Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Colaiacovo and Kronwall Recalled

Looks like the Leafs are going to dress a rookie-filled lineup to start the season against the Senators on Wednesday. For some reason, Andy Wozniewski initially beat out Colaiacovo for the 6th defenseman role in the Leafs lineup, while Kronwall and Colaiacovo were sent down to the Marlies initially. It turns out that Klee, Berg, and Belak are all injured now, so they recalled Colaiacovo and Kronwall the next day. It's now up to Colaiacovo to make the best of this opportunity, and convince Quinn that he is ready to play in the NHL. It looks like the opening day roster for the Leafs will include six rookies: Steen, Wellwood, Wozniewski, Kronwall, Colaiacovo, and Tellqvist. Wellwood is the 13th/14th forward, and probably will not play unless someone else is injured. The forward lineup is likely to be:

Antropov - Sundin - Ponikarovsky
Tucker - Allison - Czerkawski
Steen - Stajan - O'Neil
Domi - Lindros - Kilger

Spares: Wellwood/Wilm

I love the 1-2-3 lines, although I feel bad for Lindros. If I had my way, I'd replace Kilger with Wellwood, and all would be good. Although Domi is known mostly as a pugalist, he does have some decent speed, and scored 15 goals a few years ago. The Steen/Stajan/O'Niel is flying right now. Antropov, Tucker, and O'Neil have been the best Leafs in the preseason, so it's nice to see balance in these lines. The SkyLine is huge - Sundin 6'5 Antropov 6'6 Ponikarovsky 6'4. The Tucker/Allison/Czerkawski line has the most pure offensive talent.

Until Klee is ready to play, the defense is going to have too much inexperience. Something like this:

kaberle mccabe
khavanov kronwall
coliaicovo wozniewski

Injured: Klee, Belak, Berg

Overall, I think the Leafs might have the best offensive lineup in the league, when you consider that McCabe, Kaberle and Khavanov will probably all finish in the top 40 in league defensive scoring. The biggest weakness is on defense, where the Leafs will likely continue their trend of giving up 30+ shots a game. If Belfour can still play at a high level, the Leafs should play well enough to finish with near 100 points, and a 4th-5th placing in the Eastern conference.