Damn it man, I’m a metrician, not a magician!

1382

Well, it’s been a wild ride on twitter for the past few days. If you follow the hockey analytics crowd on twitter you probably know what I’m talking about, though for those of you that don’t, let me fill you in. I think the best place to start is the beginning of this recent road and it’s a bit of a bumpy ride so buckle up.

As I’m sure many, if not all, of you know, on Thursday afternoon the Leafs placed Grabovski on waivers for the purpose of buying him out. I think it’s pretty safe to say that this news was a shock to most of us, but none more so than those heavily involved in the “advanced statistics” community.

NOTE: As a slight detour, I placed that in quotations because I, like some of the others that use these numbers (Corsi, Fenwick, etc.) prefer to call them possession statistics or just statistics. The reason is relatively simple, “advanced” is a term that differentiates those numbers from the ones tracked by the NHL and in order to help the possession numbers become more widely used and more understood, the end goal is for the two to be treated homogeneously (with the appropriate trust in the different statistics based on the merits of each).

Why was this move such a shock? Well, because Grabovski is a good hockey player that signed an expensive (pretty much accepted that he’s overpaid, the degree to which is open for debate) contract because he put up points. This season however, instead of playing Grabovski in an offensive situation, Carlyle gave Grabovski some of the toughest minutes in the league. He started the vast majority of his non-neutral zone shifts in the defensive zone against opposing teams’ top players, making it very difficult to generate offense. On top of that, he played with line-mates that weren’t exactly going to set the world on fire offensively themselves, exacerbating the problem of generating offense. On top of that Grabovski had some bad puck luck and a gastro intestinal issue that’s he’s been dealing with for quite some time. In past seasons when he’s been used in an offensive role, he’s been a possession monster for the Leafs. This season the Leafs were a train wreck possession wise but Grabovski was still good relative to the team, which is very impressive considering his role.

Grabovski wasn’t placed in a position to succeed offensively, was instead given some of the toughest minutes possible, dealt with bad luck and an injury, and was still above water possession wise relative to the team. So his buyout didn’t really make a lot of sense, regardless of the re-signing of Tyler Bozak that took place the next day.

The outrage this buyout generated amongst the hockey analytics twitterverse was met by opponents (or non-users) of possession statistics with cries of melodrama and claims of understanding the buyout because of Grabovski’s lack of production given his cap hit.  Harsh words were exchanged on both sides, prompting a tweeter by the handle @smithdanielj to claim “Grabo’s buyout may prove to be the Archduke Franz Ferdinand assassination of the war between Stats guys and Traditionalists.”

The next day wasn’t much better as the Leafs spent big money bringing in David Clarkson and re-signing Tyler Bozak. The prevailing opinion amongst the hockey analytics people is that Bozak is an inferior player to Grabovski, an opinion not shared by most mainstream media types (as evidenced by TSN placing Bozak as their #4 UFA with Grabovski as #9). Before noon, when FA Frenzy officially began, news of Grabovski clearing waivers was yet to be announced and the opponents/non-users of possession statistics were forwarding ideas that if Grabovski cleared waivers the proponents of possession statistics were wrong abut Grabovski. This certainly didn’t help ease tensions between the two groups.

Saturday saw the intensity of the dialogue brought down to a simmer (-ish situation) but Sunday would easily change that.

On Sunday morning, Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul tweeted “contracts aren’t awarded by this CORSI i am hearing all about. They are awarded for an equal value of skill and depth (at a certain position” and “If you bring certain attributes and you play to win. I’ll take you on my team 7 nights a week. Lets not look at this like Moneyball.”

And with that, all hell broke loose. The dialogue developing from Lupul’s tweet once again pitted “traditionalists” (opponents/non-users of possession statistics) against “advanced statistics” people. Quietly tucked away in the debate are clusters of productive discourse but for the most part the claws came out and the name-calling began with earnest. Typical comments coming from the “traditionalist” camp were along the lines of “watch the games instead conjuring up all-knowing numbers from behind your abacus”, while responses from the “advanced statistics” people took the form of “show us something better Luddites”.

These are of course exaggerations of the comments (in most cases, some were actually like these) and there were a relatively large number of people saying, “Actually it’s possible (and preferable) to use possession statistics AND watch hockey (correctly) to evaluate players”. In fact, the purpose of using these numbers is to shine the light on what’s happening on the ice, a shared goal with video analysis. Both are typically used in good analysis to reinforce each other and explain abnormalities.

