Saturday, April 25, 2015
Analysis

Analysis

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

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...

Peter Horachek, Toronto Maple Leafs

442

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...

195

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...

2450

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...

407

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...

81

For the first time since the 2003-04 season, the Maple Leafs won 20 games before the official NHL winter break. But, in the eight full seasons between accomplishments, never had the team played over 60% of their games before the winter break at home. The Leafs went into Christmas with a 14-8-0 record at home specifically; nobody else in the league had more than 13 wins at home. According to Sporting Charts, “Over the 2013 NHL season, the average Home % - Away % among NHL teams was 0.08.” It was a 0.11 difference in 2011-12. This tells us what...

11

Introducing the MLHS Maple Leafs top 30 prospect rankings, complete with player-by-player scouting reports. These rankings are based on a combination of the overall talent package for each player, plus the likelihood of them reaching their peak potential. Of course, it is difficult to quantify these traits into hard numbers, however after spending countless hours scouting each player, the chips start to fall into place as far as which players are rising to the top and which ones are slipping down the Leafs' prospect depth chart. This list is intended to be a stamp in time, and no ranking list...

192

And what should the Leafs do with the polarizing young defenceman? The answer isn't an instantly-gratifying one: Continue to be patient. There is currently no bigger riddle or lightning rod on the Maple Leafs than the 24-year-old, recently-signed-long-term Jake Gardiner. When he broke into the NHL during the 2011-12 campaign, Gardiner was a breath of fresh air, adding a much-needed skill dynamic to the backend while logging 21:35 per game and notching 30 points on the season, good enough to lead all rookie defensemen. In the eight full seasons since the 2005 lockout, only 20 rookie defensemen have scored 30 or more points...

29

The last three games have really highlighted the Leafs defensive woes, but the problem has been an ongoing one and a significant portion of the blame must be given to the Leafs top line. On Puckalytics.com, you can find what I call "Percent of Team" statistics, which are nothing more than the percentage of all events by the team that the player was on the ice for (only counting games in which he played in). So, for example, we can see that Ryan Suter leads the league with a %ofTeam TOI of 45.44% this season, which means Suter has been on...

97

Nazem Kadri has faced enormous expectations ever since his name was called by then-Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke at the 2009 NHL entry draft. Most scouts had Kadri pegged as a prospective 2nd line center. In the eyes of the Toronto media, a player of his skillset and creativity brought about visions of what could possibly become the elusive first line center the Buds have coveted since the departure of Mats Sundin, one that would help resurrect the franchise and ultimately lead the team’s brigade towards success. In a crazed hockey market like Toronto, sky-high expectations are in the nature...

6

The opening period of tonight's game was similar to the Leafs' last road outing against Detroit. The difference was that the Hurricanes were able to take advantage of their dominance. They not only out-chanced Toronto 8-3 at ES, they finished the period up 2-0. Toronto had some fightback early in the second, and while Carolina dominated the middle of the period, a late goal gave the Leafs some hope. Until the last five minutes, there wasn't much Toronto push in the final frame, as Carolina added a third goal, and held the chance advantage. Things turned around in the last...

17

While the score line was different, there was a lot similar between the Leafs' back-to-back wins against the teams from Southern California. Much like Sunday, the Leafs went out to a 2-0 lead, despite being out-chanced in the first two periods, and, also just like that game, Anaheim responded with a goal late in the second, putting some pressure on Toronto. The Leafs showed some good resilience with another great third period; despite holding a lead, they were even in chances. Of course, the difference was that they turned four of those chances into goals, making the final score pretty lopsided. It...

219

With a minute left in the second period against the Los Angeles Kings, a familiar sight for Toronto Maple Leaf fans was taking place as their top line was on the ice and hemmed in their own zone. The Kings would score that shift—albeit a weak goal—against the Leafs three worst possession players at that time in the game (James van Riemsdyk was the highest at 22CF%). On their first shift of the third period, they got scored on again.  For the night, they were the three worst possession forwards on the team. They also combined for two goals for. The trio...