Feb 28, 2013; Uniondale, NY, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs center Nazem Kadri (43) after scoring a goal during the second period against the New York Islanders at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

What Will Happen to the Toronto Maple Leafs When the Injured Return?

Before I say anything, congratulations are in order. Last night Nazem Kadri got his first NHL hat trick. He seems to have been struggling since the injury of line mate Matt Frattin, but his performance last night makes me excited to see how he will do once Frattin comes back.

Which brings me to the topic of this article: What is going to happen with the Toronto Maple Leafs once their injured return to the roster? With the much anticipated return of James Reimer last night it seems that the return of other injured players is on the horizon. Which ultimately raises the question, where they will go in the lineup? Here are my predictions:

First Line: James van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak, Joffrey Lupul

I know exactly what you all are thinking, where’s Phil Kessel, but let’s seriously think about this for a second. Currently the first line consists of JVR (top goal scorer), Bozak (faceoff ace), and Kessel (who was held scoreless for the first 10 games of the season and is currently second on the team in giveaways). Who is the obvious choice for Lupul to replace, Phil Kessel.

Second Line: Nikolai Kulemin, Mikhail Grabovski, Phil Kessel

When talking about this with a Leaf fan they told me that you couldn’t play Grabovski and Kessel on the same line because they are too similar. I beg to differ. Both may have a great snipe but Mikhail is tough and hungry, he is not afraid to get in a scrum and come out with the puck. How many times have you seen Kessel do that?

Third Line: Matt Frattin, Nazem Kadri, Clarke MacArthur

This line is a no-brainer Frattin and Kadri have ridiculous chemistry and with Frattin’s injury Kadri has been able to develop an amazing chemistry with Macarthur. This is a dream team line that will result in a lot of goals.

Fourth Line: Leo Komarov, Jay McClement, and one of the tough guys (Colton Orr, Mike Brown, or Frazer MacLaren

Since we have to lose two of our tough guys to make room for Lupul and Frattin, having Leo Komarov (currently number one on the team in hits) move to the fourth line makes sense. I would even go so far as to send down David Steckel and just have the tough guys rotate in to keep them fresh.

With the team set up like this the Toronto Maple Leafs might actually make the playoffs this year. They are definitely on track for that now but there are a few kinks that need to be worked out and I think these line changes are the perfect way to do that. I know that a lot of you will disagree so feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment box.

Tags: Injuries Joffrey Lupul Matt Frattin Nazem Kadri Phil Kessel Toronto Maple Leafs

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