With the first half of the season in the books, the Toronto Maple Leafs sit firmly entrenched in fifth place in the East with an impressive record of 15 – 10 – 0. So who should we thank for the great successes so far at the midway mark?
In the least interesting reveal of the article, Nazem Kadri wins this first Middy™ by a wide margin. He took the team lead in points in the third game of the season and hasn’t looked back, having tallied 11 goals and 14 assists for 25 points in 25 games. His arrival...
For reasons beyond my comprehension, the two-year contract extension handed out to 25-year-old Korbinian Holzer yesterday generated reactions beyond "oh, alright" on Twitter.
Unless you're predisposed to criticizing minor decisions with little downside, what is there to hate?
Worst case: The Leafs have signed a relatively young, homegrown depth defenceman for a deal below the 900k salary required for a one-way contract to count against the salary cap if the player is in the minors. Yes, he takes up a SPC slot, but you need cheap depth options in your organization.
The best case is that Holzer, he of 18 games, develops...
Mike Brown has been traded to Edmonton for a conditional 2014 fourth round pick (could become a 3rd depending on if he shaves or retains his moustache) as the Leafs are anticipating a few injured bodies will soon return to active duty. Matt Frattin may make his return to the lineup tonight vs. the New Jersey Devils - he's labeled a game time decision - or a little later on this week.
Alas, carrying McLaren, Orr and Brown on the 23-man active roster doesn't make a whole lot of sense given the Leafs are right at the limit and Nonis'...
No games for three days makes for very little in Maple Leafs land development. There’s Komisarek’s laughable trade request, there’s Frattin’s potential return to the lineup this week, and there’s still the question of why isn’t Gardiner on the Maple Leafs, but for the most part all of it is nothing more than a waiting game. Instead, I’m going to look at the most basic of stats (goals and assists) and how the first line forwards are doing in those categories.
38% - That’s the percentage of game winning goals scored by the first line this season. Kessel...
The looming question mark below the surface of a good first 20 games (12-8-0) in the 2013 Leafs season is the fact that the Buds have been pretty consistently outshot (30.8 SA/G, 22nd in the league, versus 28.3 SF/G).
Now, teams that play good enough team defence, control the main areas of the ice consistently enough and get solid enough goaltending can manage to make the playoffs despite losing the shots battle. Ottawa made the playoffs last season despite allowing the second most shots in the league per game; Phoenix was third last in the regular season, made the playoffs...
The always tedious Hockey Night in Canada Hot Stove brought us a worthwhile nugget to examine this weekend, and that’s our first look at the proposed four new conferences that the NHL will be rolling out next season. Earlier in the week, both Darren Dreger and the more reliable Bob MacKenzie hinted that we are only a week or two away from this realignment being finalized, so we can assume this is pretty close to being set in stone:
Of course, we thought we might be close to a...
If I reported back from the future after the Leafs' first 17 games and told you before the season started:
Joffrey Lupul has been out injured since game three, Jake Gardiner has only played two games and is in the minors, Phil Kessel went on a 10-game goalless drought to start the season, Dion Phaneuf recorded only one assist and no goals in his first 11 games, James Reimer has been out injured for several games and we haven't acquired Roberto Luongo or any form of goaltending help, our only player acquisition since the lockout ended is Frazer McLaren, Colton...
One of the more interesting, borderline meaningless stats associated with the Maple Leafs at the moment is their league-leading hit count despite the subtraction of Luke Schenn’s ~270 “hits” (not that Schenn wasn’t physical, but pity the ACC stat recorder who decided his patented three-step push counted as one). Through 16 games in 2013, the Leafs lead the league, ahead of the Flyers and Rangers, with 454 hits.
Now, Leo Komarov alone is responsible for 63 of these, taking up Schenn’s mantle as the undisputed team leader, and it’s not like the Leafs finished in the basement in total hits...
On Hockey Day in Canada in February of 2012, the Leafs organization added special lustre to their matchup against the Montreal Canadiens with the decision to honour Mats Sundin with a pregame banner raising ceremony at the ACC. The Leafs were 28-21-6 at the time, in the playoff hunt, and had even more reason than usual to put on a good showing. They proceeded to get stomped by a score of 5-0, slipping silently into the night and initiating a disastrous slump that would eventually extend the team's playoff drought and end their head coach's tenure behind the bench.
Ten games into a regular season is usually when the good teams and players start to shake off the summer rust and really get rolling. In a 48 game season, there aren’t any games to spare.
Over a fifth into the season now, the Leafs, just like every other team, have had some positives and negatives worth discussing. At the end of the day, 10 games is still only 10 games and nothing is conclusive, but here is the good, the bad and the ugly of the beginning of Toronto’s season:
Nazem Kadri and Matt Frattin
Whether or not you think...
