For months now, questions have swirled around the Leafs' blueline, particularly in relation to where Rasmus Sandin fits. Signing Mark Giordano
to a 2-year deal created a log jam on the left side. The trio of Morgan Rielly
, Jake Muzzin
and the aforementioned Giordano certainly make for a formidable left side, but it also creates a problem for the team, as there is no room in the top six for Sandin - at least not on his strong side.
Sandin, the Leafs' 2018 first round pick, has proven himself as an NHL defenseman and probably deserves a spot on the roster. As of this writing, Sandin is a restricted free agent. His entry level contract has expired and he'll need a new one before he can re-join the team. One of the major issues is that Sandin and his camp don't see an opportunity to play meaningful minutes to start the season. Both the Leafs management and Sandin agree that they want him playing the left side, so something has to give.
Leave it to a veteran blueliner to make things work. It appears that Mark Giordano
is willing to move to the right side in order to make room for Sandin. Giordano didn't say whether or not the Leafs had asked him yet, but it does seem like the solution that makes the most sense.
"I think there's big benefits in the offensive zone on the other side. I don't think it should be too hard if needed."
- Mark Giordano
on playing his weak side
With Giordano slotting in on the right side, the Leafs could run Rielly, Muzzin and Sandin on the left, then have Brodie, Liljegren and Giordano on the right. In this case, Justin Holl
would be the odd man out. Honestly, that wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. The Leafs would be able to easily cover for any injuries. If someone on the right side goes down, Holl slots in. If someone of the left goes down, Giordano would move to the left and Holl would take his place on the right. If Holl is moved, replace him with one of experienced veteran Jordie Benn
or 24-year-old Victor Mete
With Timothy Liljegren
starting the year on the IR, the Leafs will have plenty of opportunity to experiment with Giordano on the right side. Now all Dubas has to do is get Sandin a new contract and the Leafs will start the new season with the strongest defense corps they've had since Brian McCabe and Thomas Kaberle patrolled the blue line.
SHOULD THE LEAFS SHIFT GIO OVER TO THE RIGHT SIDE TO CLEAR UP A SPOT ON THE LEFT FOR RASMUS SANDIN?
SEPTEMBER 21 324 ANSWERS
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