Lupul Bozak Kessel
JVR Grab Kulemin
Mac Con Frattin
Armstrong Steckel Brown
How do our forwards look so far? Is it good enough if no changes made? Obviously we need a 1C, to drop bozak down to 3 and get rid of connolly, easier said then done...second line looks beautiful...would love kadri on that 3rd line, but regardless of him or mac i think we need a bigger and grittier LW with con/bozak and frattin, Penner would be near perfect...imo armstrong steckel and brown make up a very strong 4th line with size, grit and energy
Looks like it's getting slowly upgraded, but we do need one more big trade to solidify the whole thing, either a high profile one for one like Schenn for JVR with a better defenseman going and center coming back like Gardiner for Duchene for example, or a quantity package for a Jordan Staal type deal, or the major coming out party of a Colborne or Kadri. I think then I could start getting excited about the forward group.
I know the first one is very unlikely, but I'm hoping Kadri has a big summer and comes into camp impressing everyone and earns that spot. TBH an extended summer would probably be good for him and let him have that summer.
If we can somehow pick up a top line calibre center, we'd have a pretty deep looking offense.
Easier said than done, but I'd rather see Lombardi than Connolly on the third line.
That said, not sure whether Burke is going to go all-out to get that checking line that Carlyle loves to use. (Remember Burke's introductory press conference, where he said he had a clear line of demarcation between top and bottom-six forwards?)
I don't see Kadri or Connolly in that role at all (Connolly played the shutdown role occasionally last season, but he's not quite physical enough for Carlyle's liking)... and I have a feeling that it's either Frattin OR Kadri up this season, not both, unless Carlyle feels that Frattin has the size to be on his third line.
Anyone else think JVR might end up going back to C?
Originally Posted by Eb
Switch Frattin and Kadri. Have Frattin and Kuli ever played together?
Frattin and Kuli were occasionally on the 2nd line together last year when Wilson was shuffling lines back and forth.
I'm hesitant to say this, but with the addition of JvR, the Leafs probably do have most of what they need up front to compete for a playoff spot.
Assuming JvR can stay healthy and continue developing (specifically in the power forward aspects of the game), he should supplant Joffrey Lupul as Kessel's winger and help get our top unit's +/- to a much more respectable level (simply by virtue of that line spending more time in the offensive zone). That in turn may actually allow Tim Connolly to thrive in an increased role.
A similar story for Nikolai Kulemin, who if he can regain his confidence would hopefully find similar success to what he, MacArthur and Grabovski had in 2010-2011.
That being said, you look at the group, and we probably have at least 2 too many. Both Frattin & Kadri have to play, and assuming the 4th line is Brown-Steckel-Armstrong, that leaves only 1 spot on the wings. You've also got Matt Lombardi, who doesn't seem to fit in anywhere either. I think they're also a little bit short on the physicality to play a Randy Carlyle game.
If Steve Ott or Brenden Morrow are available, they'd really be the perfect addition. Ship Mac & Kadri out... and you've got something like this:
To me at least, that's a lineup that may not have the starpower, but isn't one you look forward to playing on any given night. You've got explosive players with quick-strike ability throughout the lineup, along with some size that makes it difficult to sit back against them. No real defensive liabilities either. Very difficult to defend against because unlike last year's team, they can beat you in different ways.... not entirely reliant on scoring off the rush.
Move Lombardi, Connelly and add Gaustad. I think he would bring much more to the team even though Connelly would put up more numbers..Physical, good faceoffs, mean streak , finishes checks, works hard, willing to fight.. Imo, he would be a great fit for our 3rd line..
I think both Kadri and Frattin will be up next season. I also think IF Connolly stays healthy (that's a big IF), he may be able to get some chemistry going with Lups and Kessel. Kadri isn't big enough to play on the 3rd line - nor is he good enough at checking. I can see MacA and Lombo getting traded - probs have Armstrong in the pressbox.
It's amazing seeing the leafs having so much money (MacArthur/Armstrong/Connolly/Lombardi) tied up in 4 players that don't have/warrant a spot on the team...this doesn't even include Komi on the backend!
$14,500,000.00 tied up in those 4! Just imagine what we could do with that money...hmmm
If the leafs of the (very near) future can find a way to move 2/5 mentioned above, I'll be happy...lowered expectations.