Sunday, March 29, 2015
Analysis

Analysis

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

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...

75

I have been invited to write some posts for Maple Leafs Hotstove on advanced statistics / hockey analytics and how they relate to the Maple Leafs. I figured a good start would be to write up a brief (or maybe not-so brief) introduction to hockey analytics, which is something I have been intending to do on my own website HockeyAnalysis.com but haven't gotten around to it yet. It will get more attention here anyway, so this is as good a time as any to get it written. This is certainly not an exhaustive list of everything going on in hockey analytics,...

260

When Brendan Shanahan was introduced as the new President of the Toronto Maple Leafs, it was met with skepticism and the focus centered on Tim Leiweke’s consistent reiteration of the word “culture.” Conversely, Shanahan's focus was not on buzzwords of culture change, or calls to arms, but a methodical approach to assessing and addressing the needs of a team that has very good parts but ultimately is a poorly built team. "I’m not here today for big speeches, big words, big proclamations; None of that matters. Wins do," Shanahan said at the time. He is right, wins are what matter. But on...

87

The final installment of Anthony Petrielli's interview with Toronto Maple Leafs Director of Amateur Scouting Dave Morrison touches a little more on the ins and outs of the scouting process, catches up on the progress of a few members of the 2013 draft class (including Frederik Gauthier), and looks ahead to the 2015 Draft. Here's Part One and here's Part Two. Anthony Petrielli: I’ve noticed a theme in your draft history where you give a late pick or two to Thommie Bergman to use. Has there been any thought in bringing him overseas to pick apart the OHL or the...

54

July 22nd 2014, a date that will live in infamy.  The Toronto Maple Leafs hired Kyle Dubas, formerly the General Manager for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, former scout, agent, and fancy stats pioneer as assistant general manager. While he rankles at the comparison to famed Moneyball GM Billy Beane, Dubas does have the statistical bona fides to change the way game is being played in Toronto. Here are five key points from the hire: The Leafs will use their analytics budget this year Dave Nonis nearly broke twitter last season when he indicated that the Maple Leafs have had money allocated for...

Peter Horachek

919

Rosters are not set in stone yet, but the dust is starting to clear on the summer moves and we are starting to get a picture of what next season’s NHL landscape will look like. For the Toronto Maple Leafs specifically, we still need to find out the fates of James Reimer and Cody Franson -- beyond that, here are some thoughts on what has transpired thus far: 1 - One quietly interesting note and a bit of a strange trend this summer has been depth NHLers getting long-term deals. A few questionable players who got three year deals include:...

99

James Reimer and the Toronto Maple Leafs will go to arbitration to determine what the embattled Leafs goalie is worth. Hint: he's getting a raise. In my last article, I discussed the upcoming Club-elected salary arbitration of Ryan O’Reilly and the Colorado Avalanche. The flipside of Club-elected salary arbitration is Player-elected salary arbitration, which procedurally is the mirror image of Club-elected arbitration with the Player driving the process and being given the opportunity to present his case first rather than the Club. Yesterday, CBC’s Elliotte Friedman broke the story on Twitter that James Reimer was among the first players to file...

128

There’s nothing like draft weekend to prime the hockey world for free agency. It was an up and down weekend for the Toronto Maple Leafs, but hopefully it is a draft class we can look back on with a smile one day. It certainly started with a bang for Leafs fans. Here are some notes and thoughts on the weekend that was: William Nylander When a team drafts outside of the top few selections, they’re mining through a pool of players with at least one perceived flaw or deficiency, otherwise these players would have been at the top of the order. For the Leafs,...

2014 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five

528

Congratulations to the L.A. Kings on winning the Stanley Cup. What a great season 2013-2014 was, one of the best playoffs I’ve ever seen, and all that other fun stuff people say at this time of year. Wayne Gretzky high-sticked Dougie and if it was properly called the Toronto Maple Leafs would have won that series. While Toronto didn’t make the playoffs this season, it doesn’t mean there aren’t any lessons they can glean from watching the games. Here are 10 things that were rolling through my mind while watching the “second season:” The Stanley Cup champs won the Cup with...

Morgan Rielly

176

A warm welcome to new writer, Luka Ryder-Bunting, who looks at improvements to be made with the Toronto Maple Leafs' Power Play The Toronto Maple Leafs’ power play interested me this year. The power play was by no means a downfall of the Leafs this season, ranking 6th in the league with a 19.8% success rate. That being said, every franchise should be looking to improve themselves in any way possible, and there is definite improvement to be made on the Leafs man advantage. Much of the coaching staffs’ decision-making seemed odd to me this season regarding player usage. Carlyle seemed reluctant...

725

One of the things we try to do in our analysis at MLHS is discuss possibilities for upcoming decisions facing the Maple Leafs in their pursuit of improving the organization. There is no perfect formula for building a winning team, so all avenues have to be explored from a multitude of angles. A few weeks ago, I discussed the possibility of the Leafs moving up in the 2014 NHL draft and why it might make sense to do so. Trading for the top pick is extremely rare; although the first overall selection appears to be more in play than usual...

1180

One of the “logical” things that is supposed to play out in Leafland this summer is the team trading James Reimer and officially running with Jonathan Bernier as their starter. All things considered, how logical is it really? How many teams want Reimer? Here is a list of every team’s goalies going into next season: I have emboldened/marked with asterisk the potential fits for Reimer based on him wanting to be a starter; otherwise, most teams seem to be at least comfortable with their starter or tandem going into next season. You could also potentially include Carolina should they manage to get rid of...

1231

Former Bruins GM Harry Sinden had a great quote on being a GM in the book Behind the Moves: “I think the bottom line is pretty simple: who can play and who can’t play. That’s the bottom line. That is the fundamental job of the GM. Most GMs, if they didn’t have to make that call, could do it, because administratively, it’s . There is a little more involvement because you have to play how you’re going to filed the team, make such things as a salary cap work, but that’s just mechanics. You read the CBA once and...