Saturday, April 18, 2015
Analysis

Analysis

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

6

The last time these teams met, it was as one-sided an NHL game as I've seen. It looked like there might be a similar result this time out; through 15 minutes the Leafs were dominant in chances, and it just seemed like a matter of time before they would break the Sabres down. However, after the penalty to David Clarkson, Buffalo scored two goals before the end of the period. While Toronto again had the better of the play in the second, even a late pair of goals couldn't help them get closer than two. Two goals for the Sabres...

266

The Leafs had twelve minutes of powerplay time, but weren't able to get a goal out of any of it against the Penguins. Pittsburgh dominated the Leafs at even strength all night, but Bernier stood strong, and Toronto was in it right until the end. So it ended up as one of those odd sorts of games where the Leafs probably deserved to lose by more, but also will be ruing their missed chances. In particular, Toronto was outchanced 5-1 at ES after Franson's goal, showing how poor their chase was when they didn't have the extra man. This was...

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Boston Bruins

11

After losing out in their last game against Boston, Toronto came out strong last night, dominating the first ten minutes and getting a goal for their work. The game was even in chances after the first period, as Boston did well in the second half of the frame, although the Bruins still trailed. However, the Leafs broke it open in the first half of the second period, dominating play and scoring four goals in the ten minute stretch. They ended up taking the period 9-4 in ES chances. While Boston pulled the chance gap back in the third, it didn't...

93

The 2013-14 season marked the first time since the 1989-90 campaign that no goalie played more than 65 games. https://twitter.com/cmasisak22/status/456305105310986241 That was, of course, an Olympic year with a condensed schedule. While I expect we will get at least a few goalies playing 65+ games this season – Cory Schneider has started every game for NJ this season — this might be the start of a trend. In 2011-12, 10 goalies played 65+ games. Four of them now have good young backups (Niemi-Stalock, Quick-Jones, Pavelec-Hutchinson, Price-Tokarski), Miikka Kiprusoff is out of the league, Cam Ward is being surpassed by his backup, and...

4

After playing a wild game with the Rangers last night, tonight's game, the makeup for the postponement from the 22nd, was another exciting and goal-filled affair. Unlike that game, though, the Leafs didn't have a major lull, as even as they fell behind three times in the first twenty-five minutes, the chances stayed pretty much even, and Toronto went into the final period even in chances and ahead on the scoreboard. While Ottawa did have the better of the third, as they chased the Leaf lead, James Reimer again stood strong to secure back-to-back wins for Toronto. You can see that...

2

The Leafs had another dismal start, falling behind in the first minute, but ended up on top of a wild opening period, up 3-2 and even in ES close chances. The second looked like it could be a serious problem for Toronto; they were outclassed in chances, but they managed to surrender only a single goal, leaving the teams level heading to the final 20 minutes. After Rick Nash put the Rangers ahead early in the third, the Leafs managed a pair of goals to get back ahead, and then did a very good defensive job, not allowing the Rangers...

Carter Ashton

8

With the announcement yesterday afternoon that Maple Leafs winger Carter Ashton has been suspended for violation of the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program as a result of his use of a PED containing inhaler, many Leafs fans are wondering what impact this will have on the Toronto Maple Leafs. Article 47.7(a)(i) provides that a first positive test will result in a 20 game suspension without pay. So what does this mean for the Leafs in terms of salary cap? According to Article 50.10(c): Player Salary and Bonuses that are not paid to such Player shall not count against a Club's Upper Limit...

4

The Leafs came out flat in Arizona, with a couple of bad giveaways and an unlucky bounce seeing them fall behind 3-0. Toronto didn't generate a single ES chance until just before the halfway point of the game. They improved in the second half, but still ended up out-chanced pretty decisively. They managed a pair of powerplay goals, but there wasn't much generated at ES down the stretch, even while they were chasing the one goal lead in the last few minutes. The Leafs never got back to ES Close after the early part of the game, and while they...

401

A 3-0 week quieted the “blow it up” talk in Toronto, but it will inevitably rear its ugly head again. Rebuilding the team entirely would be the wrong call though. Shedding some big contracts, however, may not be. If we use the Pittsburgh Penguins as an example, tanking is a long and arduous process. Pittsburgh drafted Sidney Crosby first overall in 2005, which many people associate with the start of the rebuild. If drafting first overall is start of a rebuild, their rebuild really started in 2003 when they drafted Marc Andre Fleury with the top pick. They ended up winning the Cup in 2009, drafting...

Phil Kessel

4

The Leafs earned a second straight win against a short-handed Blue Jackets team, getting some opportunistic third period goals to secure the victory. The first two periods were fairly close in chances until the Leafs scored their second goal, after which a couple of strong shifts saw them open a gap in chances. While Toronto managed only two shots on goal, both goals, in the third, they were even in chances, a sign of a very good defensive road effort. This was the lowest overall chance game the Leafs have played this year; they were content to defend their lead after...

7

After getting a lot of media heat from Saturday night's loss, the Leafs had the perfect response. They played what was, by the numbers, easily the most dominant single performance from a Leaf team in a long time, as they allowed Buffalo just ten shots on net, and had over 80% of the chances at even strength. Through most of two periods, they were playing with fire a little, not having turned the domination into any goals, but in the third Buffalo ended up paying for their struggles, and the Leafs were able to win easily. These numbers are nuts; to...

352

When Kyle Dubas was named GM of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, one of the first things he did was buy every member of the front office a copy of Jonah Keri’s 'The Extra 2%.' For those of you who have not read the book, it archives the Tampa Bay Rays rise to prominence after a near decade of failure. Baseball Prospectus wrote a review summarizing the plot: The book’s title refers to Rays owner Stuart Sternberg’s philosophy that rather than attempt to lap the field—an unrealistic goal, given the team’s financial realities and the challenge posed by sharing a division with baseball’s...

5

When I had the chance to sit down and watch this game, having missed it live, I expected a Leaf performance quite a bit worse than what I ended up seeing. Boston had a territorial edge, but for the most part didn't generate much in the early part of the game. The Leafs actually led in chances after two periods, despite being behind 2-0. However,  Toronto wasn't good in the third period, and two quick goals saw a game that was still within reach break open, with Bernier pulled. That first period was quiet in terms of chances, and the Leafs were unfortunate...

409

Since the 2014-2015 season began, I have been tracking my own internal metrics on Leafs games. I thought I’d take the time to explain what it is I’m keeping record of and what I am hoping to accomplish by doing so. If you do not care and just want to read notes, quotes and ‘5 Things I think I’d Do,’ just scroll down and skip this part; otherwise, read on to learn more about what we are doing here at MLHS to take things (hopefully) to the next level. Corey Sznajder’s zone entry and exit work was released over the summer,...

56

This was a bit of an odd game, scoring chance wise. The Maple Leafs had a superior possession performance to what they managed Friday night, but -- particularly in the third period -- they weren't able to turn that possession into scoring chances, as they generated few shots from the 'home plate' area. Jonas Gustavsson had to make saves down the stretch, but wasn't tested nearly as stringently as Jonathan  Bernier was. This shows in the chances, as the Leafs were beaten by a similar margin to Friday night's game, despite the fact it was a better game from Toronto. It was...

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...

576

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,...

47

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....