Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Analysis

Analysis

In-depth analysis of the Toronto Maple Leafs from the Leading Leafs-centric website.

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A deadline of selling rentals and stockpiling depth picks was expected, until the Columbus Blue Jackets came calling with an offer too good to be true. Somehow, Toronto got out of the David Clarkson era relatively unscathed. Last summer, the Leafs signed three effective top-nine forwards who can each play up and down the line-up, at every forward position, drive play, play on the PK, and chip in 25+ points. Combined, Leo Komarov, Daniel Winnik and Mike Santorelli accounted for a $5.7M cap hit. On his own, David Clarkson made $5.25M. This season Clarkson will finish with fewer points than each despite...

849

It could fairly be depicted as a seller’s market this past deadline season, but only in the context of cap uncertainty going forward, with the big unknowns of whether the players will opt for the escalator and where the upper limit might track with the strength of the Canadian dollar. The result? A heavy majority of deals around the deadline featured expiring contracts or at the most one more year of term on the player’s contract. See for yourself: The probability of Dion Phaneuf or Phil Kessel moving going into the deadline, if the Leafs had any designs on getting decent value, was next...

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The NHL is officially a week away from the NHL trade deadline. Leafs fans in seller mode rejoice. I’ve written before about selling high and selling low, and I thought this would be a good time to revisit that framework due to an expected flurry of trades to happen at some point in the next seven days. I’m not going to write about obvious players on the move like pending UFA Daniel Winnik, but let’s take a look at some players under the Leafs control who are on the block: Phil Kessel Sell Status: Low Thoughts: Kessel had 214 points in his last 212 regular...

30

A significant portion of modern hockey analytics revolves around Corsi (or SAT% as defined by the NHL), which is really nothing more than looking at which team takes more shot attempts. If you can out shoot your opponent, the theory is that it goes a long way to driving success in terms of out scoring your opponent and ultimately winning games. There is a lot of evidence to support the case that Corsi is a major component of on-ice success. While I believe many people put too much weight on Corsi statistics, I do accept that it is a major component...

Phil Kessel vs LA Kings

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I’ve been listening to more hockey talk radio than I usually do in the past week or so – as a Leafs fan, trade rumours are nearly all I have left in terms of a stake in the 2014-15 season -- and I’ve been surprised by the common refrain suggesting the Maple Leafs will have to retain salary if they're to trade the remaining 7 years and $54 million of Phil Kessel's contract for good value (should they move him in the off season). As I just stated, this isn’t only in regards to a potential move before the deadline, when the cap logistics figure...

96

The Maple Leafs completed their first trade of the season with something expected: Moving out a couple of pending UFAs they were in tough to retain. There are essentially two ways to view the move. You can say this as an indictment on the Leafs for not locking up Cody Franson long-term earlier, or that he is not worth the money he is about to get and they cut bait at the right time. Turning 28 this year, most know the story on Cody Franson by now. He’s a big, right-handed defenseman who can score and struggles to skate. Since 2012, he...

0

Last week, I took at look at zone start changes from Randy Carlyle to Peter Horachek and found some interesting differences. Among them was a flip in zone starts by David Booth, going from a heavy defensive-zone player under Carlyle to a heavy offensive-zone player under Horachek. Another significant observation was the massive improvement in the first line's Corsi from near league-worst levels (low 40s) to being more than respectable, particularly for Tyler Bozak, who had a CF% of over 53%. Booth also saw a massive improvement in his CF% from Carlyle to Horachek. This week, I look at WOWY stats...

video

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Anthony Petrielli and Steve "Dangle" Glynn were on Global TV talking Leafs rebuild.

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Did the Maple Leafs miss out on a chance to include Cody Franson in their core going forward? Yesterday's trade with Nashville has some asking the question. The Leafs had two additional opportunities to do so: One came after his good season in the short lockout year, and the other was the negotiation before the current season began. Both presented an opportunity to sign Franson to some term at a value reflective of a bargaining position that was weaker then than it is now. A complete afterthought when the lockout lifted, Franson returned to have a very nice surprise season in 2012-13. He finished an impressive sixth in even strength point production among...

