Time to make Matthews-Marner breakup official

Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner have struggled when playing 5-on-5 together this season so it's time to reunite Marner with John Tavares, and Matthews with William Nylander.

Video Transcript

[BELL]

- Since the beginning of the season, Leafs fans have kind of gone back and forth on whether we want Matthews and Marner to stay together, if we want them to split up, and especially over the last, like, week or so, the push for them to be split up has really, really come into play, especially when it did happen in a game against the Carolina Hurricanes and it led to goals on either end. William Nylander scored a goal assisted by Matthews and Tavares scored a goal with the greatest assist from Mitch Marner. So is that something that we want to happen long term? It's already starting to happen more often.

They started the game against Vancouver on separate lines and who knows how it's going to continue. I think for the most of us, a lot of us Leafs fans do want to see an extended look of Matthews with Nylander and Marner with Tavares. Both combinations have had a lot of success in the past. Matthews and Nylander spent a lot of time in their early years in the Leafs together and Tavares and Marner had that great year. You know, when Tavares had 47 goals, Marner was on his line.

So even though, overall, Matthews and Marner make the most sense to play together, they're the top two skill players on the team, they love playing together, they have great work, they worked together in the offseason preparing to play together in the regular season, but at this point the five-on-five play isn't working as much. And Matthew is scoring goals, but he's not scoring that many goals at five-on-five. And maybe the different dynamic that Nylander brings in the way that he plays could be an interesting way to free up space for Matthews, considering the fact that Nylander is a legitimate scoring threat, as well.

Not taking away what happened last year, Marner did get over 30 goals, but when it comes to who's more likely to shoot it's going to be Nylander. So maybe over time, Nylander playing with Matthews and Marner playing with Tavares will work out or maybe they just need a short little break from each other, they'll return, and become one of the best lines in the league once again.