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Analysis

Analysis

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

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Last week's review focused on the Leafs' top 6 forwards, while the week before that saw us take a peek at the bottom 6's production. Now we'll switch our attention to the defence, which always seems so promising before the season starts and it crumbles to pieces. Again, we're only counting players that skated in at least 20 games for the Leafs, leaving us with seven players: Cody Franson, Jake Gardiner, Dion Phaneuf, John-Michael Liles, Carl Gunnarsson, Luke Schenn and Mike Komisarek. All things considered, the Leafs received a considerable amount of offence from their back end this season. With...

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We're ecstatic to welcome Jon Steitzer to the MLHS blogging team. He formerly blogged at Bloguin's Leafs site Puckin' Eh and now runs his own blog Yakov Mironov. He's also a funny twitterer who can be followed here. With the introductions out of way, settle in for Jon's in-depth look at the long-term sustainability of Burke's team building. I wrote the bulk of the post you are about to read shortly before the deadline. It is a call for building a roster that is sustainable in the long term in exchange for some short term pain. It was originally...

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Last week we reviewed the bottom 6 forwards for the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2011-12. There were some good observations, but let's be honest: it isn't an area where the Leafs need to address nearly as many problems as other segments of the roster. That's mostly why I chose to review them first; it's easy to see why many of them are no good and why some are worth keeping. The top 6, defence and goaltending, on the other hand, are much harder problems to solve.  All we can do is look at the stats and hope management sees...

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Another year, another disappointing season for the Toronto Maple Leafs. A fantastic start was soured completely by a late season collapse from top to bottom, culminating in another post-season disqualification. So here we arrive again at my end of the year review. This week we'll be focusing on the bottom 6 forwards on the Leafs, of which there were eight: Matt Frattin, Philippe Dupuis, Tim Connolly, Joey Crabb, Dave Steckel, Mike Brown, Colby Armstrong and Matthew Lombardi. I ended up deciding on who to include based on the number of games played, with 20 being the minimum. This took...

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Some more charts coming your way. I'll let these charts paint the picture .. after all, if a picture is worth 1000 words, then consider this a 3000+ word blog post. Whew ... I'm exhausted! You know what it takes to put together 3000+ words? Find out after the jump. Much-maligned goaltending has produced a somewhat predictable graphic on the Leafs 2011-12 season. The first chart is the Leafs goals-for average on a daily basis .. the thin black line represents a 5 day moving average and I've duplicated that throughout all the charts. The 5-day moving average takes the previous five entries and...

196

Zone starts, zone finishes and a bunch of QoC. Get ready for a lot of charts. New metrics surfacing rapidly are being put to use. The charts below are being more-widely used to visually demonstrate usage of players in comparison to the level of competition they face. Plenty of different examples exist. OZQoC charts were architected by Rob Vollman of Hockey Prospectus. A full explanation is spelled out here. Straight from the site explaining the charts history: One of the more popular new developments this year is the OZQoC Chart (Pronounced "Oz Coke"), which is a handy visual representation of how players are being used....

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When Grabovski got his new 5 year, $5.5 million per year contract, it was met with mixed reviews. You'd be hard pressed to find a Leaf fan who dislikes Grabovski. He's the hardest worker on the team and puts up a fair number of points. However, it isn't difficult to be lulled into a sense of disbelief when one learns that Grabovski now makes more than beloved team star Phil Kessel. So how does Grabovski's contract compare to other players around the NHL and, more importantly, what are his stats in comparison to these players Finding cap hit comparables is...

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. Three Or More 30-goal Seasons By Age 24, Post-Lockout Player 30+ Goals Range Sidney Crosby 5 2005/06 - 2006/07, 2008-09 - 2009/10 Ilya Kovalchuk * 5 2002/03 - 2007/08 Alexander Ovechkin 5 2005/06 - 2009/10 Marian Gaborik * 4 2001/02 - 2002/03, 2005/06 - 2006/07 Phil Kessel 4 2008/09 - 2011/12 Eric Staal 4 2005/06 - 2008/09 Evgeni Malkin 3 2006/07 - 2008/09 Rick Nash 3 2005/06, 2007/08 - 2008/09 Zach Parise 3 2007/08 - 2009/10 Bobby Ryan 3 2008/09 - 2010/11 Steven Stamkos 3 2009/10 - 2011/12 . * Both Ilya Kovalchuk and Marian Gaborik had recorded two of their 30-goal campaigns prior to the 2004/05 NHL  lockout. They qualify for this list by virtue of reaching age 24 during the post-lockout era. .

National Hockey League

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One of the more interesting dynamics in hockey is the relationship between Goals For and Goals Against, and how that relationship correlates to a team's overall record. Obviously, a team needs to score more than its opponent to win, but the question of exactly how the differential between goal-production and goal-prevention relates to a team's overall record -- and more importantly, whether it can be used as a predictive or projection-based tool -- requires a bit of mathematical analysis. Back in 2010, Chemmy at Pension Plan Puppets put together an intriguing analysis looking at the effects of save percentage on a...

