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Tim Connolly and James Reimer
I know that Tim Connolly is not a perennial All-Star first-line center, but guess what, neither is Tyler Bozak.
Connolly has had injury woes in the past, and it is possible that these woes will follow him to Toronto. I still believe that Connolly will be more productive on the first-line if he plays 60 games, than Bozak would be in all 82.
I have nothing against Bozak. I think he will make a great third-line center (also an upgrade from last year), but he was thrown into the fire last season and quite often looked lost. Bozak was in his first full season, and it seemed like the only thing he wanted to do was put the puck on Kessel's stick. Granted, that is what we want, but only when Phil has a better opportunity.
Connolly has been around a long time and he will not feel the same pressure, nor will he throw the puck to Phil if he himself has a better opportunity.
Another new center on the block is Matthew Lombardi. How did the Leafs get Lombardi? Oh yeah, they got him in a trade with Nashville (along with Cody Franson—see defense slide) for Brett Lebda and a prospect named Robert Slaney. Even if this was the only move Toronto made in the offseason, they would be a better team than in 2010.
Back to Lombardi. He may not be what he once was after his devastating injury almost one year ago, but he might be. Even if Lombardi's game does not recover 100 percent, the Maple Leafs still have some depth at center now with a first-liner in Connolly, a second-liner in Grabo, two third-liners in Bozak and Lombardi, and fourth-liners Dupuis, Ziggy, and Boyce.
In the event of an injury, the Leafs have the opportunity to shuffle centers around this year and fill holes with prospects like Colborne and Kadri.
I would say the Leafs look better down the middle this year. I am not saying that they're the best in the league (so relax, haters), I am just saying they look better.