The ride is almost over, I just want to take a minute to say that I enjoy using possession statistics to augment my understanding of the game and that they’ve helped me focus my attention to useful activities while watching hockey games. These statistics aren’t “advanced” or sorcery at all, and in fact are really about finding ways to quantify (albeit with funny names) ideas that we hear hockey players talk about all the time (great visualization of these ideas by Blake Murphy called “EXPLAINING THE GRABOVSKI-BOZAK “STATS” DEBATE IN SHINNY HOCKEY TERMS”).

The point I’m trying to get across here is that these stats don’t paint the whole picture and don’t replace watching the games, and nor should they. However, they DO tell a story about what happened and when used with the knowledge of other variables like “character”, “skating ability”, etc., a more complete picture of a player begins to take shape. They don’t tell the complete story about what’s going to happen in the future either (something Cam points out in article below) but there are other measures that help with that (like knowing the peak scoring years for forwards, for example).

There have been some posts about this already (see Cam Charron’s Corsi and Moneyball  and Dirk Hoag’s NHL Advanced Stats Aren’t So Advanced, But They’re Better Than Nothing) and you should definitely check them out. On top of that fellow MLHS writer @mORRganRielly has an open invitation to discuss possession statistics on reddit.  I would also recommend reading Jesse Spector’s piece about the history of Corsi titled Who is Jim Corsi? Meet the name behind the number.

Wow, what a wall of text! Thanks for sticking around to the end and I look forward to your comments about possession statistics and their role in the NHL.

Taken from @mORRganReilly’s reddit thread are some learning links on possession statistics:

  • MaxwellHowe

    Nice article Taylor, though the topic by now has been beaten to death.  I found it odd that you, to some extent, extol the virtues of the advanced stats yet partially excuse Grabo’s poor numbers because of “bad puck luck”.  Aren’t stats supposed to diminish, if not eliminate, the concept of chance or luck?  I suppose for that matter advanced stats inform us that the Leafs should have missed the playoofs and gotten a high draft pick.  Instead of taking the Stanley Cup finalists to overtime of the seventh game.
    On another point, Lupul’s tweet on the topic, upon reflection, is very subtly dismissive of Grabovski and supportive of Bozak.  Interesting.

    • Uncle Otis

      MaxwellHowe 
      Excellent point MH…Lups made this comment post Grabo gone/Bozie signed
      Quite telling indeed

      • MaxwellHowe

        Uncle Otis MaxwellHowe Yeah, Lupul is not a dumb young puckhead type (read Seguin).  He always seems very insightful, and god know she has been around the league to see many great players.  Maybe the debate about Grabo/Bozak will rage on, but I’m gonna trust Joffrey on this.

        • MaxwellHowe

          Uncle Otis MaxwellHowe she?

        • Uncle Otis

          MaxwellHowe 
          Reaffirms what many of us already believed
          Bozak is more versatile and perhaps Lups just gave us a d-room insight
          On advanced stats;
          And how do possession stats work for a dump and chase team?
          Or one more prone to give up the puck and counterpunch/trap?

    • taylor_wright

      MaxwellHowe Thanks for the positive comments. I didn’t want to get into the specifics of the different statistics too much, for the sake of brevity and clarity. 
      There’s a statistics called PDO that is the sum of on-ice sh% and on-ice sv%, this is typically used to gauge “puck luck” because they aren’t really factors that a particular player can influence. It regresses heavily to a value of 1000 and so a value above suggests a player got some good bounces while a value below suggests he got some bad ones. This is what I was referring to when speaking to Grabo’s puck luck. 
      The possession statistics do in fact show the Leafs as being a poor team, you’re right, but team PDO regresses heavily to 1000 over the course of roughly a full season. The Leafs had a very high PDO (which makes sense when you look at the abnormally high sh% of some players like Lupul or Frattin and the very high sv% posted by Scrivens and Reimer). Toronto had the second highest PDO in the league this season and the probability was high that those sh% and sv% were unsustainable. Thus suggesting the Leafs would have finished much lower in the standings over the course of a full season. 
      The possession statistics we have aren’t perfect (i.e. outliers), but they do give us insight and are useful. An interesting visualization of playoff teams and team Fenwick close % can be found here: http://deadspin.com/this-wonderful-graphic-proves-that-in-the-nhl-puck-pos-470045959

  • Uncle Otis

    Interesting read Taylor
    I guess the advanced stat guys couldn’t take Lups advice either…but what the hell would he know,right?

