MLHS' Alec Brownscombe chatted with newly-appointed Maple Leafs assistant coach Steve Spott this afternoon. There was lots to cover ahead of the new season.
Alec Brownscombe: As a guy who grew up in a soccer family and whose father emigrated from Germany, you must be pretty pleased with last month’s World Cup result?
Steve Spott: It was awesome. I come from a traditional German background. For our family, it was pretty special watching it. Obviously, with TFC in our city, it’s great to see the sport growing here close to home.
AB: I’m a season ticket holder at TFC, actually. It’s a...
I have been invited to write some posts for Maple Leafs Hotstove on advanced statistics / hockey analytics and how they relate to the Maple Leafs.
I figured a good start would be to write up a brief (or maybe not-so brief) introduction to hockey analytics, which is something I have been intending to do on my own website HockeyAnalysis.com but haven't gotten around to it yet. It will get more attention here anyway, so this is as good a time as any to get it written.
This is certainly not an exhaustive list of everything going on in hockey analytics,...
When Brendan Shanahan was introduced as the new President of the Toronto Maple Leafs, it was met with skepticism and the focus centered on Tim Leiweke’s consistent reiteration of the word “culture.”
Conversely, Shanahan's focus was not on buzzwords of culture change, or calls to arms, but a methodical approach to assessing and addressing the needs of a team that has very good parts but ultimately is a poorly built team. "I’m not here today for big speeches, big words, big proclamations; None of that matters. Wins do," Shanahan said at the time. He is right, wins are what matter. But on...
The final installment of Anthony Petrielli's interview with Toronto Maple Leafs Director of Amateur Scouting Dave Morrison touches a little more on the ins and outs of the scouting process, catches up on the progress of a few members of the 2013 draft class (including Frederik Gauthier), and looks ahead to the 2015 Draft. Here's Part One and here's Part Two.
Anthony Petrielli: I’ve noticed a theme in your draft history where you give a late pick or two to Thommie Bergman to use. Has there been any thought in bringing him overseas to pick apart the OHL or the...
July 22nd 2014, a date that will live in infamy. The Toronto Maple Leafs hired Kyle Dubas, formerly the General Manager for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, former scout, agent, and fancy stats pioneer as assistant general manager.
While he rankles at the comparison to famed Moneyball GM Billy Beane, Dubas does have the statistical bona fides to change the way game is being played in Toronto.
Here are five key points from the hire:
The Leafs will use their analytics budget this year
Dave Nonis nearly broke twitter last season when he indicated that the Maple Leafs have had money allocated for...
Rosters are not set in stone yet, but the dust is starting to clear on the summer moves and we are starting to get a picture of what next season’s NHL landscape will look like. For the Toronto Maple Leafs specifically, we still need to find out the fates of James Reimer and Cody Franson -- beyond that, here are some thoughts on what has transpired thus far:
1 - One quietly interesting note and a bit of a strange trend this summer has been depth NHLers getting long-term deals. A few questionable players who got three year deals include:...
Based on what we have been told, we would be looking at a notably different roster if the Toronto Maple Leafs' plan A this summer had come to fruition.
Dave Bolland would still be a Leaf, making $4.75M/year for five years, according to Darren Dreger.
Josh Gorges would be a Leaf in exchange for Cody Franson, according to Dreger as well.
Perhaps they would have signed Dan Boyle instead of Stephane Robidas, too, who Pierre Lebrun noted the Leafs were very serious about for days.
From the outside, it appears the Leafs desired a defense of:
Gorges - Phaneuf
Gardiner - Boyle/Robidas
Rielly - Polak
James Reimer and the Toronto Maple Leafs will go to arbitration to determine what the embattled Leafs goalie is worth. Hint: he's getting a raise.
In my last article, I discussed the upcoming Club-elected salary arbitration of Ryan O’Reilly and the Colorado Avalanche. The flipside of Club-elected salary arbitration is Player-elected salary arbitration, which procedurally is the mirror image of Club-elected arbitration with the Player driving the process and being given the opportunity to present his case first rather than the Club.
Yesterday, CBC’s Elliotte Friedman broke the story on Twitter that James Reimer was among the first players to file...
There’s nothing like draft weekend to prime the hockey world for free agency.
It was an up and down weekend for the Toronto Maple Leafs, but hopefully it is a draft class we can look back on with a smile one day. It certainly started with a bang for Leafs fans.
Here are some notes and thoughts on the weekend that was:
When a team drafts outside of the top few selections, they’re mining through a pool of players with at least one perceived flaw or deficiency, otherwise these players would have been at the top of the order.
For the Leafs,...
Congratulations to the L.A. Kings on winning the Stanley Cup. What a great season 2013-2014 was, one of the best playoffs I’ve ever seen, and all that other fun stuff people say at this time of year. Wayne Gretzky high-sticked Dougie and if it was properly called the Toronto Maple Leafs would have won that series.
