Analysis

Analysis

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

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When Kyle Dubas was named GM of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, one of the first things he did was buy every member of the front office a copy of Jonah Keri’s 'The Extra 2%.' For those of you who have not read the book, it archives the Tampa Bay Rays rise to prominence after a near decade of failure. Baseball Prospectus wrote a review summarizing the plot: The book’s title refers to Rays owner Stuart Sternberg’s philosophy that rather than attempt to lap the field—an unrealistic goal, given the team’s financial realities and the challenge posed by sharing a division with baseball’s...

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Since the 2014-2015 season began, I have been tracking my own internal metrics on Leafs games. I thought I’d take the time to explain what it is I’m keeping record of and what I am hoping to accomplish by doing so. If you do not care and just want to read notes, quotes and ‘5 Things I think I’d Do,’ just scroll down and skip this part; otherwise, read on to learn more about what we are doing here at MLHS to take things (hopefully) to the next level. Corey Sznajder’s zone entry and exit work was released over the summer,...

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The Maple Leafs were faced with a unique opportunity to keep their top prospect in Toronto playing in the AHL, yet they elected to send him back to Sweden instead. Since 2005, 14 players drafted in the top 10 have played their draft season across the pond somewhere in Europe or Russia. There is no exact science to developing prospects and every individual person is, of course, unique. That said, odds are that some AHL time will occur, even if only for a handful of games before graduating to the NHL, provided Nylander becomes the player they hope he can be. Nylander...

Jake Gardiner

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In my last post, I looked at which Maple Leaf players are producing their fair share of the offense. In the comments to that post, a few readers wanted me to take a look at the players defensively to see who is performing up to par in that aspect of the game. Today, I'll look at the defensive side of the game in conjunction with their offensive performance. It may be worth while to go back and read it now if you haven't yet read the previous article, but I'll remind you of the process below:  If you are not yet aware,...

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Dion Phaneuf's effectiveness always seems to be a popular matter of debate in the world of hockey. This shouldn't surprise anyone when citing a player who captains an NHL team in a hockey-crazed market like Toronto while carrying a beefy cap hit of $7,000,000 per annum. Last season, Dion was subject to incredibly difficult usage at the hands of head coach Randy Carlyle. His teammate Corsi For percentage of 43.4% was the 16th lowest among all defensemen since 2007-08, while his offensive zone start percentage of 37.7% ranks lower than all but 23 blueliners in the Behind the Net era....

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If you are not yet aware, I have recently launched a new hockey statistics website at Puckalytics.com. Long-term this will be the replacement for stats.hockeyanalysis.com, but not all features are implemented yet; for now, both will remain operational. There are some new statistics available at Puckalytics.com and one of those features is the ability to find the percentage of a team's overall statistic that the player was on the ice for. I call these '% of Team Stats' and they can be found here. To explain exactly what these statistics mean, let's look at % of Team TOI. Last season, Ryan Suter...

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In May of 2013, I wrote an article on Dion Phaneuf and his play when the team is leading vs when they are trailing. It presented a pretty compelling case that Phaneuf is a significantly better player when the Leafs are trailing, a situation in which he is given a more offensive role. Today I will update that article while looking at some new statistics. Background I recently posted an article on how to conduct a WOWY analysis and in it I introduced the concept of TM (short for Team Mate) statistics. To summarize, TM statistics are like a combined WOWY and are a...

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As we continue to wait for Stephane Robidas to make his on-ice debut in the blue and white, it makes sense to have a look at what we can expect from the experienced blueliner. Maple Leafs management appears to have high hopes that he can bring stability playing alongside one of their two young defenders, Morgan Rielly or Jake Gardiner. His veteran status and leadership will likely be all the more important to management now that injuries will prevent Henrik Tallinder from making the team and may prevent Cody Franson from playing  to start the season (as of this writing,...

