Sunday, April 26, 2015
Analysis

Analysis

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

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My season-long project to chart Toronto Maple Leaf scoring chances mercifully finished on Saturday; you can take a look at my methodology in my first post at MLHS. The key moment of the season was the firing of Randy Carlyle, and you can see that while the team's record went south after the coaching change, that wasn't reflected in their chance numbers. There was no difference between the two coaches in ES Close chances, even as the Toronto Maple Leafs' record plummeted. The Maple Leafs were better at ES overall under Horachek, but that may be down to score effects, as...

485

If you watched Brendan Shanahan’s end of season press conference and began wondering who the next GM will be, you missed the forest for the trees. It was pretty clear last season, and abundantly clear now, that Brendan Shanahan is the GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Traditionally there is confusion when teams don’t have a GM in place because now the incumbent staff is reporting to a president or ownership group that is not a hockey expert. That is not the case here. Shanahan could go into the draft and free agency tomorrow and not miss a beat. He has...

409

In a great piece on the 'Shanaplan' and the mass firings today by the Leafs, Bob McKenzie put forth the name Mike Futa as a good fit for the now-vacant GM’s role. Los Angeles King exec Mike Futa is a name that will no doubt come up. When Buffalo and Calgary were looking for GMs, Futa was a prime candidate, but the Kings took him out of the mix, promoted him and gave him a new contract with some restrictions on when and what jobs he can entertain. Or not. ... He has an impressive hockey CV, dating back to his...

Brendan Shanahan Leafs President

800

Brendan Shanahan has continued the organizational overhaul with the dismissal of Director of Pro Scouting Steve Kasper and Director of Player Development Jimmy Hughes, with a number of scouts expected to be dismissed shortly as well. https://twitter.com/darrendreger/status/587321376966606850 https://twitter.com/damospin/status/587316586702340096 Last summer we spoke to Kasper, and here's one of the most notable quotes worth revisiting: AB: Does the pro scouting staff measure players with anything other than their “eyeballs”? Does the team use any statistical metrics within their database of players? SK: No, we are not using a statistical analysis. I am not saying there’s not room for that in the game, but sometimes a player’s contribution does...

652

It's official: Dave Nonis has been let go with two years left on his contract, while the entire Leafs coaching staff has been cleared out. https://twitter.com/jeffmarek/status/587284021429735424 These six days will always stand out in our memories of Dave Nonis' tenure. We can argue until we're blue in the face about how legitimate the team's modest lockout season success was in the first place, but this was undoubtedly a detrimental week of moves following the 2012-13 season. https://twitter.com/3rdperiodsuits/status/557265642559377410 It's been rumoured the current management group views the Leafs' playoff appearance that year as a major setback to the franchise due to how badly the standing of...

2015 NHL Draft

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With Carolina's win over Philadelphia tonight, the Maple Leafs have unofficially secured the fourth overall draft pick, pending the April 18 lottery results. Assuming either the Leafs or someone above them win the lottery (a 54.5% probability), this draft selection will be the highest the Leafs have made since they drafted Scott Thornton third overall in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft. It comes in a generational draft year where fourth overall projects to be more than your average fourth overall pick. That's the type of news Leafs fans have sorely been craving after the worst three months in recent team history. Here...

40

One Game Left. Notes Interesting piece by Thomas Drance over at TLN on executive compensation and the Leafs. Essentially, if the Leafs fire Nonis and hire someone away from another team to help conduct the draft, it is going to cost them a second round pick. That hardly seems worth it any way you slice it. The Leafs head office is completely inexperienced at the NHL level, which is to some a big deal and to others means nothing. The team has had a poor season and a few PR nightmares, so how they proceed is anyone’s guess, but this could...

301

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...

131

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

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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...

736

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

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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.