  • Tommy Cat

    I’m sure all these advanced stats can and do provide insight into a player. I’m sure you are a bright kid Taylor but to be honest most of the blogs that contain the word corsi in it I usually just skim. While I do have great respect for mathematicians and ststisticians it usually hurts my head too much to read it too much.
    What pisses me off is when people just use points only to justify positions. Especially in Defencemen. LIke in Norris voting. If a D-Man spends most of the year bailing out his buddy on the pinch and racks up a pile of points then he’s considered elite.

    • Uncle Otis

      Tommy Cat 
      Amen brother
      In Lups words,this aint moneyball
      These guys need to switch over to the Jays…they’re hot!(ish)

    • jimmyg65

      Tommy Cat Math nerds basically run the world now. I’m not interested in their take on my Leafs, to be honest, except maybe to read a paragraph or two on puck-possession stats. My eyes glaze over when I see a chart or graph. Maybe I’m a dinosaur…

  • Dink

    huh

    • Uncle Otis

      @Dink 
      uh-huh

  • Knights2Leafs

    Early in your article, your comment says it all.  It was pretty much accepted that Grabo was overpaid and that’s if he’s producing at pre-2012/13 numbers.  The Leafs would have had to gamble that under Carlyle he would rebound and even if he did, look how close we are to cap problems with exchanging Bozak for Grabo and saving $1.3M.
    That of course opens the whole debate on whether we have now overpaid for Clarkson and the answer is yes.  Put simply, over the next 3 years would you rather have Clarkson and Bozak or Grabo and someone like MacA?  I think the majority view the former as better than the latter.
    The one thing Nonis has done is put both Bozak and Clarkson in a better position to trade them down the road by using signing bonuses as a big part of their deals. 
    Either way I’m kind of shocked that we seemed to have lost our cap advantage.  I look at a team like Carolina that pays it’s top 5 forwards an average of $6.35M and their goalie $6M and they are in much better cap position than we are.

    • Burtonboy

      Knights2Leafs Because once you get outside the top 5 forwards and their top 4 d they have nothing but 800,000 garbage in the lineup

      • Knights2Leafs

        Burtonboy
        I understand how they do it BBoy and I’m not saying it’s the right way but they do seem to enjoy success in some years with that model along with some weak years.  Having depth throughout the lineup hopefully makes us a more consistent team.
        I just hope Nonis knows what he’s doing in terms of being able to get rid of Liles’ contract; otherwise the options are to trade Kulemin and replace him with garbage or trade one of Gunnar or Franson and replace them with quasi-garbage.  As you say, we will see how it plays out.

        • Cameron19

          Knights2Leafs Burtonboy Haven’t they not made the playoffs for like 5 years now?

        • Knights2Leafs

          Cameron19
          Not last year.

        • Cameron19

          Knights2Leafs Cameron19 They made it in 2009, but have drafted top 10 since then, I believe.

        • Knights2Leafs

          Cameron19 
          Sorry – I read that wrong – I thought you said they had made it the last 5 years.

        • Cameron19

          Knights2Leafs Cameron19 There was some rumblings earlier that they may try to move Skinner sooner or later.

    • Bobsyouruncle

      Knights2Leafs The signing bonuses and yearly structure of Bozak’s deal don’t seem to provide any advantage to trading him down the road.

      • Knights2Leafs

        Bobsyouruncle
        Maybe I don’t understand how the bonuses work, but say Bozak is traded after his 3rd year.  If the Leafs paid him his bonus on July 1st of $2M, there should only be $6.5 left owing over the last 2 years ( $3.25M per year) even if the cap hit remains at $4.2M.

        • Bobsyouruncle

          Knights2Leafs Bobsyouruncle Actually looks like you’re right. The bonus would give some advantage although more-so in a summer trade and less at the trade deadline

      • dlb eh

        Bobsyouruncle Knights2Leafs 
        it’ll be like trading him with cash considerations.  cap hit doesn’t change, of course.

