Saturday, March 28, 2015
Analysis

Analysis

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

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With tomorrow's game vs. Buffalo representing the 40th game of 2013-14, the Leafs are nearly at the halfway mark of the season. The Leafs, 18-16-5, currently hold the final playoff spot in the East, are 3-5-2 in their last ten, and will try to fend off the Flyers and Hurricanes who are both three points behind them with games in hand. Now seems as good a time as any to look at the early returns of the Leafs most recent moves. Without further ado: Acquired players David Clarkson - The Leafs are finding out his best role is that of a shutdown...

486

Although the Leafs went 1-2 last week, it really was one of their better weeks of hockey this season. They handily outplayed LA but just weren’t able to bury, and they laid a beating on the first place Hawks. It's true that St. Louis completely outclassed them, but two pretty dominant games against two of the top five teams in the league is really impressive. The Leafs have to build on that as a positive. Notes - As doom-and-gloom as it’s been in Leafs Nation the last few weeks, the reality is this: The East sucks. The Leafs have played 16...

489

The Sunday game threw off the timing of the Leafs Notebook (along with life, work, and so on), so I apologize for the delay. Hope it was worth the wait at least. Notes - It’s nice to see the Leafs have a true first line and to watch them in action. When JVR-Kadri-Kessel are together as a unit, they are capable of dominating and they are also capable of sustained zone time. The only problem I see with this line is that they can get a little too cute at times, which is probably a result of three creative players being...

video

192

There isn’t much I can add to the powerplay analysis that wasn’t in the write up by JP Nikota describing the Leafs use of the 1-3-1. They adopted this system in 2012-13 while more teams have incorporated the formation throughout the NHL. This may be the same reason Randy Carlyle has kept the penalty killing system intact for the last two seasons. More relevant in 2013-14 is the severe drop off in the success of killing penalties, a part of the ’12-13 Leafs that excelled while sitting at the top of the standings and helping propel the Buds into their first...

605

Unlike a singular rigid structure in the defensive zone, neutral and offensive zone systems fluctuate upon game factors including score, time remaining, and game situation (5v5 or 4v4). They also vary line to line and shift to shift. Varying conditions make it difficult to really pin down one specific system being applied as a core philosophy, while personnel and opposition systems further muddy the set of variables that need to be addressed. The philosophy holds the entire system together, with other variables contributing to the on-ice decisions. A primary proponent to score effects, a passive forecheck is desired when defending...

Gary Bettman

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How will it happen & what does it mean for the Toronto Maple Leafs? A. Background In a memo released in September of this year, the Chief Operating Officer of the NHL notified all league employees of initiatives and staff changes to take effect during the 2013-2014 season. In the memo the league identified a plan to increase annual gross national revenue by $1 billion dollars by the end of three years, or in other words, in time for the 2016-2017 season. To put that type of increase in perspective, it had previously taken the league from 2005-06 to 2011-12 –...

621

The question for the Leafs right now is pretty simple: Is this the kind of slump that every team goes through over an 82-game season, or is this a sign of things to come? Toronto is 8-9-3 since a 6-1 start and are about to embark on what will likely be their toughest stretch of games this season competition wise. In the next eight games Toronto plays, in order: San Jose, Dallas, Ottawa, Boston, LA, St. Louis, Chicago and Pittsburgh. It doesn’t get much harder than that. Last season the Leafs went on a pretty bad 2-3-4 stretch before going on an...

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...

335

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...

422

- 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...

760

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...

792

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...

331

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...

726

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...

566

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...

464

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...

491

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...

846

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...

303

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 -...

505

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....