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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
Dave Nonis and co. made a cheap, depth addition to their blueline today by adding Ryan O'Byrne. You would almost think the ghost of Brian Burke was behind this move as Toronto picked up a large, physical player whose impact is reflective of work ethic and toughness rather than innate hockey finesse.
Some of you may remember O'Byrne from his purse-snatching days as a member of the Montreal Canadiens, where he played as a depth defenseman, before stepping into a larger role (>20 mins/g) upon joining Colorado in the 2010-2011 season. O'Byrne's success that season was a surprise as he legitimately...
Thanks to @mORRganRielly for the following submission:
Jake Gardiner sucks.
No, just kidding. He's pretty awesome. He is an immensely gifted, up-and-coming defenseman, but he does have a little bit of learnin' to do. In light of his recent scratch, I wanted to take an opportunity to delve more into his role with the Leafs and the relationship of his play against the overall performance of the Leafs defense over the course of the season. To that end, I will be looking strictly at even-strength play rather than specialized roles like the power-play or the penalty-kill.
I have had this thought for awhile...
After a good comeback/confidence-building game against the Tampa Bay Lighting, the Toronto Maple Leafs have perhaps created more questions than answers. The Penalty Kill keeps improving (now 6th in the East) and, even as a "work in progress" defensively, they can at least score in bunches to get themselves out of trouble. They are starting to show the signs that the elite teams in the league show on a regular basis. While they are probably a couple of roster moves away from being mentioned in the same breath as a Pittsburgh Penguins, the rebuild is starting to see the...
That Kadri kid is pretty good isn't he? Back when Brian Burke stepped up to the podium at the 2009 NHL Draft in Montreal, I imagine this was the player he was envisioning that night: slick, slippery and drenched in skill. That was an absolute clinic Kadri put on out there against the Lightning, displaying all sorts of offensive creativity, patience and ingenuity with the puck. This is a player who is gaining confidence and progressing by leaps and bounds - a player on the verge of making a lasting imprint in this star-starved market. But before we get...
Here’s five Leaf thoughts to get you through your Friday, with five links at the bottom.
Steckel and McClement Faceoff Woes
I was taking a look at the faceoff numbers, and I noticed some altogether startling numbers from Steckel and McClement. Both were once kings of the faceoff circle, with McClement averaging 51.6% of his 1152 draws in 2010-2011 and 51.3% of his 873 draws in 2011-2012, whereas Steckel won 62.3% of his 820 draws in 2010-2011, and 58.0% of his 1108 draws in 2011-2012.
This season, McClement has won only 45.3% of his 139 draws, while Steckel has only won 46.9%...
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...