  • darthNihilus

    I don’t think there is a single hockey fan who does not realize that statistics have their use in hockey. However there are 2 crowds one traditionalist and one statistician. The traditionalist wants to watch the games for their leisure, pleasure and general fandom of the sport. While the statistician is not satisfied with merely what the eyes see they prefer to crunch the numbers and enjoy the mathematical exercise. In the end the 2 combine to tell the story but neither can be separated from the other as stats cannot account for or predict the intangibles, they cannot predict or feel what the players and coaches “feel” on the ice. Conversely no hockey fan can ignore the stats at their most basic levels that give the indication whether a player is “good” or not to some quantifiable level.

    • Uncle Otis

      darthNihilus 
      Fair comment..and true enough
      Some stats are completely impaired by the subjectivity of the collector however..garbage in/out(hits for instance)
      Some traditionalists,however,watch the game like a coach and see what players are doing positionally,there abilities to win one on one puck battles.block shots/get in lanes,compete,skating speed/ability to force the defence etc.
      Much of this cant be quantified with stats..and as a coach,I know what players are effective on my team at any positon/game requirement.
      Some of us just have it,from habving played the game to a high level,and coached.
      It becomes innate

  • Burtonboy

    Morgan Rielly among 34 coming to Leafs prospect camp
    http://www.thestar.com/sports/hockey/2013/07/09/morgan_rielly_among_34_coming_to_leafs_prospect_camp.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

    • MaxwellHowe

      Burtonboy I shudder at the thought that the Leafs may have to send him back to junior because his pay would put them over the salary cap. 
      Again, the salary cap is the worse thing that has ever happened to the NHL.

      • Burtonboy

        MaxwellHowe Burtonboy I would bet right now if he plays well enough to make the team the Leafs will find a way to get him into the lineup.

        • MaxwellHowe

          Burtonboy MaxwellHowe We may as well call the rest of the summer the Liles/Gunnarsson/Kulimen trade watch.  Followed by the frantic Kadri/Franson negotiation.

        • Burtonboy

          MaxwellHowe Burtonboy I think your over reacting . Wait and see what happens . For all we we know they get Kadri Franson ,Gunnar and Colborne signed for 10 mil . Get Liles salary off the books one way or another and things fall in place pretty well.

        • Tommy Cat

          Burtonboy MaxwellHowe Don’t think Nonis gets all those signed (and Fraser ?) for 10 mil.  Something has to break.  I think that Liles still have a bit of value and can be moved but Nonis will take his time trying to get value.  With all our D prospects that longer term Liles contract for what he brings is something we definately don’t need.

        • Burtonboy

          Tommy Cat Burtonboy MaxwellHowe Maybe maybe not . I was simpley saying we have to let this play out . I do agree moving Liles is probably key to everything else  falling in place .

        • MaxwellHowe

          Tommy Cat Burtonboy MaxwellHowe Nonis shouldn’t be too patient or greedy with Liles.

      • Loric76

        MaxwellHowe Burtonboy I don’t mind the cap, I’m just pissed MLSE didn’t do anything for decades before the cap.  Greedy fuckers.

        • Burtonboy

          Loric76 MaxwellHowe Burtonboy They might have if they had some management with a fuckin clue about what they were doing

  • Burtonboy

    Loiselle is coming up on the fan right now 
    http://player.rogersradio.ca/cjcl/on_air

    • daniel marois

      Burtonboy 
      A recap on what he said??

      • Loric76

        daniel marois Burtonboyhttps://twitter.com/Hope_Smokehttps://twitter.com/Hope_Smoke/status/354568987725660162
        Loiselle FAN 590 “Franson has emerged. We’re expecting him to keep taking steps. Gardiner had a tough year. We expect big things from him”https://twitter.com/Hope_Smokehttps://twitter.com/Hope_Smoke/status/354569116897648640
        Loiselle “Petter Granberg is a world class player and we’re really excited to see what he can do after his big year last season”https://twitter.com/Hope_Smokehttps://twitter.com/Hope_Smoke/status/354569227971211265
        Loiselle “defense and goaltending go hand in hand and we think adding Bernier will be a big help to that area”https://twitter.com/Hope_Smokehttps://twitter.com/Hope_Smoke/status/354569523527024642
        Loiselle “difference between Bernier and Reimer is Bernier’s puck moving ability. That will help our defenseman transition”

        • daniel marois

          Loric76 daniel marois Burtonboy 
          Thanks bud.  Did he mention anything about Morgan Reilly?

        • MaxwellHowe

          Loric76 daniel marois Burtonboy Reimer’s inability to handle the puck is indeed frustrating.  Can’t imagine why he has yet to improve this facet of his game.