While Toronto didn’t make the playoffs this season, it doesn’t mean there aren’t any lessons they can glean from watching the games. Here are 10 things that were rolling through my mind while watching the “second season:”
The Stanley Cup champs won the Cup with...
A warm welcome to new writer, Luka Ryder-Bunting, who looks at improvements to be made with the Toronto Maple Leafs' Power Play
The Toronto Maple Leafs’ power play interested me this year. The power play was by no means a downfall of the Leafs this season, ranking 6th in the league with a 19.8% success rate. That being said, every franchise should be looking to improve themselves in any way possible, and there is definite improvement to be made on the Leafs man advantage.
Much of the coaching staffs’ decision-making seemed odd to me this season regarding player usage. Carlyle seemed reluctant...
One of the things we try to do in our analysis at MLHS is discuss possibilities for upcoming decisions facing the Maple Leafs in their pursuit of improving the organization. There is no perfect formula for building a winning team, so all avenues have to be explored from a multitude of angles.
A few weeks ago, I discussed the possibility of the Leafs moving up in the 2014 NHL draft and why it might make sense to do so. Trading for the top pick is extremely rare; although the first overall selection appears to be more in play than usual...
One of the “logical” things that is supposed to play out in Leafland this summer is the team trading James Reimer and officially running with Jonathan Bernier as their starter.
All things considered, how logical is it really?
How many teams want Reimer?
Here is a list of every team’s goalies going into next season:
I have emboldened/marked with asterisk the potential fits for Reimer based on him wanting to be a starter; otherwise, most teams seem to be at least comfortable with their starter or tandem going into next season. You could also potentially include Carolina should they manage to get rid of...
Former Bruins GM Harry Sinden had a great quote on being a GM in the book Behind the Moves:
“I think the bottom line is pretty simple: who can play and who can’t play. That’s the bottom line. That is the fundamental job of the GM. Most GMs, if they didn’t have to make that call, could do it, because administratively, it’s . There is a little more involvement because you have to play how you’re going to filed the team, make such things as a salary cap work, but that’s just mechanics. You read the CBA once and...
Brendan Shanahan continues to make a lot of sense, at least in the words he speaks to the media.
His one action so far, however -- sticking with head coach Randy Carlyle -- has been widely panned.
It’s become clear how Shanahan views the situation, though, at least, and it sounds almost reasonable. He has respect for Carlyle, thinks he had an ‘off’ season worthy of some self-reflection, and believes he once was and can again be a good coach. Most of all, he seems to think Carlyle is open to and capable of adapting, something Carlyle must have successfully conveyed to him...
Why it makes more sense than usual for the Leafs to move up for the #1 pick
In 2012, Dave Poulin gave an under the radar interview on Marlies TV wherein he talked about top centers and how they are acquired.
For those too lazy to watch the whole thing, Poulin discusses an analysis of the top 24 centers in the league and how each of them wound up with their current teams. With that in mind, I took a moment to look at the top center of every team in the league this past season and marked down how they were...
Maple Leafs fans were promised a culture change, however you may define it, when Brendan Shanahan was hired last month. A few weeks later, GM Dave Nonis remains and, with Thursday’s announcement, so does his head coach. It has been clear for weeks that Nonis wanted Carlyle to stay and he was selling Shanahan on it. I'm now left to wonder:
Maybe Nonis is a better salesman than we thought considering all the evidence suggesting Carlyle should have been fired.
At this point, Shanahan may be a figurehead more than anything. Unless he completely overrules Nonis to make a move or...
A mess, but an opportunity for improvement
When a team bottoms out the way the Maple Leafs did, naturally there is going to be a lot of anger directed towards the team and its players. Next, factor in the manner in which the team failed to make the playoffs -- giving up the most shots ever over an 82-game season and plummeting during to an eight-game losing streak in March, prior to which they were ninth place in the entire league. Then, have it all take place in the tempestuous Toronto hockey market. It goes without saying there is going to be a lot of noise...
We looked at options with the Maple Leafs under contract last week. Today, let's take a look at the UFAs and RFAs.
Had a hot start with the Leafs before getting hurt and coming back playing on what looked to be one and a half legs. Really tough to get a read on him based on what he did in Toronto because he simply didn’t play long enough in good health to do so. Based on his past history, he’s a solid 3C and probably the Leafs best defensive center considering what else they have (Bozak, Kadri, McClement…)....
When Brendan Shanahan came aboard, I made a quick passing comment about understanding selling low and selling high with the Toronto Maple Leafs players and cashing in on inflated value when the opportunity presents itself. The Leafs have made a habit of overpaying their own players after career years—for big money—then trading them for absolutely nothing once their play comes back down. That is a trend that obviously needs to stop. So, in saying that, who are the Leafs “sell low” and “sell high” candidates, and what should they be planning to do with these players heading into what...