On Scoring Chances and other things

On Scoring Chances and other things

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So I wanted to try and bridge the many events of the Leafs off-season into a giant post – unfortunately, after I get one of the topics off my chest, I am probably going to wing this (sorry Alec). I haven’t had the time to really break down my own thoughts because my summer has been all about being as lazy as I could possibly be – I’m a little surprised that I haven’t gone a day without taking a shower yet. So I hope everyone is enjoying their summer, getting sun, and trying out new beer.

Scoring Chances, Being a Douchebag, and Circle Jerkin’

At the end of the Leafs season, there were some questions about the path management would take to improve the possession weakness that had plagued the organization all season long. By any metric available to the public, the Leafs were soundly out-shot, out-possessed – this is indisputable by shots taken, shots attempted, and in the recorded cases, puck possession time.

In perhaps one of the greatest hockey interviews ever by our own Alec Brownscombe, Leafs assistant coach Greg Cronin declared that he did not believe that the team was out-possessed at all. Skepticism aside, it did give the fan-base some clue of what the team tracked as far possession was concerned – scoring chances. I took a quick look at Cam Charron’s scoring chance work throughout the season, but couldn’t find anything beyond 36 games. But at the 36 game mark, the Leafs did actually out-chance their opponents 474-469. Edit: I erred on my interpretation of these numbers — the original included special teams. The actual numbers available to us are 392 against and 355 for on even-strength. However, this isn’t the chasm inferred via shots total against. But it does leave me wondering what Cam’s final scoring chance counter was.

The Leafs out-chancing the opposition doesn’t necessarily mean anything. But it does give credence that the coaching staff actually knows what they want out of their line-up, how to get it, and what they are tracking. Oddly enough, the narrative that Carlyle and Co. don’t have a clue what they are doing come from the lowest denominator of an internet arm-chair general manager from that other place. You might get a good look here and wonder why SkinnyPPPhish has difficulties understanding that Ben Scrivens’ save percentage was well below the league average from 10 and 20 feet out while improving as the shots were pushed out. This was repeatedly pointed out, but I guess this is a last resort to draw attention to less circle-jerkin’ in a comment section and more open-mindedness about the devil in the details.

Dur hur.

And by the way, James Reimer was above the league average for save percentage in the 10 and 20 feet distances, which kind of busts the myth the goals given up were a little high. In fact, if you consider the shots given up with Reimer in net in the 10 and 20 feet area of the ice, he was slightly below the league average of roughly 6.974 shots per game – he took 6.94 whereas Scrivens took 5.5 per game and gave up 20 goals. So the evidence clearly points to Scrivens being less than stellar with handling scoring chances while Reimer was significantly above league average.

Now, I wanted to actually find out what exactly the scoring chances were against Reimer and Scrivens. Thanks to Greg Sinclair, I went to check www.somekindofninja.com to check out the scoring chance data we have available. As some of you know, the blogging community has explored the scoring chance data by using a home-plate area of the ice just in front of the net. Sinclair’s site has added the home-plate area search feature to our benefit:

James Reimer: 34 goals, 262 shots: .870%

Ben Scrivens: 25 goals, 128 shots: .805%

At this point, I think we can quickly bust whatever point SkinnyPPPhish was trying to make with his super fancy stats, pie charts and tables, general douchebaggery, and move on with our lives. Scriven’s scoring chance performance at even strength was abysmal – his performance is likely why the Leafs went ahead to acquire Jonathan Bernier (as well as insurance against a Reimer injury). While it’s not entirely fair to throw the Leafs’ short-comings at one player’s feet, Scrivens did have a rough season.

If a skeptic wants my data, I can provide the excel spreadsheet via email – just tweet or DM me on Twitter and I’ll fire off the attachment.

All told, I am going to undertake a project on my own to track scoring chances this coming season. Just for the Leafs and their opponents – I’m going to also try and locate who was on the ice at the time of the scoring chance and see where it takes me. Here’s a great refresher on the definition of a scoring chance.

I will get into more details once I have it mapped out for the season.

Miscellaneous

The re-signing of Tyler Bozak is extremely questionable to me. On one hand, it is so goddamn tiring to have mediocre centre options on the first line. I want a bona-fide number one centre who can dish the puck, shoot the puck, and make life a living hell for opponents with Kessel and van Reimsdyk flying down the wing playing shotgun. Bozak is nothing close to creative or even a good possession player – but he does defend with good effort and the face-offs do have some value to the line. I do hope that he can continue refining and expanding his game, but he’s going to have to be a little more selfish about shooting when he has the opportunity to.