        • Tommy Cat

          Loric76 daniel marois Burtonboy He should tell the world Franson has emerged after the contract is signed!!!

        • daniel marois

          MaxwellHowe Loric76 daniel marois Burtonboy 
          If they have high hopes for Granberg, perhaps that’s why they did not sign an expensive free agent d-man.  Looking forward to see how he does this week at camp.

        • Loric76

          daniel marois Loric76 Burtonboy thats all that was tweeted

        • daniel marois

          Tommy Cat Loric76 daniel marois Burtonboy 
          No kidding!  But with the signing of Brennan, I can see both Liles and Gunnerson being moved before training camp.  I am sure Kadri and Franson are priority #1 and #2 in that order to re-sign.

        • Burtonboy

          daniel marois Tommy Cat Loric76 Burtonboy Brennan has to win a job first . I bet he plays with the Marlies

        • daniel marois

          Loric76 daniel marois Burtonboy 
          OK.  590 should have the podcast posted shortly with the Loiselle interview.

        • Loric76

          daniel marois Tommy Cat Loric76 Burtonboy Brennan and Granberg are not going to replace Gunner off the top line.  Franson might be the only wildcard for the #2 spot right now.

        • Mind Bomb

          Tommy Cat Loric76 daniel marois Burtonboy  He is preparing us for a Big Contract bro

        • Tommy Cat

          daniel marois Tommy Cat Loric76 Burtonboy Definately.  And they are two young core players we want happy and content not pissed off that the contract talks went long and nasty.  Get er done!

        • Loric76

          Mind Bomb Tommy Cat Loric76 daniel marois Burtonboy yup totally.  we’re all guessing around 2.5-3.5, so 5+?  lol

        • daniel marois

          Burtonboy daniel marois Tommy Cat Loric76 
          No he can’t with the Marlies.  He was signed on a one-way contract.  If he doesnt make the Leafs, they cut him loose.

        • Burtonboy

          Mind Bomb Tommy Cat Loric76 daniel marois Burtonboy What big contract ?

        • Loric76

          Burtonboy Mind Bomb Tommy Cat Loric76 daniel marois that they’re about to give Franson.  The praise from Louiselle is to prep the fans

        • Loric76

          daniel marois Burtonboy Tommy Cat Loric76 no, if Brennan doesn’t make the Leafs, he plays for the Marlies except keeps getting paid NHL money.

        • daniel marois

          Loric76 daniel marois Burtonboy Tommy Cat 
          Are you sure?  I thought one-way contract means they can’t send you to the minors?

        • Burtonboy

          Loric76 Burtonboy Mind Bomb Tommy Cat daniel marois We will see . Give Kadri, Franson ,Gunnar ,Colborne 12 mil combined ,go to arb with Fraser and then let the buyout kick in and let Liles go lol

        • daniel marois

          Burtonboy Loric76 Mind Bomb Tommy Cat daniel marois 
          Colborne needs to be re-signed? Geez, that’s a lot of RFAs.  Somebody is gonna be traded soon….

        • colino17

          daniel marois Loric76 Burtonboy Tommy Cat No NMC means they can’t send you to the minors (unless you waive)…one way just means that salary is same at both levels as opposed to two-way which means you get paid differently (ex: NHL-700k AHL 70k)

        • colino17

          Burtonboy Loric76 Mind Bomb Tommy Cat daniel marois buyout?

        • daniel marois

          colino17 daniel marois Loric76 Burtonboy Tommy Cat 
          Gotcha.  Thanks for clarifying!

        • Mind Bomb

          Burtonboy Mind Bomb Tommy Cat Loric76 daniel marois  Because Franson deserves one, 7th in scoring, 3 goals in a Playoff series, he brought it, he has the talent, he has some pedigree, IE he played well in Nash, now he squawked about salary last contract, the leafs said prove it. and He DID.
          So I am thinking he gets paid BB

        • Burtonboy

          Mind Bomb Burtonboy Tommy Cat Loric76 daniel marois He will . Just let this stuff play out . Loiselle is no fool when it comes to this stuff

        • Loric76

          daniel marois Loric76 Burtonboy Tommy Cat yep I’m sure.  1-way vs 2-way is just NHL vs AHL salaries.

        • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

          Loric76 daniel marois Burtonboy Tommy Cat Holzer has a one-way deal and they sent him down last year.