Before getting into the meat and potatoes of the blog, I (keon) want to give a shout out to Cameron. He made a post of few days ago about the Leafs effectiveness in drafting since the 2004-05 Lockout and it was that post that inspired me to look into this topic in greater detail. The thought of which team or teams are the best at evaluating junior age talent, and vise-versa, has always intrigued me, so when Cameron broached the subject I thought maybe it was a good time to finally look into it.
While there are obviously a lot...
This is the first of five reports I'll be writing after each 10-game (and one eight-game) segment of the Leafs schedule, where I break down the team's numbers in the key areas of even strength and special teams; all good factors to consider when you wager on NHL. Note: obviously, be weary of the small sample size in this first report.
At the ten game mark, the Leafs have gone goal for goal at even strength. This isn't awesome, but five teams did the same or worse and still made the playoffs last season - Chicago, Los Angeles, New Jersey,...
Despite the Roberto Luongo to Toronto trade rumours, the Leafs have begun the season with a pair of young netminders manning their crease. The duo of James Reimer and Ben Scrivens came into this year with a combined 83 starts between them. In a hockey-crazed town that hasn’t seen playoff action since 2004, all of these factors haven't stopped management from holding firm in their beliefs in their talents while not giving up good assets for an established goalie.
You would think an experienced management team, such as the one overseeing the Leafs, would like to solidify their goaltending as...
You’d think we were still waiting for the season to start with number of contract posts that have gone up in the past 24 hours. I think the Lupul trade has been analyzed very well by a number of Leafs bloggers (here’s Alec’s take from yesterday), but the fact that this has been discussed so much will not prevent me from weighing in on why I partially like this signing, but ultimately still conclude that it was a bad idea. I think this deal if managed properly could actually benefit the Leafs, and I’ll toss in my $.02 on...
The naming of Joffrey Lupul as an alternate captain and the announcement of his charity initiative Lupes Troops (granted this doesn't always guarantee a spot in Toronto for the indefinite future) in recent days were both indicators that Nonis and Carlyle see Lupul as a face of the franchise going forward. Faces of the franchise usually need long term contracts, but few would've expected one for Lupul this soon in the season.
When you boil it down, the Leafs just paid Lupul to be the player he was last season for five more seasons after this shortened one. There is...
We are approximately 26 hours away from puck drop on the opening of the Leafs' 2013 season. I asked the crew of MLHS bloggers to predict the Leafs' finish and provide a few reasons to back up their prognostication. We'll start and finish with a couple 8th place PLAYOFFS!!!11 predictions, but strap yourself in for some depressing stuff in the middle. Side note: I checked the archives and Anthony's writeup is the shortest work he's ever produced by 3,000 words. Enjoy the read and toss in your own prediction (preferably with reasons) in the comments.
Ian Dudgeon (the man behind...
It appears, to some degree, the waiver issues prevented the Leafs from giving Morgan Rielly a five-game look, but circumstances as they are, it makes a lot more sense to send down Rielly now than risk losing Mike Kostka or Mark Fraser to waivers before they're given a look in some NHL games. It was highly unlikely the Leafs would've let him stay for longer, burning a year of his ELC, so why risk assets for a teaser?
From here, Rielly returns to a Moose Jaw team that is dead last in the WHL's Eastern Conference. After he plays out...
Only one member of LACK remains.
Dave Nonis and Randy Carlyle’s first training camp as GM and head coach respectively has seen a no-nonsense approach to putting together Carlyle’s version of the best 23-man Leaf roster, one that must hit the ground running if they’re to surprise in the shortened season.
The purging of Lombardi, and now the placement of Tim Connolly on waivers, is a refreshing sight for many fans; an acknowledgment that the Leafs can’t call it a youth movement if they allow misfit veterans to float around the lineup taking up a spot based on their contract and...
Randy Carlyle spoke with reporters at the ACC for about 20 minutes Monday morning and shed some insight into the Leafs roster heading into training camp (thanks to Declan, you can check it out here).
The most promising and immediately important news from the interview is that Jake Gardiner, who has missed a month with concussion-like symptoms, is getting better and working out. Carlyle remained hopeful that Gardiner, who tallied nine goals and 17 points in 22 games with the Marlies prior to the injury, would be back in time for training camp.
Over the past couple seasons, the Maple Leafs...
Yesterday, in his summary of the recapture penalty of the new CBA as it pertained to Roberto Luongo, the Vancouver Canucks and potentially the Toronto Maple Leafs, Pierre Lebrun figured out the cap penalty the Leafs would sustain if Brian Burke were to acquire Roberto Luongo before this season and he were to go on to retire at age 40. That can be seen as the foreseeable point of retirement for Luongo as after the 2018-19 season, when Luongo will be 40, his salary will have already dropped from $6,714,000 in 2017-18 to $3,382,000 in 2018-19, and will then...