Analysis

Analysis

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

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INTRODUCTION I've always had an keen interest in systems, the X's and O's technical side, with a desire to document team systems across the entire NHL. Systems are mostly a coach's implementation, and once there is a coaching change there is the system change, even if it is only tweaks. I've found that doing a little systems analysis helps in the overall scouting process as well, a concept I won't go into detail on here, but I've written about its benefits on my own blog. In an effort to document the Leafs systems, I'm going to dedicate a three-post series breaking down...

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Good morning MLHS, First off, let me start by thanking Alec, Michael and Michael for inviting me to participate in Maple Leaf Hangout Episode #17 - if you guys and gals had nearly as much fun watching as I did filming, then you and I are off to a good start! Secondly, I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself to anyone that didn't catch the Hangout and wonders what the heck I'm doing here. I've been following Alec's writing since he started out at that 'other site' and I quickly moved over to the greener pastures of MLHS when...

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- Losing to a young, inexperienced goalie that fought every puck, like in the loss against Nashville, is the kind of loss that really hurts over an 82-game season. Especially because, after the first period, the Leafs were firmly in control of that game but didn’t bury chances or give themselves much of a lead. The Preds got a four minute power play early in the second, they scored, and the game completely shifted. - Add in losing to a reeling Columbus team that didn’t have Gaborik, Dubinsky or Horton (who they haven’t had all year, obviously). Good teams take...

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You have to give Dave Nonis credit: The Leafs needed a center, so he went out and got one. It was only a few weeks ago that I wondered aloud, in this very space, whether or not Nonis would pull the trigger to fill a position of sudden need, knowing he sat on his hands when he was faced with this same depleted center situation in Vancouver. Every GM in the NHL had to know the Leafs were in a tough spot already with Tyler Bozak and Dave Bolland down, only for Nazem Kadri to get suspended and leave the Leafs...

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Peter Holland made his debut for the Leafs last night, playing 12 even strength minutes next to JvR and Kessel. Obviously it was nothing to read too far into, but Holland was strong in the circle (he was only 38% over 4 games in Anaheim, but went 7 for 11 last night), had one good chance in the slot, and showed a smooth skating ability for a big guy. Said Randy Carlyle: "I thought he did OK, it's hard when a young guy comes in. It's not like we hid him in the lineup.. That's what we believe; if...

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Tyler Bozak and Nazem Kadri could return as early as the 21st, but the Leafs needed to add some center depth regardless with Dave Bolland on the shelf indefinitely and nothing available on the Marlies yet past Trevor Smith. The ideal scenario was Dave Nonis, in the place of acquiring a Vernon Fiddler type, grabbing a young center with some upside, especially since the organization had given up on Joe Colborne after preseason. In Peter Holland, a former 15th overall pick in 2009, that's exactly what he's acquired. It's hard not to be pleased considering the Leafs badly needed...

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Nazem Kadri will attend a hearing with league discipline czar Brendan Shanahan this afternoon. The hearing is reportedly about the collision with goaltender Niklas Backstrom. It's not clear as of yet if this indicates the League has reviewed Kadri's hit on Mikael Granlund and found no supplemental discipline is needed. When the League looks back at the tape, I think, or hope, they will find that the Granlund hit looked and sounded worse in real time than it was when scrutinizing the slow motion replay. The match penalty that saw the Leafs serve a five-minute penalty, and Kadri being ejected...

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The Leafs dropped their sixth game of the season against the Bruins on Saturday night, but the optimistic take is that maybe a lineup weak down the middle can still raise their game to compete with the better teams. A solid second period is something the coaching staff and players will no doubt look to as something to build on tomorrow against Minnesota. The Wild are 10-4-4 and, as it stands, have the most points of any opponent Leafs will face until the end of November. Here's the break down of the next 10 games: That's really weak. The total record...

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No appetizer today. Straight into the main course: - Last season, one of the biggest strengths of the Leafs penalty kill was its health and established rotation. Everyone knew who their penalty killers were and when they would be on; Bozak and McClement would go on for the immediate d-zone draw, Kulemin would hop on after the Leafs cleared it for Bozak, Komarov/Bozak would come on when McClement finally got tired, and JVR would see spot duty or help kill the penalty if one of the regulars was in the box. To tie it altogether, McClement, Kulemin, Bozak, and Komarov...

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It is a little ironic that Dave Nonis left Vancouver this past weekend with an eerily similar problem to the one he faced while GM of the Canucks. During the 2007-08 season – Nonis’ last with the Canucks — the team had 12 defensemen suit up due to injuries on the back end. Regulars Kevin Bieksa and Mattias Ohlund missed significant time, waiver claim (before the season started) Mike Weaver ended up playing 55 games, and players such as Lukas Krajicek, Luc Bourdon, and Nathan McIver ended up playing a lot more than intended. That’s because ultimately Nonis didn’t make...