        • colino17

          Loric76 daniel marois Burtonboy Tommy Cat Think one-way/two-way has cap implications now too…as in demoted two-way players don’t count against the cap but demoted one-way players might…not sure about that though…if so they may be banking on Brennan making it by signing him one-way

        • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

          colino17 Loric76 daniel marois Burtonboy Tommy Cat I believe if they clear waivers if need be, they can go down. Think Komi, Redden etc.

        • colino17

          ingy56 colino17 Loric76 daniel marois Burtonboy Tommy Cat Not that they can’t go down, but even if they do I think their cap might still stay

        • rustynail

          colino17 ingy56 Loric76 daniel marois Burtonboy Tommy Cat not the first 925K of it

        • colino17

          rustynail colino17 ingy56 Loric76 daniel marois Burtonboy Tommy Cat okay gotcha

    • dlb eh

      Burtonboy 
      my advice to anyone conducting an interview (ive heard a couple this week alone that irritated me).
      GET TO THE POINT.  stop fucking answering the question while you ask it.  we’re not interested in your answer, we want to hear what the person has to say that you’ve invited on the show, and that person doesn’t care how smart you think you are.
      ask.  the.  damned.  question.  then shut up and listen.  pay attention so you can follow it up intelligently.  and stop interrupting.

  • Mind Bomb

    Good morning Folks

    • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

      Mind Bomb Morning MB

      • Mind Bomb

        ingy56 Mind Bomb  It is today, the sun has finally come out in my area, I hope its the same for the Torontonians

        • Loric76

          Mind Bomb ingy56 morning.  dried out yet?

        • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

          Mind Bomb ingy56 They are supposed to get even more rain today.   Same here in Peterpatch.

        • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

          Loric76 Mind Bomb ingy56 All good here, we got a t-storm last night, but nothing like down south.

        • Uncle Otis

          ingy56 
          Hope the gang is ok/not too much water damage
          Rained like cats/dogs all day here too,but if I ever flood out,you are all living on waterfront

  • Cameron19

    Sounds like they think Granberg will make the jump fairly quickly…

    • Burtonboy

      Cameron19 And they expect Franson and Gards to really pick up the slack this yr as well

      • Cameron19

        Burtonboy Cameron19 I think that was clear from the final few games of the playoffs.  It looked like Randy finally trusted Gardiner, and started believing Franson could be out there a lot more often. 

        Still gotta replace Liles with someone cheaper, though….

        • Burtonboy

          Cameron19 Burtonboy Yep Liles moving on is probably top priority for Nonis at this point .

        • colino17

          Burtonboy Cameron19 Liles to COL for a 2nd round pick lol

        • Burtonboy

          colino17 Burtonboy Cameron19 Its possible. lol

        • Cameron19

          Burtonboy Cameron19 I think our D will be this once all the smoke clears:

          Gunnar / Phaneuf
          Gardiner / Franson
          Lydman / Granberg
          (Fraser)

          Perhaps Rielly gets his 9 games, and perhaps Granberg spends some time with the Marlies first, but I picture us adding a cheap vet that Carlyle likes, and otherwise going fairly young – eventually ending up in this configuration.

        • Tommy Cat

          Cameron19 Burtonboy The cheap vet also allows for a transition plan for the maturing prospects.

        • Burtonboy

          Cameron19 Burtonboy Where the fuck did Lydman come from

        • Cameron19

          Burtonboy Cameron19 Think he’s the cheap vet that Carlyle would like to grab. Probably get him for 1.5-2.0 million. Logged a lot of minutes under RC in Anaheim, and then fell out of favor a little with Boudreau.

          When the Ducks missed the playoffs in 2012, Carlyle said it wouldn’t have happened if Lydman hadn’t gone down with an injury, as they really counted on him for a lot.

        • Tommy Cat

          Cameron19 Burtonboy Is he UFA?

        • Cameron19

          Tommy Cat Cameron19 Burtonboy Yea.

        • dlb eh

          Burtonboy Cameron19 
          i remember him being one of BUF’s most steady D a few years ago when we played them regularily.  physical enough and smart with the puck.  he’s older, but if he’s cheap he’s still capable of 18-20 minutes a night.