Toronto Maple Leafs v Boston Bruins - Game Two

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My first post here at MLHS was an Introduction to Advanced Hockey Statistics, which I recommend you go read if you have not done so yet. In it I introduced the concept of WOWY statistics and WOWY analysis in player evaluation. In this post I am going to look into this deeper with examples and explain where and how you can get the data yourself. What are WOWY statistics? WOWY stands for With or Without You and essentially looks at pairs of players and how they perform together and how they perform apart. WOWY statistics typically consists of three groups for every...

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One of the more interesting developments in the beginning of Maple Leafs training camp has been the notion of reuniting Joffrey Lupul with Phil Kessel, which would drop James van Riemsdyk down a line. Would that idiot break up that line? You’re saying that . Or you’re going to say it if I do it. - Randy Carlyle on changing up the top line But should we? Let’s take a closer look at how JVR performed with Kessel this season, compared to how Lupul fared in the 2011-12 season.   There are a few things to keep in mind here when comparing the two:  The Leafs team...

Stephane Robidas

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This past off season, Maple Leafs management brought in two veteran defensemen to replace some combination of Paul Ranger, Carl Gunnarsson and John-Michael Liles/Tim Gleason, with the goal of giving the defense a new look and hopefully reducing the number of shots the Leafs give up. This shouldn't be a difficult task, as last season the Leafs were easily the worst team in the NHL in shot attempt against rate. The question is: Are Robidas and Polak up for the task?  Let's have a look. In a recent post of mine at HockeyAnalysis.com, I looked at what I called CA60RelTM, which in long form can be...

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Most fans had Randy Carlyle fired before the 2013-14 season ended.  He wasn't. Instead, Toronto's front office opted to extend the former Norris trophy winner.  Quotables citing Carlyle's experience and Stanley Cup-winning pedigree have been bandied about as support.  Even his detractors are unlikely to admit his retention immediately spells the end of this year's playoff hopes.  But a failure to significantly overhaul his defensive system of the past two seasons is likely to do exactly that. By now, you're all familiar with the infamous "swarm" tactic that the Leafs have employed (unsuccessfully) since the beginning of the 2012 season.  Many recognize it as...

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Yesterday the Leafs partook in their annual golf tournament and pre-camp media rounds, where Joffrey Lupul touched on a topic that has popped up throughout the summer—the Maple Leafs have gotten older. I’m really excited with a lot of the guys we picked up. Robidas, Polak, Winnik . . . just a little bit of a veteran presence throughout the lineup is going to do a lot for us on and off the ice. The last couple of years we’ve been one of the youngest teams in the NHL and now we’ve added some more veterans, guys who have played in...

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The Maple Leafs offseason has had a central theme of analytics and 'Moneypuck' due to their off-ice hirings and firings, but they have also followed this mantra with their on-ice additions. One of, if not the, main original concepts of 'Moneyball' is finding undervalued players due to perceived flaws and maximizing your spend on quality contributors. This clip from the movie sums it up nicely: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGf6LNWY9AI As discussed earlier in the summer, the Leafs brought in a collection of players with strong underlying numbers on relatively harmless contracts. Shanahan’s “island of misfit toys,” in this case, refers to the signings of David Booth, Mike...

Dion Phaneuf

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In the 2005-06 season, the Maple Leafs had the second best power play in the league and one of the biggest reasons was Tomas Kaberle’s ability to gain the zone and set up the attack. Any Leaf fan can tell you it was mesmerizing to watch 'Kabby' slice up the neutral zone and work the attack like a QB as he glided to open space and found uncovered teammates with ease. The Red Wings had the best power play in the league in the 2008-09 season, and one of the big reasons behind it was their zone entry breakout, which the rest...

Jay McClement

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One of the more head-scratching themes of the Toronto Maple Leafs' 2013-14 season was their penalty kill dropping from second best in the league the season prior to third from the bottom. It was a big fall from grace for a team that returned its top four penalty killers (Jay McClement, Carl Gunnarsson, Dion Phaneuf, and Nikolai Kulemin), had excellent goaltending, and the same coaching staff. The team experienced a huge nose dive in almost every statistical category. It is astonishing to look at: Other than the obvious curiosity to find out why the Leafs PK sunk like a stone, there are...

Steve Spott

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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...

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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,...

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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...

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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...