Bozak’s contract is listed at 5-years / $22,000,000. On the surface, it’s terrible. Long-term, I don’t anticipate an issue. James Mirte did some conservative research on the rising cap. While the numbers are low, it’s entirely possible that within a few years, Bozak’s contract would fall into the middle or lower-tiers of a second line centre – perhaps even a third-liner. Whatever the future may be, I think it’s safe to say that it’s not the horrid contract some have purported it to be.

Conversely, the Clarkson signing is extremely intriguing and very worrying. The Leafs were already dealing with a bevy of talent on the wing, but adding Clarkson to the mix only makes them even more versatile. The Leafs can bring a speed game, a skill game, or a physical game. And it’s nice to have a player who can play hockey and throw down with some fists.

However, 7-years / $36,500,000 for a power-forward who will soon be on the downswing of his production is just too much. There’s some hope that he can sustain some sort of productivity in the later stages of his contract, but it appears to be a three or four year investment. My big hope is that Clarkson brings the possession game that many on social media have demanded – at the very least, the Leafs might not win a game next year, but at least their Corsi and Fenwicks are positive and we can all pat ourselves on each other’s backs and say, “We did It, guys! We have positive Corsi!”

For the record, I am really pleased with Carl Gunnarsson’s re-signing and the contract. A very underrated player and I hope his hip issues are behind him. As for Paul Ranger, whatever personal issues have plagued him in the last four years, I hope he’s ready and committed to helping shore up the team’s defense.

The Leafs have some three remaining RFAs to re-sign. Nazem Kadri, Cody Franson, and Mark Fraser are the three. I’m actually not that concerned about Nonis and Co.’s ability to re-sign all three since I anticipate that J.M. Liles will be traded anyway – but if Franson or Kadri are traded, all bets are off. My guess is that Fraser will be awarded less than 1M, Franson 3.1M, and Kadri 3.5M – all will be given a bridge contract.

I have a lot of faith in Kadri’s abilities and I hope that his ceiling comes sooner rather than later – the team needs his skill on the first line and I hope he’s up to the task.

More stuff coming later – someone will add links to the post. I’m off for a week. I will try and get more content up when I get back. Enjoy your weekend!

Links:

Lupul misses the Canadian Men’s Olympic hockey try-out — aims to improve

Clearly a homer. A big fat homer.
384 comments
Savo43
Savo43

5 years 20 million. I hope thats what Franson gets. He'll be easily worth that by the time that contract is done. Much like the JVR deal when he was in Philly. 

Cameron19
Cameron19

It would be a pretty huge step back to replace Franson with a draft pick. 

Scottish Leaf
Scottish Leaf

Hope we keep Franson but if he's traded, I will not lose sleep over it. I have seen better defenseman come and go. 

JMAC17
JMAC17

Talking to a friend of mine who said he was hanging out with Frasor (we all live in Ottawa)...

They bugged him for an update on his contract and he was tight lipped until a few beers were introduced.

They said he didnt say much, but that he wasnt sure it would get done for the Leafs....has held discussions with St. Louis apparently.


Take it for what its worth...#hearsay

vji67
vji67

Hypothetical: if Franson doesn't want to sign for roughly 3.5M and another team offer-sheeted him for over 4M, would you be happy getting two 1st rd picks, one 2nd & one 3rd?

darthNihilus
darthNihilus

@rustynail DGB bought into the PPP mentality. Too bad because I used to love his articles.

How will the haters, pessimists and advanced stats guys square away if we have another good season next year? Will it be chalked up "luck" again? 

I prefer to be cautiously optimistic. 

JMAC17
JMAC17

@rustynail Who did we lose that really the team?

MacA? Frattin? Scrivens?  Nope...

Only Grabs was a real loss for the team, but I think we will be ok with out him.

mr_hanie
mr_hanie

@Savo43 $4 million a season for 30 good games.. whatever you are smoking..pass it on

Savo43
Savo43

trade Liles, retain about 300k of his salary, then sign Naz for 2 years 3 mill cap hit. 2.5 first year, 3.5 the second. 