        • dlb eh

          Cameron19 Burtonboy 
          remember Lindy Ruff saying something like that about Connolly haha

        • MaxwellHowe

          colino17 Burtonboy Cameron19 to anyone for a 7th round pick, even future considerations, would be fine

        • Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs

          Cameron19
          I honestly think that Gunnarson wont be back. I think he’ll be asking for around the 3 million mark and to be honest I feel him and Phaneuf has already peeked and to be honest isnt all that good. Phaneuf is a stud player Gunnarson is an also ran.

        • Tommy Cat

          Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs Cameron19 Gunner is steady and will be reasonable priced.

        • colino17

          Cameron19BurtonboyCAPGEEK.COM USER GENERATED ROSTER
          My Custom Lineup
          FORWARDS
          James Van Riemsdyk
          ($4.250m)
          /
          Tyler Bozak
          ($4.200m)
          /
          Phil Kessel
          ($5.400m)
          Joffrey Lupul
          ($5.250m)
          /
          Nazem Kadri
          ($3.500m)
          /
          David Clarkson
          ($5.250m)
          Joe Colborne
          ($1.200m)
          /
          Dave Bolland
          ($3.375m)
          /
          Nikolai Kulemin
          ($2.800m)
          Frazer McLaren
          ($0.700m)
          /
          Jay McClement
          ($1.500m)
          /
          Colton Orr
          ($0.925m)
          DEFENSEMEN
          Dion Phaneuf
          ($6.500m)
          /
          Carl Gunnarsson
          ($3.250m)
          Jake Gardiner
          ($1.117m)
          /
          Cody Franson
          ($4.000m)
          Mark Fraser
          ($1.000m)
          /
          Toni Lydman
          ($2.000m)
          Petter Granberg
          ($0.900m)
          /

          GOALTENDERS
          Jonathan Bernier
          ($2.900m)
          James Reimer
          ($1.800m)
          OTHER
          Buyout:
          Darcy Tucker ($1.000m)

          Buyout:
          Colby Armstrong ($1.000m)

          RETAINED SALARY TRANSACTIONS (0.778% of upper limit)
          Matt Frattin ($0.437m—0.5%)
          Ben Scrivens ($0.062m—0.1%)
          ——
          CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter)
          (these totals are compiled with the bonus cushion)
          SALARY CAP: $64,300,000; CAP PAYROLL: $64,316,667; BONUSES: $400,000
          CAP SPACE (21-man roster): $383,333

        • Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs

          Tommy Cat 
          Hes a 75% man. He isnt spectacular at anything on the ice and even though hes a useful player just isnt a top line player. imo of course. I think he plays top minutes because we dont have anyone who can not because hes good enough to do it. He would never play top minutes for a team like Boston or LA, nor Chicago or Nashville. So why should he for the Toronto Maple Leafs. I do think because of his time he will be asking for north of 3 million and for me thats not good value. For me he is a 3rd line guy who can pop up to the 1st when an injury occurs and fit in instantly – thats it.

        • Cameron19

          Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs Tommy Cat Is this still about Gunnarsson?

        • Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs

          Cameron19 Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs Tommy Cat yes

        • Cameron19

          Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs Cameron19 Tommy Cat Ah, I think he would most definitely play on a lot of those other teams – certainly Nashville.  He would probably be one of Boston’s most mobile D. He would be a nice fill-in for Scuderi in LA – and they could actually put him on the 2nd pairing, which he is better suited to. 

          Maybe not Chicago though. Their left side is pretty stacked.

        • Tommy Cat

          Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs Tommy Cat I see him as a steady 2 or 3 pair as well.  But he’s steady, no not stectacular but all your players aren’t stars.  Its a puzzle.  And in the cap world a players value is so much linked in how much of the total he is sliced.

        • Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs

          Tommy Cat Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs  
          I feel playing Gunnarson with Phaneuf has been too much of the safe route. It is like the defence hasnt got an identity the way they play at the moment. I cant really put my finger on it but it just doesnt look good.
          Personally I would like to see Phaneuf paired with Franson as with the PP and get that partnership fully in tune with each other. There are a lot of teams that adopt the idea of keeping defensive pairings the same during PP or vice versa.
          Gunnarson with Gardiner would be a good pairing. I really do feel Gardiner needs a steady eddy beside him. 
          And I would like to see the top two defensive pairings take the same minutes rather than Phaneuf be completely wasted every game.

