More than ever before, NHL management involves getting out of bad contracts. Always better to move a contract a year early, than a year late.
When the full season lockout lifted, free agency was an event with the capacity to shift team’s trajectories and quickly push them up or down the ranks. For example, the Anaheim Ducks signed Scott Niedermayer, their Captain, when they won the Cup. The Blackhawks—and Red Wings—signed Marian Hossa, who was a key piece in their Cup quests. Other teams did not win the Cup, but the Philadelphia Flyers signing Peter Forsberg; the New York Rangers signing...
The evaluation period might not be over, but the reality has hit Leafs Nation.
This team is not very good, and it needs a face lift. Not a face lift to the bottom six this time, but to the top players on the team.
The real question, though, is who is going to do it?
The Leafs have nine players making at least $3M as a capped-out, lottery team, and current-GM Dave Nonis signed every one of those deals save for the JVR contract, which is easily the best bang-for-the-buck deal the team has locked in. Talk around town...
The other day, over at my hockey analytics blog, I wrote an article on the relationship between Possession/Corsi (CF%) and Shooting Percentage (Sh%) in 5v5 close situations.
I figured I'd piggy back on that analysis a little and take a look at the Leafs over the past three and a half seasons spanning the Randy Carlyle era.
In my HockeyAnalysis.com article, I showed that, while some elite level teams or truly bad teams can break the trend, there is generally a strong negative correlation between a teams CF% and shooting percentage. Recall that CF% stands for Corsi For Percentage, which is the percentage...
For those watching this game with an eye on draft positioning:
It's been tough sledding of late watching the Leafs play, to say the least; the meaninglessness of the game as far as playoffs go and the fact that it was a classic Jersey game tempted the clicker finger of even the most devout Leafs fans last night.
And we're still in late January with 30+ games to go. With the 16-25-6 Coyotes on the docket, the combined playoff odds in this matchup are just as low as last night.
At the same time, with Phaneuf out, seeing Rielly and Gardiner in serious-minute territory...
The reality for both these teams is that the trade deadline and draft positioning have become the only real talking points of relevance down the stretch.
The Devils are trotting out a roster that was best suited to contend just after the 04-05 lockout.
The Leafs have one win in the year 2015 and are now without a top pairing defenceman; the current solution with Phaneuf out is moving Korbinian Holzer over to his weak side and playing him on the top pairing with Cody Franson.
The Leafs do have Leo Komarov, expected to start with Kadri and Kessel, and Peter Holland, expected to play with Winnik...
Tuesday Practice Lines:
Elliotte Friedman: 30 Thoughts -- Leafs & Mike Richards (Sportsnet.ca)
Calgary and Toronto were reported to be the two teams most involved in a Richards trade. I do believe the Dion Phaneuf-Richards idea was seriously considered, although other pieces were going to be involved. I don’t know which team asked, or how the overall package was going to look, but word is the Kings ultimately said no to any deal because they were unwilling to include either Tanner Pearson or Tyler Toffoli.
Jonas Siegel: Franson unsure of Leaf future as trade talks swirl (TSN.ca)
Already looking tight with next...
D Dion Phaneuf is expected to be out "week-to-week" with an upper body injury (hand, from last week's fights).
D Stephane Robidas left the ice before practice started.
F Leo Komarov is expected to return Wednesday against the Devils, while F Joffrey Lupul and F Peter Holland remain day-to-day.
D Petter Granberg and F Josh Leivo were recalled from the Toronto Marlies
Can you say yikes...
Anthony Petrielli: Will NHL Teams Start Using NBA Cap Relief Ideas? (MLHS)
This is the way the league is going, and it is prevalent to a Leafs team that will possibly/probably want to move guys like David Clarkson, Dion Phaneuf,...