Maple Leafs' lack of forward depth could be problem

Toronto Maple Leafs forward David Clarkson (71) exchanges pleasantries with Lars Eller of the...

Toronto Maple Leafs forward David Clarkson (71) exchanges pleasantries with Lars Eller of the Montreal Canadiens Saturday at the Bell Centre. (MARTIN CHEVALIER/QMI Agency)

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:17 AM ET

MONTREAL - Randy Carlyle’s experiment in going with 11 forwards and seven defencemen apparently is over.

That’s not a bad thing.

The Maple Leafs coach had gone with that lineup for three games before falling back to a familiar split of 12 forwards and six defencemen in Montreal against the Canadiens on Saturday night.

The idea in using 11 forwards was that Phil Kessel, James van Riemsdyk, David Clarkson and Joffrey Lupul would get a couple of more shifts. But Carlyle can give them extra shifts if he has 12 forwards going. It’s his decision.

The bigger issue is the Leafs’ depth up front, or lack of it. With 20 games remaining in the regular season following the 4-3 overtime loss against the Canadiens, the Leafs should be hitting their stride and hunkering down for what they hope would be a successful run into the playoffs.

Instead, Carlyle is making it clear he doesn’t have a consistently dependable fourth line.


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