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Two of the longer term concerns entering the 2013-14 season for the Toronto Maple Leafs were the contract statuses of their star players Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf.  GM Dave Nonis made good on Kessel’s desire to negotiate before the season, and now the Leafs leading scorer will be in the fold until 2022. Having taken care of the time sensitive work, now Nonis’ sights will be set on re-signing the Leafs captain to a long term deal.  But what’s it going to cost?  Let’s take a look. For his part, Phaneuf has said he’s open to negotiating a new...

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Usually I like to include a little preamble before getting into notes, but the notes went a little long this week so I decided to scrap it. I’m also looking into something that could become a lengthy post; if all goes well there, I’ll hopefully have that up a little later in the week. Moving on, there’s a lot to talk about in a week when JVR and Kessel put on a show against Anaheim, the Leafs made Columbus look a lot better than they are, and the team played two of their best periods of the season against Pittsburgh. Notes -...

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Tonight, David Clarkson will make his debut with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Many in Leafs Nation are excited about the prospect of a power forward like Clarkson entering the lineup. Rightly so: he hits, he fights, he cycles and he can put the puck in the net. Despite the aforementioned accolades, the most valuable contribution Clarkson will make to this team is simple: his unrelenting desire to win as a Maple Leaf. A longtime fan of his native Ontario team, Clarkson turned down a better offer from the Edmonton Oilers to make Toronto his (likely) final destination in the NHL....

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James Mirtle wrote a column on the Leafs' abnormally high shooting percentage yesterday. Given we're at the 10 game mark of the season and the Leafs shooting percentage and save percentage are actually up a significant margin from last season, let's update the numbers for Carlyle's team if we combine this season so far with last season including playoffs. (The Leafs currently lead the league in team shooting percentage at 12.3%, and are fifth in the league in team save percentage with a 0.930). To summarize, because the table text is pretty tiny: Working with a 65-game sample size now,...

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If you missed part one of this week's Notebook on Morgan Rielly, check it out here. Notes - Thought the JVR goal against Edmonton was a subtle example of the growth in Kessel’s game. If you watch the reply below, he gets knocked down, but keeps his stick on the puck and holds it against the boards to buy time for help. Then, he gets up and keeps battling. That effort and battle wasn’t always evident in Kessel’s game. Against Nashville, he went into the boards with Seth Jones and as they were on a collision course for the puck he...

Morgan Rielly

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We are only six games into the regular season, but the Leafs are quickly approaching what will be one of their biggest decisions of the season: What to do with Morgan Rielly. Rielly has played four games for the Leafs, so if he continues to play every game the Leafs won’t have to make a decision until October 25th, after a game against the Blue Jackets, at the earliest. He’s had a solid start to his NHL career averaging 17:24 a night, which has pretty well been all at evens as he averages less than a minute of shorthanded (11...

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It seems like the Jake Gardiner talk just won’t go away, even though an immediate trade seems extremely unlikely. Elliotte Friedman got the ball rolling on Gardiner rumours early last week in his 30 Thoughts piece, where he wrote: 19. I see Carlyle. I see Jake Gardiner. I hear what they say about each other and think, "Well, 50 per cent of all marriages do end in divorce." On the weekend, the Satellite Hotstove panel discussed how the Leafs were open to listening to offers for Jake Gardiner. Of course, that blew things out of proportion. Here are some of the things we...

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Only three teams in the preseason had more points than the Leafs (Boston, Washington, Dallas), and you know what’s the best part about that? Nobody really cares. It was only a few years ago that some kids named Bozak, Stalberg, Kadri, and Gustavsson wowed Leafs Nation with a strong preseason and had fans thinking “hey, maybe this team is better than we thought.” We all know how that ended. This preseason though, nobody has really bothered to drum up the Leafs results or tout it as some big accomplishment and momentum boost heading into the season. Maybe it’s because the Clarkson...

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There are so many different angles to consider when looking at last night's Leafs-Sabres brawl. Where to start? Perhaps the best place is the shift before, when Jamie Devane and Corey Tropp mixed it up with the end result being a predictable Devane win considering the size advantage. The faceoff before they fought, Tropp was clearly asking Devane to go the entire time. By the time the puck dropped, he still kept at it before the big Leaf eventually obliged. I can’t tell you whether it’s right or wrong for Devane to fight a guy in that situation, but if...

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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...