Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Analysis

Analysis

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

297

The old saying goes that one man’s garbage is another man’s treasure, but perhaps sometimes the opposite is true. This season the Leafs conducted a fire sale because they had no other choice; the team is bad and had a collection of pending unrestricted free agents. Three players in particular that the Leafs would have loved to keep, had the team been doing well, were Daniel Winnik, Mike Santorelli, and Cody Franson. In Nashville, Franson has gone from playing on the top pairing in Toronto to under 16 minutes per game and secondary power play time. Mike Santorelli has played just under 13...

656

One of the main questions in Toronto down the stretch has been whether or not Dave Nonis will be General Manager of the team moving forward. It is a reasonable question, but perhaps it is not the right one. More appropriately, is this a position that anyone in the league with experience will actually covet? There are the obvious reasons one can think of as to why an experienced manager would not want to take control of the Toronto Maple Leafs. The team is lousy, they have an admittedly shallow prospect pool, the team is riddled with controversy and has a poor...

129

With Connor McDavid on the sidelines (resting for the playoffs), Dylan Strome put together a six-point afternoon versus Niagara yesterday, including four goals, to capture the OHL scoring title from Mitch Marner's grasp. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lOUVrwCZhE With both putting up fantastic draft year seasons and Marner technically still edging Strome on points per game, the debate as to who goes fourth behind the consensus top 3 of Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel and Noah Hanifin is unlikely to rest anytime before the draft. And as we're all well aware, their current fourth overall draft standing places the Leafs central to that debate. Strome vs. Marner has been written...

Randy Carlyle Peter Horachek

824

When the Maple Leafs fired Randy Carlyle 40 games into the season, their record stood at 21-16-3. They are 6-22-3 since then. On the surface, that is nothing but ugly and it has led to some half-sarcastic comments suggesting Carlyle should win coach of the year. Let’s explore it. The first thing to note is that, while the team was technically in a playoff position by overall points, they were not by points percentage. Throughout the season, the constant discrepancies in games played between teams mean there is more value in looking at points per game compared to overall points. The Leafs were...

737

On trade deadline day, it was revealed the Leafs and Red Wings were making a push to get a deal done that would send Dion Phaneuf to the Detroit Red Wings. In the aftermath, the potential deal, or at least parts of it, was revealed. Here is what Elliotte Friedman wrote last week: My guess is the pre-Coburn plan centred around Phaneuf, Stephen Weiss and Brendan Smith. The Maple Leafs understood they’d have to take Weiss’s contract to make it work. Smith makes sense because, like the Toronto captain, he’s a left-shot. He’s also due for a raise so adding salary...

855

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...

841

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: Among those deals involving a contract with term -- the exceptional Clarkson for Horton swap, Wisniewski has just two seasons left, and the once in...

1026

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

782

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

147

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

13

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

135

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

50

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

593

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...