The worst kept secret in all of hockey finally became a reality.
Luke Schenn is now a Philadelphia Flyer, and James Van Riemsdyk is finally a Toronto Maple Leaf.
JVR (whose name I'll probably never type in full again) was the second overall pick in the 2007 draft and has had a slow, but upwards, trend in his development since. After getting drafted he returned to New Hampshire, where he played college hockey, and threw up 40 points in 36 games along with 10 points in six world junior games. He ended that season playing some AHL games, but jumped straight...
"We shoot for a top four group that has a high skill level, bottom two guys who look to do the plumbers work. Which are really important jobs on my teams."
- Brian Burke
At the risk of over analyzing a few sentences said nearly four years ago, this is a good starting point to quote when it comes to looking at the Leafs defense.
It's really a very basic structure that doesn't require much of a break down.
The interesting thing is that, when Brian Burke was with Anaheim, he actually had three elite defencemen at the time, a middling fourth...
Even if you whole-heartedly buy into the "take the best player available" theory when it comes to draft strategy, I think the odds are low the Leafs will be drafting a defenceman with their fifth overall draft selection in the 2012 Entry Draft in Pittsburgh. Say you truly believe organizational needs do not shape a draft team's particular assessment of "the best player available." I still can't see Everett's Ryan Murray getting past the Oilers or Islanders. I also don't think the Leafs would pass on the offensive talent available in the top five and draft Matthew Dumba or...
Can we all agree right from the top that the hiring of Randy Carlyle signals the Leafs are back to following the top six, bottom six formula Brian Burke originally told us he would put into place?
Can we also all agree that it's nice our General Manager and Head Coach are now on the same page, philosophically speaking?
So what exactly is a top six, bottom six mold? A few years ago Pension Plan Puppets ran this piece, which explains how each line in this system is utilized. Essentially you have a top line, a shutdown line, a scoring...
2011-12 Season in Review: Top 6 Forwards | Bottom 6 Forwards | Defence | Goalies
A new year, same as the old one. Goaltending has been a constant battle for the Leafs since the lockout. Last season, James Reimer gave some hope to a goaltending deprived fanbase only to have it be dashed away the very next year. The Leafs' goaltending in 2011-12 was atrocious and there's no getting around that. So in evaluating goalies, threads must be found that can indicate potential future improved play. Let's see if any of those threads can be found.
Those are some Philadelphia numbers....
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...
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...
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.Â All we can do is look at the stats and hope management sees...
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...
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...
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....
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...
Three Or More 30-goal Seasons By Age 24, Post-Lockout
2005/06 - 2006/07,
2008-09 - 2009/10
Ilya Kovalchuk *
2002/03 - 2007/08
2005/06 - 2009/10
Marian Gaborik *
2001/02 - 2002/03,
2005/06 - 2006/07
2008/09 - 2011/12
2005/06 - 2008/09
2006/07 - 2008/09
2007/08 - 2008/09
2007/08 - 2009/10
2008/09 - 2010/11
2009/10 - 2011/12
* Both Ilya Kovalchuk and Marian Gaborik had recorded two of their 30-goal campaigns prior to the 2004/05 NHLÂ lockout. They qualify for this list by virtue of reaching age 24 during the post-lockout era.
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...
Februaryâ€™s losses devastated the 2011-12 Toronto Maple Leafs! The NHLâ€™s most arrogant coach ever couldnâ€™t save the flailing squadron from amateur mistakes â€“ and was fired for it! The softest forward corps in the league is totally un-truculent! Jim and Gus couldnâ€™t do their jobs if they went out pregame and found a 600-page guide entitled â€œHow To Tendâ€ 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, â€œI can see Russia from my houseâ€-sized DISASTER!
Hyperboleâ€™s way too easy, people.
This post wonâ€™t be...
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. Â 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 onÂ FebruaryÂ 1st, 99% ofÂ knowledgeableÂ 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...
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...
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...
The Rick Nash sweepstakes are on and speculation about what kind of return he'll merit is quickly spinning out of control. Â 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. Â 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. Â Pierre Lebrun began the hysteria by suggesting that Howson will require four (yes that's right, four) top notch assets to justify moving Nash....
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...