        • Cameron19

          Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs Tommy Cat Those pairings don’t work though man.  They all play the opposite side of the ice. Phaneuf needs to be on the right side, Franson even more so, and Gunnar and Gardiner both need the left side.

        • Tommy Cat

          Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs Tommy Cat I certainly agree with your last point.  Like teams like Boston able to run 3 or 4 good lines at the opposition every night.  D should be balanced well too.  A totally spent and winded 1 D can’t be all that much better for the next shift than your rested 3 pair on the bench later in the game.

        • Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs

          Cameron19
          Is a defenders left or right side positioning set in stone. I have seen on numerous occasions where a d-man has looked better playing on the opposite wing as he seems to try harder and is more alert. Taking him out of his comfort zone.
          Also a d- pairing comes up against all sorts of miss match forward lines coming his way. The game to me is a lot more fluid than just putting 5 skaters name on a piece of paper and saying that’ll work

        • MaxwellHowe

          Cameron19 Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs Tommy Cat I don’t agree that Phaneuf necessarily needs to play on the right side, excepting powerplays.  In particular, pinching on your wrong handed side is tough.  Mistakes can be made.  None come to mind though….

        • Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs

          Tommy Cat
          couldn’t agree more.
          If you dont trust your 3rd d pairing then why are they picking up a wage!

        • Cameron19

          MaxwellHowe Cameron19 Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs Tommy Cat He’s played his whole career there minus 20 games with Carlyle, and he was clearly uncomfortable…

        • Cameron19

          Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs Cameron19 A lot of coaches have talked the last couple years about the importance of having defenders on their strong side, just simply because of the increased speed of the game.  Getting the puck off the board and out of the zone – you don’t have the millisecond to adjust anymore.  

          Phaneuf is a rare case, but because he’s always been the most talented defender on his team, and right handed D are scarce, he’s always been asked to play the right side – since early in Junior. Switching him this year didn’t work, and i don’t think it will work in the future, either…

        • Tommy Cat

          Cameron19 Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs And you don’t have that millisecond either if you’re totally baffed from playing too many minues.

        • Cameron19

          Tommy Cat Cameron19 Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs I think the hope is that the Gardiner/Franson pairing, and the bottom pair, can each contribute a little more this year.

          Phaneuf: 24 minutes
          Gunnar: 20 minutes
          Gardiner: 20 minutes
          Franson: 22 minutes
          Lydman: 18 minutes
          Granberg: 16 minutes

        • Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs

          Cameron19 Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs  
          I can accept that. You will lose some edge if you’re playing your opposite side but I do feel that with all the endless half changes (poor line changes) and players on the opposing forward lines playing out of position that the effects you talk about are negligible. 
          I also believe in tactics in drawing a team to attack in a way that your line up has suggested that they should attack. All of this has to be taken into account.
          A d pairing with just right siders dictating play against one opposing line and then a line of left siders playing against another. A well balanced 3rd pairing and if needed the ability for d men to change lines if it doesn’t seem to work well. As it is I feel the Leafs d is more attuned to spoiling the opposition rather than enhance our own play. Best form of defence is attack and all that.

        • Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs

          Cameron19
          Have I missed a trade? Lydman?
          Where’s Fraser in all this, not deserving a shot?

        • Cameron19

          Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs Cameron19 Lydman is a UFA.  It doesn’t have to be him, I just expect someone like him signed as a depth D if we do manage to move Liles. Fraser is #7, and perhaps we dress 7D some nights.

    • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

      Cameron19 Nice, love to see the prospects make the jump. Waited a long time for the prospect pool to be good… a long time.

      • Cameron19

        ingy56 Cameron19 According to Hockey’s Future our prospect pool is garbage.

        • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

          Cameron19 ingy56 I’ll defer to the product on the ice instead.

        • Cameron19

          ingy56 Cameron19 Had an argument with someone on Twitter about this the other day.  He argued that Hockey Future’s ranking had to be correct as he’d never heard a fan of another franchise be complimentary of our prospect pool, lol.

        • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

          Cameron19 ingy56 When they had Calgary ranked 10th, that said it all for me. Cat box liner.

        • MaxwellHowe

          Cameron19 ingy56 Its not the quality of the pool that is most important – it is the development structure and strategy.  The Leafs need to invest in that.  Having the Marlies in town is an advantage they should exploit.

        • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

          MaxwellHowe Cameron19 ingy56 It could always be better, but it has taken huge strides over the past 10 years or more. The AHL team used to be a place to bury mistakes.