Option 2: Simon Holmstrom-Mathew Barzal-Oliver Wahlstrom
With Cizikas on the sidelines, Barzal has seen time at the center position playing alongside Holmstrom and Palmieri. Lambert has drawn these lines to start the game against the Maple Leafs and Nashville Predators but has moved Barzal back to playing with Horvat and Lee in the second and third periods. In a short sample size, Holmstrom has provided Barzal with a faster skater that can set him up well for a shot on the net while also aggressively turning the puck over at the blue line.
Though Holmstrom and Pageau caught lightning in a bottle on the penalty kill, their production on the third line has fallen. They were a -3 together against the Vegas Golden Knights and Vancouver Canucks. Furthermore, the lack of offensive zone time has seen the third line play countless games without a shot on goal. Given the recent performance, a change for Holmstrom in 5-on-5 action will do him well.
Wahlstrom has struggled to find ice time even when he’s in the lineup. He did not touch the ice in the third period on Saturday without an explanation from Lambert for this decision. However, Wahlstrom has taken advantage of small opportunities with a couple of quality shots and strong forechecks early in the Maple Leafs game. Barzal would pair nicely with someone who is not afraid to take a hard slapshot. In addition to Holmstrom’s offensive zone protection, this line is worth experimenting with.