Analysis

Analysis

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

791

What a much more enjoyable month of hockey that was from the Maple Leafs, the latter half in particular. Toronto has seven regulation wins in their last 10 games, and are 9-1-1 in their last 11, after just seven regulation wins total between October 29 and January 14. The Leafs seem to be playing closer to the potential their talent level would suggest after a couple of bleak months culminating in a brief stint spent on the outside looking in at a playoff spot. Saturday's win was the first game of the season in which the Leafs out shot an...

438

The Maple Leafs have cleared some cap space with a number of players set to return from IR shortly (Smith, Clarkson, Bolland). Oilers acquire Mark Fraser from Leafs for Cam Abner and Hartikainen. — Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) January 31, 2014   always impressed with Hartikainen .. projects to a good lower roster player if he can be brought back to N America. — Gus Katsaros (@KatsHockey) January 31, 2014   Overall a very good little move by Leafs, especially if Hartikainen ever returns to North America. Fraser would have cost cap space in AHL. — James Mirtle (@mirtle) January 31, 2014   Most importantly, the Leafs have added wiggle...

216

This is amazing: With another multipoint game last night versus the Florida Panthers, marking his 18th and 19th points in his past 11 games, Phil Kessel now sits fourth in points over the past three seasons. He's only four points back of first-placed Evgeni Malkin, meaning Kessel becoming the scoringest player in the National Hockey League in the past three seasons (start of 2011-12 to current) is an actual possibility, should he finish the season strong (-er than the other guys). Un-frickin’-real, and it speaks to the evolution of this complete, elite offensive threat, as he’s also in the top-15...

852

According to @themayor, the Maple Leafs have acquired Manchester Monarchs right-winger Brandon Kozun from the Los Angeles Kings. The 23-year-old Los Angeles native was drafted in the sixth round of the 2009 draft. #LAKings have traded Brandon Kozun to Toronto Maple Leafs. #TML — The Mayor John Hoven (@mayorNHL) January 22, 2014 The 5'8, 180-pound Kozun has been a regular AHL points contributor but has yet to play an NHL game. He has amassed 179 points in 264 AHL games. Some offensive firepower for the Marlies here, from the looks of things, as Kozun is from all reports a skilled little winger...

593

Everything is coming up aces for the Toronto Maple Leafs in January.  The club has won six straight games to not just climb back into the playoff race but establish a secure foothold.  And if the riches weren’t embarrassing enough, the Leafs also have junior hockey’s hottest scorer, Connor Brown. Brown, the 156th selection in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft currently leads the Ontario Hockey League in scoring with 31 goals, 61 assists for 92 points in 45 games this season.  He holds a 10-point lead over his closest competitor (teammate Dane Fox) and is on pace to challenge the...

Jim Hughes

1003

MLHS' Alec Brownscombe recently caught up with Director of Player Development Jim Hughes to check in on the progress of the younger Maple Leafs. Hughes and Claude Loiselle had recently traveled to the World Juniors together to take in Frederik Gauthier and Andreas Johnson's performances for Team Canada and Team Sweden respectively, as well as one viewing of Fabrice Herzog for Team Switzerland. On Connor Brown's eye-popping production: JH: In Connor’s case, the goals and assists are in a lot of ways just the result of his whole makeup. He loves the game, he works extremely hard day in day out, he’s...

334

As reported by TSN’s Darren Dreger, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Dion Phaneuf have come to terms on a 7-year contract extension valued at $49-million ($7-million AAV).  This keeps the 28 year old Phaneuf in the fold until the end of the 2020-21 season.  Bob McKenzie is reporting that there is some form of NMC/NTC, which is a typical addendum to UFA-year contracts.  The deal is the second-most expensive contract ever signed by the Maple Leafs (Kessel’s 8-year, $64-million dollar deal signed earlier this season is #1). The Only Man for the Job The money should come as no surprise.  Back...

Dion Phaneuf / Phil Kessel

435

Darren Dreger is reporting that a contract extension for Dion Phaneuf is near completion, as in it could be signed and sealed before the New Year. The long rumoured figures have The Captain's new deal in the neighbourhood of 7x7. Phaneuf would join David Clarkson, Joffrey Lupul, Phil Kessel, James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak as 'core' members of the team locked up through to the end of the 2018 season (or beyond).  Here's an important point of consideration when analyzing the upcoming extension for Phaneuf - Relative Compensation under a rising cap.   C. The Rising Cap and Leafs Contracts Leaving aside...

video

261

There isn’t much I can add to the powerplay analysis that wasn’t in the write up by JP Nikota describing the Leafs use of the 1-3-1. They adopted this system in 2012-13 while more teams have incorporated the formation throughout the NHL. This may be the same reason Randy Carlyle has kept the penalty killing system intact for the last two seasons. More relevant in 2013-14 is the severe drop off in the success of killing penalties, a part of the ’12-13 Leafs that excelled while sitting at the top of the standings and helping propel the Buds into their first...

658

Unlike a singular rigid structure in the defensive zone, neutral and offensive zone systems fluctuate upon game factors including score, time remaining, and game situation (5v5 or 4v4). They also vary line to line and shift to shift. Varying conditions make it difficult to really pin down one specific system being applied as a core philosophy, while personnel and opposition systems further muddy the set of variables that need to be addressed. The philosophy holds the entire system together, with other variables contributing to the on-ice decisions. A primary proponent to score effects, a passive forecheck is desired when defending...

Gary Bettman

1073

How will it happen & what does it mean for the Toronto Maple Leafs? A. Background In a memo released in September of this year, the Chief Operating Officer of the NHL notified all league employees of initiatives and staff changes to take effect during the 2013-2014 season. In the memo the league identified a plan to increase annual gross national revenue by $1 billion dollars by the end of three years, or in other words, in time for the 2016-2017 season. To put that type of increase in perspective, it had previously taken the league from 2005-06 to 2011-12 –...

Toronto Maple Leafs Defensive Systemsvideo

811

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...

355

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...

841

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...

348

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...

860

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...

576

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...

870

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...

555

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....

767

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,...