Brian Burke Mastercard Center Board

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Rumour season is in fine form as the Toronto Maple Leafs, yet again, limp to the finish line. There are a lot of big names being thrown around that carry big contracts, and while we don’t know if any of them will be moved we can reasonably assume at least some of the Leafs pending UFAs will be gone by the trade deadline. In particular, the three players that are getting the most attention in Toronto are Daniel Winnik, Mike Santorelli, and Cody Franson. The trade market has not been set yet, but we can look back at previous deadlines to...

Randy Carlyle Peter Horachek

113

Under Randy Carlyle, the Maple Leafs were a test case as to whether a team can win despite being dramatically out shot largely through controlling shot quality, both for and against. There is ample evidence to suggest that under Carlyle the Leafs were in fact an above average shooting percentage team and may even in fact have been able to suppress shot quality against to some degree. Unfortunately, their ability to be significantly out shot outweighed any ability to have a positive impact on shot quality, and they were at best a mediocre team. Randy Carlyle is gone now and it seems...

237

Since the hiring of Peter Horachek, the Maple Leafs have reduced their shots against, but have been ice cold offensively. Horachek has begun implementing a 5-5-5 system where the team is about moving in units versus cheating for odd man rushes and hanging out at the far blue line, and it has taken some time adjust. One of the most interesting quotes on the team and their changes came from Ken Hitchcock before the Leafs played in St. Louis. “Everything I see is Nashville,” Hitchcock said. “That’s the way Nashville played for years. You can see the implementation of it. I...

Dion Phaneuf

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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...

Dave Nonis Leafs

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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...

163

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...

Peter Horachek, Toronto Maple Leafs

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When Peter Horacek was hired in the summer, it was a reasonably safe bet that at some point the man who served as interim head coach of the Florida Panthers last season would be doing so again for the Toronto Maple Leafs this season. While many Leafs fans dream of the Mike Babcocks and Todd McLellans of the world, Horachek is the guy in charge right now and he is a possibility to be the guy long term. In Shanahan’s presser he said, “Peter will be one of the options that we will consider.” It might be a good thing...

29

I originally intended this to be a look back after 41 games, but recent events made it much more sensible to use 40 games as a cut-off. Come April, there should be some interesting comparisons between Carlyle's coaching era and Peter Horachek's. For background, my methodology is listed as part of my first post at MLHS. There's also been some very nice work done on scoring chances recently at war-on-ice.com. Those numbers usually don't agree with mine, and I'm a little hesitant on them because of how poor some of the shot location data can be from rink to rink. In...

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Randy Carlyle’s inevitable firing brought about as crazy a day in Leafs land as any in recent memory. Phil Kessel and Dave Feschuk arguing, with Kessel calling Feschuk disrespectful and an idiot. Ex-coach Ron Wilson suddenly showing up to pour gasoline on the team, light a match, and walk away. Bill Watters thought of every negative thing he could say about Kessel and Phaneuf, and then said them on air. At some point there was a Dave Nonis press conference where, as has become the norm, not much of substance was really said. He then was not allowed to go on afternoon radio...

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The only real surprise is that he made it all the way to 2015. The same fundamental flaws haunted this Leaf roster despite a fleeting glimpse of progress in the first 10-15 games of the season, when the Leafs were actually playing some even games in terms of shots and possession share. That quickly took a return to the depressingly familiar: https://twitter.com/MimicoHero/status/549371146928685058 You have to figure players like Carter Ashton and Greg McKegg (the most recent examples among many others) getting inserted into the lineup only to play nothing minutes was a significant part of this, because not only were the results...

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With the NFL playoffs currently unfolding, the storylines in football circles revolve around the usual topics—Can Peyton Manning win another Superbowl, can Tom Brady get a step closer to winning the most of all-time, can Aaron Rodgers do what Brett Favre couldn’t (win two), can Tony Romo win one? Even though we do not get quite the same amount of NFL and NBA coverage in Canada as we would in the States, it is still common to hear about the globalized stars in those sports and how many championships they have or have not won. Perhaps it is the influence of those...