Analysis

Analysis

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

568

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...

492

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...

659

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...

128

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...

1253

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...

327

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...

550

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...

1442

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...

1240

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...

1517

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...

1616

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...

1330

The more I think about the Jonathan Bernier trade, the more I realize it was a straight-up judgment call by the Leafs' pro scouts (led by Steve Kasper, this staff includes Mike Penny, Tom Watt and Rob Cowie.. the trade also likely involved a consultation with amateur scout Mike Palmateer). While Bernier has an edge in pedigree based on his draft position, projecting goaltender development can be alchemy and neither Scrivens or Bernier have significant enough sample sizes to their name to really know what either could become. James Reimer's biggest workload in a single season is 37 games,...

2643

The Jonathan Bernier to Toronto speculation was ongoing all week, so it wasn’t a complete surprise when the Leafs acquired him yesterday. What was surprising, considering teams that are in much worse shape in net like the Flyers and Islanders were in on the bidding, is that one of those teams didn't offer big value for a goalie so many are apparently high on. Ultimately, it seems the Leafs were able to offer a package that matched up well with the Kings’ needs. The Leafs gave Los Angeles a good backup goalie and top nine forward who combine to cost...

3

We reviewed Clarke MacArthur the other day here at MLHS. The feedback seemed rather divided on the question of whether to keep or not to keep the pending UFA. Meanwhile, there's no doubting that David Clarkson’s name will only continue to remain attached to the Leafs in rumour circles as we approach free agency and the Toronto native remains without a contract past July 5. With a glut of wing talent already, and Phil Kessel in need a contract extension, there’s no way Dave Nonis should re-sign MacArthur and then also go and sign David Clarkson. It’s not a...

582

While there is said to be continuity between the two managers given their close working relationship for several years in the Leaf front office, Brian Burke was always more transparent and vocal than Dave Nonis when it came to how he ran his hockey team. For that reason, I’ve decided to research Nonis’ time with Vancouver in order to see if I can come up with some logical ideas of what to expect from Nonis in the upcoming months. Last summer, before the draft, we were able to look at Brian Burke’s own quotes and pretty well nail that Lupul-Kessel...

308

Reimer, Reimer, gotta be startin’ Reimer. The Dave Morrison Connection No secret to any hockey fan older than Rebecca Black is that Toronto Maple Leafs have a long history of poor scouting, drafting, and player development. Back in 1989, the Leafs had three first round picks of which to restock their prospect cupboard and build for the future. Instead, the budget was cut and the scouting director at the time was told to focus on one junior team and one team only – the Belleville Bulls of the Ontario Hockey League. The 1989 draft was noted for its abundance of serviceable hockey...

514

In hiring Tim Leiweke, MLSE has brought in a guy who is partly what many fans have always wanted in a President, and partly what they detest. It is no secret that Leafs fans have always felt slighted within their perception that MLSE cares mainly about making money rather than winning. Leiweke, however, is a guy who most certainly does care about winning. In LA, he bought his own tickets to Kings games so that, as Helene Elliott of the LA Times wrote, “he could vent his passion more freely than he could in a remote suite.” When the Kings won the...

433

As the Toronto Maple Leafs skip along to their first playoff berth in eight seasons, Dion Phaneuf’s play is forcing his name to be included in discussion for the Norris Trophy.  The Norris is awarded annually to “the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position,” and that sure sounds like the play of the Leaf captain this season. He plays a physical, two-way brand of hockey and sits fifth-best in league for defensemen scoring with eight goals and 18 assists for 26 points in 42 games.  He’s a leader on the ice, the...

195

Against the Rangers, the Leafs went 24:33 without a shot. Considering that’s nearly half of regulation, I went back and watched the tape in order to find out what exactly was going on during this time. 3:32 was the time of the Leafs last shot before they finally shot again 24:33 later. There was a delayed penalty coming up on the play for the Rangers and the Leafs were working it around New York’s zone nicely resulting in a Kulemin slap shot from the top of the circle. The Leafs had five shots on net in the first 3:32 of...

154

Trade Deadline 2013 is in the books. The Kiprusoff scare is over.  Leafs are still 5th in the East. “Sometimes the best moves are the ones you don’t make.”-Anthony Petrielli -(@APetrielli) For those of you who missed it and were doing something productive, yesterday's experience reminded me of a famous quote once uttered by an esteemed San Diegan news anchor. In what started off as an eerily quiet and inauspicious morning, things quickly turned into a maelstrom towards the end of the deadline at 3pm. I usually go solo on this piece but given the magnitude of the Trade Deadline, I...