Scottish Leaf
Scottish Leaf

@Jmessih That was exactly my point below, both are going to get a big pay-day if they keep on improving and Franson if he continues to improve like he did last season could get that pay-day. I hope he signs a Subban-esque type deal as it makes the most sense.

Burtonboy
Burtonboy

@Cameron19 One of the few NHL right D we actually have . Franson will get signed 

rustynail
rustynail

@vji67 that would make the Leafs match just to not set a precedent 

vji67
vji67

sorry, i was looking at 2005 compensation. right now it would only be one 1st rounder & one 3rd rounder.

Lescott
Lescott

We replaced our lousy third line with a good one. Also, Lupes over JVR, even though he played few games he carried us.

Savo43
Savo43

@mr_hanie @Savo43 Lol you're lost if you think he's only played 30 good games in his career. He's been solid since he stepped foot in the NHL. He didn't even play bad under Wilson, he was just underused, and given horrible advice (ala, lets not be tough because Ron Wilsons teams are nice guys). 

Cameron19
Cameron19

@Burtonboy @Cameron19 If it comes down to Franson or Kulemin, I'd prefer to keep Franson.  And before that, I'd prefer to tack on prospects and picks to Liles to get someone to take him. Nonis needs to be creative here.  Trading Franson would be quite stupid, in my opinion. 

J_hardt
J_hardt

@dlb eh @JMAC17 I think so ... I don't even think RFAs are allowed to talk to another team. The only thing they can do is sign an offer sheet. I could be wrong, but this info seems suspect.

J_hardt
J_hardt

@dlb eh @vji67 Agreed. This team is already short on quality right handed defenders.  Franson needs to stay.

vji67
vji67

@rustynail @vji67 If the Leafs were asked to match a 4+ offer sheet, doesn't that leave Kadri royally screwed? I mean, we'd have ~2.5 left to offer him, right? Assuming we let Fraser walk as well...

Savo43
Savo43

@Jmessih @Savo43 @mr_hanie Anybody in the world can be MUCH more effective at something. That said, Franson does use his size to his advantage LOTS, especially in this past season, so not sure exactly what you guys were watching lol. I'd trust Franson in the last minute over any of our defenders not named Phaneuf. 

mr_hanie
mr_hanie

@Savo43 @mr_hanie Franson still cannot be trusted in the last minute of a period....maybe next season he can step up...

Franson has the potential...but not there yet

Savo43
Savo43

@mr_hanie @Savo43 A lost puppy in his own zone? Man, he's a beast in our corners, the only time he's ever a liability is when he makes a mistake at the oppositions blueline, which DID happen, but doesnt happen often. He is a beast in our zone, uses his reach and size very effectively, and has a great pass in transition. 

mr_hanie
mr_hanie

@Savo43 @mr_hanie No way Franson and Subban are comparable..Franson still has a lot to prove....good shot, but still a lost puppy in his own zone....

Savo43
Savo43

@mr_hanie @Savo43 Yeah, he was a healthy scratch and still found a way to lead our defense in points. 

Savo43
Savo43

@mr_hanie @Savo43 Thats not even an argument, Subban was clearly raped in that deal. He wanted 6 mill and got 2 because he wasn't playing for the first 10 games of the year and just wanted to get out there. Horrible comparison. 

mr_hanie
mr_hanie

@Savo43 @mr_hanie no way Franson makes more than Norris winner

Subban. Franson was a healthy scratch under Carlyle as well

darthNihilus
darthNihilus

@Cameron19 @Burtonboy I dont believe my eyes?! The biggest advocate of Kuli would rather see him gone than Franson?! What is the world coming to?

Burtonboy
Burtonboy

@Cameron19 @Burtonboy Don't think it will even boil down to that. Man anyone who thinks Nonis and Loiselle don't have every angle figured out here are naive. Franson can ask for the moon but he really has no leverage unless he went to arb or someone offersheets him. I hightly doubt that happens. Whats he gonna do ..... sit out ?

J_hardt
J_hardt

@dlb eh @Jmessih @JMAC17 @J_hardt  Yeah it would have to be by trade, since they can't walk away from an arbitration award thats less than 3.5 mill ... and fraser isn't getting that. So basically he's staying a leaf unless he's traded.

J_hardt
J_hardt

@JMAC17 @J_hardt @dlb eh Uh, they present you with the offer sheet, and you look at it? Either you like the term and the money offered or you don't. I'm under the impression that they aren't allowed to actually talk to the player like in a normal negotiation.