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February’s losses devastated the 2011-12 Toronto Maple Leafs! The NHL’s most arrogant coach ever couldn’t save the flailing squadron from amateur mistakes – and was fired for it! The softest forward corps in the league is totally un-truculent! Jim and Gus couldn’t do their jobs if they went out pregame and found a 600-page guide entitled “How To Tend” sitting in goal! This team is junk, top to bottom! Fire Burke! Rebuild the rebuild! This is a SimCity nuclear meltdown, hail on summer corn crops, “I can see Russia from my house”-sized DISASTER! Hyperbole’s way too easy, people. This post won’t be...

Randy Carlyle

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Last night, Brian Burke did what many said he never would by axing long time friend Ron Wilson, ending his coaching tenure after what was approaching four straight seasons of playoff-less hockey in Toronto.  Not surprising in the least given the recent run of results, but it's interesting to think back to the situation just a month ago. Back on February 1st, 99% of knowledgeable fans and pundits were figuring Wilson would finish out the 2011-12 season at a minimum. A eleven game stretch of dismal results (1-9-1) changed all that. The cause of the slump and Wilson's role in it is tough to...

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If you're like me, you're a big fan of the progress Brian Burke mustered in his first two and half seasons as Leafs GM. Starting out with Matt Stajan and Jason Blake on his first line, Luke Schenn pretty much the beginning and end of the club's prospect depth, and without tanking for a high draft position, Burke managed to add two elite pieces (Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf) and considerably increase organizational depth while still managing to make three first round picks in his three drafts in Toronto. And if you're like me, you're disappointed in his club's lack...

Toronto Maple Leafs logo

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Last night, James Mirtle raised the topic of how the Leafs fared against teams currently in a playoff position, and after a quick bit of research I tweeted out a few stats in answer to the question. For those not on Twitter, or those who did not see it, I've posted the results in further detail here. Predictably, the Leafs' record versus teams currently in a playoff position is rather poor. More troubling than their overall record against those teams, however, is the differential between goals for and against in those games. More after the jump. A couple of notes about...

1011

The Rick Nash sweepstakes are on and speculation about what kind of return he'll merit is quickly spinning out of control.  Bob McKenzie tried to dial back the enthusiasm a bit Tuesday night by suggesting that Howson may still wait on dealing his franchise winger until the draft or later in summer.  Whether it happens that way or not, business has definitely picked up. Many of McKenzie's media brethren were not so quick to douse the flames.  Pierre Lebrun began the hysteria by suggesting that Howson will require four (yes that's right, four) top notch assets to justify moving Nash....

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Consensus among the insiders has it that we'll see a fairly low key 2012 trade deadline come and go this February 27th. With the number of buyers heavily outnumbering the sellers as of early February, the most entertaining part of trade day may well come in watching TSN's army of panelists struggle to produce eight hours of analysis on the Jaroslav Spacek and Hal Gill trades (and a lot of this). As far as the Leafs are concerned, it doesn't appear their primary need will be met this deadline given the current market on top six forwards with size (not...

402

The locking up of John Michael Liles for the next four seasons  further evidences Brian Burke's team building philosophy is moving towards speed and skill and away from size and toughness. When Burke first arrived in Toronto he quickly moved to bring in Francois Beauchemin and Mike Komisarek to join Luke Schenn as a formidable, physical trio. Not even three years later and there's a clear group of three defensemen the Leafs are building on, but the theme is not physicality this time. With Liles now in Toronto for the long haul, he joins, in my mind, Dion Phaneuf and Jake...

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Much has already been said of the struggles of Grabovski, Kulemin and MacArthur this season when playing with each other, so I won't bore you further with another long diatribe. Instead we're going to take a look at what it is that stats can show us about areas that have led to these decreased levels of play. Of course, I had the concept of this article all done before they had that amazing game against the Islanders on Tuesday, so I sound a little like a crazy person but that's life. As far as point production goes, only Grabovski is...

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

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In what has been an incredibly positive season for the Maple Leafs thus far, it is Joffrey Lupul who stands out the most. Sure, Phil Kessel has been great, but with his skill set we all knew he would break out soon enough. With Lupul, the massive jump in production (1.07 PPG) has been the best surprise of the year. After a promising start to his career, back injuries took him down a notch with the ultimate result of being a salary dump in the Beauchemin trade. The important question to ask is whether this season is an aberration...

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On the Toronto Maple Leafs, no player has the combination of tenacity and skill that Mikhail Grabovski plays with each and every night.  First labeled as a peripheral playmaking center, Grabovski’s game has evolved to the point where he’s as competent finishing plays as he is setting them up, all while playing with zeal unmatched in the blue and white.  But moving forward is he what the Toronto Maple Leafs need to be a playoff team in the near future? On pace for his 3rd 20 goal season since being acquired in 2008 from the Montreal Canadiens, Grabovski has been...

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A dozen thoughts, observations, or interesting stats for your Wednesday night: 1) Can Armstrong catch a break in Toronto? He played 79 and 82 game seasons in Atlanta in the two seasons prior to signing on with the Leafs, and had never missed more than 10 games in a season since entering the league. Since arriving in T.O., Armstrong has played in only 59 of 115 games as a Leaf. Armstrong had only put up one point this season, never really having a chance to mesh into the flow of things. His near .5 point-per-game rate in 50 games last season...