has yet to sign restricted free agent defensemen Luke Schenn but this should just be a matter of time as the club decides on a 3 or 5 year pact for Schenn who came into his own last season.

Coach Ron Wilson got this club to play great in the latter half of last season, lets hope that this was not another mirage. Tim Connolly will be asked to fill the #1 center spot along side sniper Phil Kessel while Matthew Lombardi's health is a concern but if he can recover from his head injury the Buds look set down the middle with Connolly, Grabovski, Lombardi and Bozak. The middle spot last season was a sore spot for the club.

The Leafs at this point look like they will be going with a young tandem behind the pipes with current starter James Reimer who will likely be backed up by Jonas Gustavsson unless the club signs a veteran puck stopper, look for Ben Scrivens to push the Monster for the back up role at camp.

The back end looks to be just about the same as it was when last season ended with Brett Lebda out and Cody Fransen in, a definite upgrade. The Leafs will also have some youngsters trying to grab a spot with the big club Nazem Kadri, Matt Frattin and Marcel Mueller fit the bill here.

The Leafs will break camp with 23 men on the roster, the likely breakdown will be 2 goaltenders, 7 defensemen and 14 forwards, who will these players be and what might the line combinations and defense pairings be? Well lets see...

James Reimer, Jonas Gustavsson

Dion Phaneuf paired with Keith Aulie
Luke Schenn paired with John-Michael Liles
Cody Fransen paired with Carl Gunnarsson
extra      Mike Komisarek

Tim Connolly centering Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul
Mikhail Grabovski centering Clarke MacArthur and Nikolai Kulemin
Matthew Lombardi centering Colby Armstrong and Nazem Kadri
Tyler Bozak centering Colton Orr and Mike Brown
extra        Darryl Boyce and Jay Rosehill

Well Leafs Nation it is an exciting time as always as the season nears what are the Buds going to do this season, we can only hope for the best....

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