Toronto Maple Leafs Training Camp: The Centers

The Leafs strongest position, in terms of the amount of players they have, is at center. The Leafs have eight centers listed on their website’s roster page. As we all know, teams only have four forward lines, so we could see two players who can play centers on each line. Who will end up where? This will be one of the most intriguing aspects of training camp.

Casey Bailey

The youngest center on this list, Bailey signed with the Leafs last season and played six games with the team. He even went on to score a goal in the Leafs final game of the season. It’s more than likely that Bailey will start the year off with the Toronto Marlies. However, at 23-years old, he could be one of the first call-ups.

Tyler Bozak

This will be an interesting year for Bozak. Will he be the same without his friend Phil Kessel on his right wing? Like Dion Phaneuf, Bozak was supposedly one of the next to be moved. However, both remain with the Leafs.

Will he be able to maintain his spot on the first line? Will the Leafs find a trading partner mid-season? Out of all the Leafs’ centers, Bozak has the most questions surrounding him.

(Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports)
(Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports)

Peter Holland

Holland has quietly been a reliable third-line center for the Leafs since he was acquired. He has even eclipsed Nazem Kadri as the second-line center at times. The question is, will he be able to maintain his spot at center with all the new additions?

If there’s something to be said about loyalty, he’ll stick around in the spot he’s become accustomed to.

Nazem Kadri

One more chance.

That is the slogan for Kadri’s season this year. Can he become a premier offensive producer? More importantly, can he mature off the ice? Even if he can play well on the ice, do the Leafs want him influencing young prospects like William Nylander or Mitch Marner when they eventually make the team?

Leo Komarov

It seems that Komarov is one center that is destined to play the wing because that’s where he has spent most of his time with the Leafs so far. With his problems with the Finnish law taken care of, he won’t have any distractions as the season begins.

As a fan favorite, providing the Leafs a pest to antagonize the other team, his spot in the lineup is pretty safe.

Shawn Matthias

Why the Vancouver Canucks didn’t try to re-sign Matthias is mystifying. He set a career high in points last season and he could have got even better with a second full season in Vancouver. Now he will ply his trade for the Maple Leafs.

The Leafs hope he can have another career year this season. That way, when the trade deadline comes around, the Leafs could get more for him.

Nick Spaling

Another player, another contract that will end on July 1, 2016. Acquired in the Phil Kessel trade, Kyle Dubas has said that Spaling would be returning to the center position after playing on the wing with Pittsburgh last season.

With that said, we can assume that he will be the fourth-line center.

(Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
(Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

Daniel Winnik

The trade that sent Winnik to the Penguins at last season’s trade deadline has all but been erased with him returning to Toronto. Everything the Leafs acquired, except the 2015 third-rounder, in the deal has either been traded back to Pittsburgh or has not been re-signed.

While everything was going wrong in Toronto last season, Winnik was one of the few bright spots in the Leafs lineup. That’s why the Leafs were able to get what they got for him last season. Signed to a new two-year deal, it looks like the Leafs want him to stick around a little longer this time around.