Expect Interesting Changes to the Maple Leafs Lineup Next Season

This offseason has been a busy one for Toronto Maple Leafs general manager, Kyle Dubas. The team has taken care of its own free-agents, spent some money on the open market, and have made some serious changes to the roster for next season.

Sounds like that's not the only change coming for the Maple Leafs.

As the NHL is one of the biggest copy-cat leagues in sports, expect to see the Maple Leafs, among other teams, to copy the style of the Stanley Cup champion, Tampa Bay Lightning. This includes dressing 11 forwards and seven defenseman on a regular basis.

Dubas recently spoke with the talented Kriston Shilton of TSN and had this to say about adopting the lineup change:

I think it does a couple things. Number one, it creates a real difficult matchup up front, because you’re either going to be really running your top three lines a lot or when your fourth line comes back again, you’re going to have a member of the first line back on that fourth line, so it’s going to make it a little more potent. In our case, that’s [adding] Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares and William Nylander [back in]. We think the depth of our D really lends itself to this [as well], and I wouldn’t be surprised to see us use it from time to time during the season.

It would make sense for the Leafs to play this lineup on the second night of back-to-backs. This would give veterans and the 'over-40 club' of Joe Thornton and Jason Spezza a night off. It also, as Dubas mentioned, gives Matthews, Tavares, Marner and Nylander more ice-time.

Meanwhile the Leafs have an underrated deep blue-line with youngsters like Rasmus Sandin and the KHL dominant Mikko Lehtonen chomping at the bit for some regular ice-time so this could kill two birds with one stone.

Get ready Leafs Nation, next season is going to look much different in Toronto.

Photo credit: Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire