Analysis

Analysis

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

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INTRODUCTION I've always had an keen interest in systems, the X's and O's technical side, with a desire to document team systems across the entire NHL. Systems are mostly a coach's implementation, and once there is a coaching change there is the system change, even if it is only tweaks. I've found that doing a little systems analysis helps in the overall scouting process as well, a concept I won't go into detail on here, but I've written about its benefits on my own blog. In an effort to document the Leafs systems, I'm going to dedicate a three-post series breaking down...

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Good morning MLHS, First off, let me start by thanking Alec, Michael and Michael for inviting me to participate in Maple Leaf Hangout Episode #17 - if you guys and gals had nearly as much fun watching as I did filming, then you and I are off to a good start! [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SWlmdtezZ0&w=700&h=394] Secondly, I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself to anyone that didn't catch the Hangout and wonders what the heck I'm doing here. I've been following Alec's writing since he started out at that 'other site' and I quickly moved over to the greener pastures of MLHS...

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Peter Holland made his debut for the Leafs last night, playing 12 even strength minutes next to JvR and Kessel. Obviously it was nothing to read too far into, but Holland was strong in the circle (he was only 38% over 4 games in Anaheim, but went 7 for 11 last night), had one good chance in the slot, and showed a smooth skating ability for a big guy. Said Randy Carlyle: "I thought he did OK, it's hard when a young guy comes in. It's not like we hid him in the lineup.. That's what we believe; if...

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Tyler Bozak and Nazem Kadri could return as early as the 21st, but the Leafs needed to add some center depth regardless with Dave Bolland on the shelf indefinitely and nothing available on the Marlies yet past Trevor Smith. The ideal scenario was Dave Nonis, in the place of acquiring a Vernon Fiddler type, grabbing a young center with some upside, especially since the organization had given up on Joe Colborne after preseason. In Peter Holland, a former 15th overall pick in 2009, that's exactly what he's acquired. It's hard not to be pleased considering the Leafs badly needed...

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Nazem Kadri will attend a hearing with league discipline czar Brendan Shanahan this afternoon. The hearing is reportedly about the collision with goaltender Niklas Backstrom. It's not clear as of yet if this indicates the League has reviewed Kadri's hit on Mikael Granlund and found no supplemental discipline is needed. When the League looks back at the tape, I think, or hope, they will find that the Granlund hit looked and sounded worse in real time than it was when scrutinizing the slow motion replay. The match penalty that saw the Leafs serve a five-minute penalty, and Kadri being ejected...

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The Leafs dropped their sixth game of the season against the Bruins on Saturday night, but the optimistic take is that maybe a lineup weak down the middle can still raise their game to compete with the better teams. A solid second period is something the coaching staff and players will no doubt look to as something to build on tomorrow against Minnesota. The Wild are 10-4-4 and, as it stands, have the most points of any opponent Leafs will face until the end of November. Here's the break down of the next 10 games: That's really weak. The total record...

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Two of the longer term concerns entering the 2013-14 season for the Toronto Maple Leafs were the contract statuses of their star players Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf.  GM Dave Nonis made good on Kessel’s desire to negotiate before the season, and now the Leafs leading scorer will be in the fold until 2022. Having taken care of the time sensitive work, now Nonis’ sights will be set on re-signing the Leafs captain to a long term deal.  But what’s it going to cost?  Let’s take a look. For his part, Phaneuf has said he’s open to negotiating a new...

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Tonight, David Clarkson will make his debut with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Many in Leafs Nation are excited about the prospect of a power forward like Clarkson entering the lineup. Rightly so: he hits, he fights, he cycles and he can put the puck in the net. Despite the aforementioned accolades, the most valuable contribution Clarkson will make to this team is simple: his unrelenting desire to win as a Maple Leaf. A longtime fan of his native Ontario team, Clarkson turned down a better offer from the Edmonton Oilers to make Toronto his (likely) final destination in the NHL....

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James Mirtle wrote a column on the Leafs' abnormally high shooting percentage yesterday. Given we're at the 10 game mark of the season and the Leafs shooting percentage and save percentage are actually up a significant margin from last season, let's update the numbers for Carlyle's team if we combine this season so far with last season including playoffs. (The Leafs currently lead the league in team shooting percentage at 12.3%, and are fifth in the league in team save percentage with a 0.930). To summarize, because the table text is pretty tiny: Working with a 65-game sample size now,...

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First off, can I just say how excited I am about this coming season? Last year, I predicted that the Leafs would be a lottery team. I can only think of a handful of times I was happier to be wrong. In many ways, the 2013 Leafs finally defined the four tenets of Brian Burke’s promise – truculence, pugnacity, belligerence, and testosterone. There are few things more gratifying as a fan than to be able to puff out your chest the day after a win and say, this is my team. A shortened season may have saved the Toronto Maple...

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For the first time in a long time, the Leafs are going into the season with a well-set forward group. The top six is all but guaranteed to be Phil Kessel, Tyler Bozak, Joffrey Lupul, JVR, Nazem Kadri and David Clarkson, comprising a fairly established and proficient group. The bottom six forwards will feature Dave Bolland, Jay McClement, Nikolai Kulemin, and at least one enforcer for sure. Joe Colborne would probably have to be horrific in camp for him not to make the opening twelve at this point, which really leaves just one spot up for grabs between a host...

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The obvious follow up to the total points draft chart from yesterday is a look at the total games played and games played per draft pick. Results after the jump. - One thing to keep in mind: Teams that have been perennially competitive and choose/prefer to take the slow boil approach to prospect development may have their draft hauls understated in this exercise. It's obviously early returns as far as most of these draft classes go. At the other end of the spectrum, teams that provide ample opportunity to their youth may have theirs inflated (NYI has 25 picks who...

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After taking a look at the work of MLHS member "xxxnew" on 'point production by round' in the draft, a few of  you expressed an interest in seeing a chart on total points by drafted players for each team. FWIW, I put together the data in a couple of hours this afternoon. Here's how the teams stack up based on the five drafts between 2005-2009. Recent Stanley Cup winners Chicago, Boston, Pittsburgh and Los Angeles are all right near the top. While Pittsburgh has a sizeable edge in points per pick (we all know why that is), Colorado leads the way...

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During my interview with Scott Gordon, the Leafs assistant coach said something that caught my attention when he noted: “This year our top six is guys who have had pretty good track records of scoring goals.” The injury to Joffrey Lupul for the majority of the shortened season really put the lineup out of whack. As Grabovski played a shutdown role, the Leafs second scoring line was basically MacArthur-Kadri-Frattin for quite some time until Lupul returned and the line turned into Lupul-Kadri-Kulemin, a unit which no doubt did some serious damage. This summer the Leafs threw big money at...

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With training camp a little under 3 weeks away, we thought we'd get things started with the MLHS Season Preview Series. Leading up into training camp, our writers will break-down and provide insight into each position. This week, we'll start the series with a look at the Leafs' goaltending duo of James Reimer and Jonathan Bernier. - Next season's tandem of James Reimer and Jonathan Bernier will be a focal point of discussion and debate.  Moreover, the trade for Jonathan Bernier has already driven a wedge between those who a) see Reimer as the Leafs' bonafide number 1 goalie deserving of...

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Summer has officially entered the dog days in the hockey world and there’s little in the way of new developments to discuss. However, seeing as I was away on vacation for most of July, I wasn’t able to contribute here as much as I normally would so I figure now is as good a time as ever to catch up on some Leafs topics that have been on my mind. Goaltending - It’s pretty clear the Leafs are going to roll with one a 1A and 1B model in net where Reimer and Bernier split starts, which is fine. The only...

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Heading into free agency, nearly every Leafs fan knew that Nonis wanted to bring in David Clarkson, considered your prototypical Carlyle guy. Well, I’m sure you all know that Nonis got his man, and at a hefty $5.25 million cap hit for 7 years. There’s been much discussion since the signing about the contract Nonis gave to Clarkson and I don’t particularly want to beat a dead horse. So, without really delving into the subject of whether or not I think he’s worth that money or term, I want to give Leafs fans a look into what Clarkson brings...

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Some will argue the Leafs have gotten better over the last few weeks, others will say they’ve gotten worse; the only thing we know for sure is that they’re noticeably different. Out go Mikhail Grabovski, Clarke MacArthur, Leo Komarov, Matt Frattin, Ryan O’Byrne, Mike Kostka, and Ben Scrivens. In come Dave Bolland, David Clarkson, TJ Brennan and Jonathon Bernier (along with a few new Marlies - Colborne? D’Amigo? Blacker? Ashton?) . So what do we make of all this? The best way to look at it is to break it down piece by piece. Forwards: Bozak over Grabovski, Clarkson...

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Please give a warm welcome to Taylor Wright, the newest member of the MLHS writing team. Be sure to follow him @taylor_wright. On Sunday at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, Toronto Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis acquired centre Dave Bolland from the Stanley Cup-winning Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for picks 51, 117 and a fourth round pick in 2014. You knew that already, I'm guessing. So let's take a look at how Bolland was used in Chicago, how well he performed in his role and what we can expect from him as a Leaf. HOW WAS HE USED? This past season...

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The old saying in hockey is that defense wins championships, and defense was the theme of the day for the Leafs yesterday even though they didn’t acquire a single defenseman. For Toronto, the day started off by selecting 6’4 Frederik Gauthier with their 21st overall pick. Gauthier started off the season hot with 10 goals and 20 points in his first 20 games, but he suffered a broken jaw that required surgery and struggled after that offensively, potting only 12 goals in his remaining 50 games. However, his effort was routinely noticeable defensively, as Gauthier worked hard to cut...