Ryan’s Opening Night Roster


“In order for things to get better, the Leafs have to ice rosters like this for a bit. I’m sorry, too.” – an apologetic Cat Silverman

Leading up to opening night for the Leafs next Wednesday, we’re going to continue to supply everyone with rosters drawn up by each of our writers. It’s a painful process when the team is this horrid, and I really wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. But that’s what we do here at TLN: suffer through this team so you don’t have to (as much).

Yesterday Jon took a stab at creating a potential Leafs lineup, and used a few unconventional moves in doing so, then Cat followed up with her version of the team earlier today. Both had their share of takes. My roster might be the most boring of the bunch, but follow past the jump anyway and tell me how much you hate it.

The Forwards

van Riemsdyk – Kadri – Parenteau

In terms of generating offence, this is about as good as it gets. Kadri is solid at pushing the puck in the right direction and the other two have some nice finishing power in their arsenals. This might seem like putting all your offensive eggs in one basket, so the other lines will be hurting, but hey, there’s going to be plenty of pain to go around all year anyway so we might as well get a few nice goals out of this.

Grabner – Holland – Winnik

I really like this line. The team is obviously still a complete wreck at center, but Holland has enough skill to create offence, as does Grabner, and then we have Winnik as sort of the all-round responsible dad of the line. 

In NHL 2003, if you created this line, I’m betting they’d get a 100 for chemistry. Or at least an 80.

Lupul – Bozak – Matthias

Not gonna lie, I was really close to following in Jon’s footsteps and waiving Lupul…but I caved. Anyway, I don’t want to talk about this line, so we’re moving on.

Komarov – Arcobello – Boyes

Komarov and Arcobello make a lot of sense here, but Boyes obviously can provide enough offence to move up the lineup. Actually all three aren’t bad in that area, so if Babcock rolls four lines, which he’s basically obligated to do to an extent, this is as good a fourth line as you can send out there. Orr and McLaren seem like such a distant memory.

The Defence

Rielly – Gardiner

Babcock kept these two apart over training camp and it’s totally up in the air whether he’ll pair them as the season goes on, but these are the Leafs’ best two blue-liners by a fairly wide margin and I think they should just be fed major minutes. Again, this might be a case of loading up one unit too much while the other two pairings suffer, but playing the hell out of these guys and dialing it back on Phaneuf in particular seems like the way to go. 

Marincin – Phaneuf

Solid young player who’s supposedly good at preventing zone entries paired with a defensive black hole. Sounds fine to me.

Harrington – Hunwick

Harrington makes it in over Robidas because he’s had a solid camp and, well, Robidas is far beyond ever being an effective player for this team again. Hunwick also had a nice showing over the last couple weeks, and he’s reliable enough to guide Harrington as he gets his career underway in limited minutes.

The Goaltenders

Bernier and Reimer, in that order, obviously.

The Press Box

My lines and overall roster isn’t the same as Jon’s, but our reserves will be the same. Spaling, Panik and Polak get to track Corsi in the rafters, while Robidas gets straight-up cut, waived, and sent to the Marlies.

      • Gary Empey

        Unfortunately the people of TLN are helpless to institute effective change. We can only critique the status quo.

        Of course all the TLNers could put on their Kadri jerseys, make up some banners and placards, stop some traffic on Yonge St., and invade Leafs Lunch demanding Kadri center the number one line.

        This would not work for “reimerfan” cause you would need at least two people to hold up a banner.

    • silentbob

      In the past I’ve been one of the first to say that while I loved the idea of Kadri playing on the 1st line with Kessel, he never really proved he belonged on the line/deserved that spot. It seemed like every coach gave him an opportunity to play there, and he didn’t impress any of them enough to bump Bozak full time (or maybe, if the reports of management backing players instead of coaches were true, Kessel just didn’t want to play with him….)

      But this year is very different. Kessel is gone, and Bozak’s hold on that #1 spot was/seemed to be very dependent on his chemistry/relationship with Kessel. That’s done, so I think we can/should assume that this year the job/spot will go to the best center on the team.

  • Gary Empey

    I’m sick of seeing your face as you what? Take post game questions as a ghost.

    No one wants to see it. Please change it. You ruin comments. I don’t even read what you have to say because your picture is so awful.

    – Love everyone

    • Gary Empey

      I will take your constructive criticism under advisement. Rest assured I am sick of seeing my face as well. The hard part for me will be to figure out how I got the gravatar to work in the first place.