Analysis

Analysis

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

286

After getting a little momentum, winning two straight games and winning the chance count against Colorado, the Maple Leafs had a disappointing return to form on the first night of a back to back versus Detroit. After an uneventful first half of the opening period, Detroit took over. Toronto responded well in the second, and despite allowing another goal, were the better team in terms of scoring chances for the first two-thirds of the period. However, in the next 20 minutes, stretching over the period break, Detroit outchanced them 10-2 at ES, opening up a bigger lead and crushing the Leafs' hopes...

4

For the first time this year, the Leafs were clearly the superior team in Tuesday's game against Colorado. They dominated the ES chances, especially in an effective third period, when they chased down an Avalanche lead and threatened to win in regulation before Kessel settled the game with a piece of overtime magic. There's a lot of positives to take from this game. Edit: Since this is my first post here at MLHS, I should add a little background. I'm tracking scoring chances using the relatively common 'home plate' approach, as described at In Lou We Trust, among other places. Scoring...

579

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

82

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,...

48

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....

15

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...

38

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...

27

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

11

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...

46

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

197

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...

154

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...

165

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...

308

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...

41

Over the past two off seasons, the Toronto Maple Leafs have made a fairly significant number of moves to their group of forwards beyond their core of Kessel, JVR, Bozak, Lupul and Kadri. Significant forwards gone from the 2011-12 season are Mikhail Grabovski, Clarke MacArthur, Nikolai Kulemin and  JayMcClement, while Dave Bolland and Mason Raymond are gone from last season. Incoming forwards the past two off seasons are David Clarkson, Mike Santorelli, Daniel Winnik, David Booth, and Leo Komarov will return to the Leafs after a season in the KHL. The following table shows some key stats for all these players over...

Dion Phaneuf

60

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...

43

Last week, I looked at a WOWY analysis of Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak, where we saw that Bozak had a much improved season over his previous seasons. I wanted to take a look at Bozak's individual statistics to see where he improved and by how much. It is fairly easy to see he had a better season last year by looking at traditional statistics. He had 49 points in 58 games for 0.84 points per game compared to 0.61 and 0.64 his two previous seasons. What is interesting is the improvement is exclusively during 5v5 play, as he had just...

Jay McClement

54

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...

113

In my first post here at MLHS, I wrote an introduction to advanced statistics which generated some good discussion in the comments. A number of the comments were with respect to WOWY analysis and some more specifically with respect to Kessel and Bozak.  I will delve into that more here in my second post. As explained in my introduction to advanced statistics post, WOWY is short for "With Or Without You" and looks at how the team performs when two players are on the ice together and when they are each playing apart from each other. So, for Phil Kessel...

Steve Spott

87

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...