Third line could prove key to Toronto Maple Leafs’ success this season

The Toronto Maple Leafs enter the 2022-23 season desperate to progress beyond the first round of the playoffs, and this year’s roster should have a serious chance of achieving that.
The Leafs have fallen short of playoff expectations in the past couple of seasons, suffering back-to-back game seven eliminations against the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning respectively. Coincidentally, both teams reached the Stanley Cup Finals. However, the two series felt completely different from the Leafs’ perspective.
The 2021 collapse to the Canadiens felt like the Leafs were their own worst enemies, with some sloppy decisions resulting in Montreal’s comeback from a 3-1 deficit, while the 2022 series was much closer and the narrow 2-1 defeat in game seven felt like a genuine disappointment after such a strong showing.
This year, the team will be determined to overcome six consecutive years of first-round eliminations and will look to build on the positives from the nail-biting seven-game series against the Lightning. However, they will do so with quite a different-looking bottom-six forward group.
The likes of Ondřej Kaše, Ilya Mikheyev and Jason Spezza are no longer with the team, so a new-look bottom half will be seen on the ice this season. It’s arguably the biggest shake-up the team have had, …

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Author: James Reeve / The Leafs Nation