What makes a great forward line? Regardless of which line it is, chemistry is imperative. Understanding strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies will certainly lead to a higher chance of successfully contributing.
It’s difficult to learn these things in training camp, with multiple line combinations being assessed, and players being thrown into different groups, on different wings, and in different scenarios.
Perhaps familiarity is where a coaching staff should start. It’s why we shall see Bunting-Matthews-Marner to start the year. Below them, there are question marks. John Tavares will miss the Leafs opener, which leaves only Nylander as an obvious 2nd liner. Engvall will also miss the opener, leaving yet another hole up front.
Looking at the rest of the forward group, there doesn’t appear to be much familiarity. Kampf is a lock at centre, and the remaining wingers haven’t spent much time, if any, on his line. Dig a little deeper, however, and you might find a couple of new Leafs that have in fact played together.
Zach Aston Reese (ZAR), who is currently on a PTO, went undrafted before attending Northeastern University and played 4 years for the Huskies. During his time in the NCAA, he made the Hockey East All-Star team twice (one 1st Team, and one 2nd Team). He was a Hobey Baker nominee (the most outstanding NCAA Division 1 player), and was voted Hockey East Player of the Year in his senior season.
That same season, Adam Gaudette made the Hockey East All-Star 3rd team and was beginning to forge his own path in the NCAA a …
Author: Bennett Jull / The Leafs Nation