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

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Back on December 1st 2010, the Toronto Star broke a story which, if accurate, was poised to change the sporting and business landscape in this city and country forever. It would also represent the largest sporting transaction in Canadian history and will likely represent the most significant indication of the inevitable merging of the telecommunications, media and internet industries of our generation. This transaction will play a huge and direct role in transforming the way business in these sectors is done moving forward in this country.  The story literally broke out of thin air.  The concept that the Ontario...

277

While the NHL and game of hockey in general is harder to quantify overall player value than an almost purely numbers based game such as baseball, I feel attempting to identify (and measure) the hidden value of intangibles could be a real advantage to a team.  Since the explosion of advanced statistical analysis in baseball there have been a ton of different stats, ratios and metrics come and go and while they can be a bit intimidating and confusing they also all serve a simple purpose for the most part, establishing value in some form or another. Baseball teams don’t...

137

According to the good folks at Sports Club Stats the Toronto Maple Leafs have approximately a 5 percent chance of making the playoffs.  Yeah, pretty bleak... five out of one hundred times this Leafs team will make the big dance.  If James Reimer doesn’t continue to play like a Vezina trophy candidate I think we can safely say the Leafs stand no chance at all. James Reimer (prior to Saturday’s game) has played in 17 games, sports a 10-4-2 record to go along with a sparkling 2.24 GAA and a shiny .930 save percentage.  In short, he has played like...

2177

What man that sees the ever whirling wheel Of Change, the which all mortal things doth sway, But that thereby doth find, and plainly feel, How Mutability in them doth play Her cruel sports, to many men's decay? -Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queen Change surrounds us.  So powerful and pervasive a part of nature is it that the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus saw in it the unity of all things.  Change played such a central role in the Ephesian philosopher's beliefs that he became famous (among philosophy geeks, anyway) for his pronouncement that because everywhere things are always becoming, always in flux, a man cannot...

345

In the aftermath of yesterday's trade with the Anaheim Ducks, in which Joffrey Lupul joined the Toronto Maple Leafs, many fans expressed concern over two years' contract term at a somewhat high dollar figure for what was perceived to be declining production. Although it is very easy to get caught up in the base stat lines (goals, assists, points), what might be surprising to some is Lupul's rate of production has actually remained fairly consistent during the past three seasons prior to 2010-11. Despite last season and the start of his current season being cut short due to back surgery...

1094

Just finished watching the Brian Burke press conference on my PVR (damn our angry Irish overlord for choosing afternoon drive time to play Meet the Press on this one).  First, a few of the press conference highlights that I noted.  Following that, I'll share my (hurried) analysis. Burke's Presser The basic structure of the deal (which had previously been widely reported - what an afternoon on Twitter) was confirmed, Beauchemin to Anaheim for RW Joffrey Lupul, D Jake Gardiner and a conditional draft pick; Burke pointed out that Gardiner had played for Wisconsin as a true freshman, and noted "that's hard".  Gardiner's...

274

No the Toronto Maple Leafs are not trying to reacquire Jiri Tlusty but they are quickly turning into one of the streakiest teams in the NHL this season.   With their current four game winning streak going strong I thought I’d take a look at just how streaky they have been – Toronto now has 18 wins, 20 losses plus 4 overtime/shootout losses.  Of the Leafs 18 wins, eight have been garnered on some form of a winning streak as the Leafs started the year on a four game winning streak.  However, the losses have also come in bunches, greatly counteracting...

Clarke MacArthur

448

The Maple Leafs have reached the halfway point of the season on a tear, winning five of six games to kick off 2011 in style. Despite the hot streak the team remains mired in 12th place in the Eastern conference, a full 11 points out of the eighth and final playoff spot. While much can happen over the second half of the season, it is safe to say the Maple Leafs have not -- as a collective unit -- approached pre-season expectations. The question is, which players are on pace to equal -- or exceeded -- pre-season expectations, and which players...

531

Rightly or wrongly, the big minute logging shutdown defenceman can be a thankless job in the world of hockey and the reason is simple. When you're doing your job right, it doesn't usually look like much. When you make a mistake, the puck often ends up in the back of the net. People usually take more notice of the latter. Francois Beauchemin is perhaps exhibit A in this regard. "Getting Beauch'd" has become somewhat of a catchphrase (at least in my residence) for Leafs fans when #22 is on the ice and the puck ends up in the back of...

518

Brian Burke has been oft-criticized for various moves since beginning his tenure as the GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs but after witnessing the recent Brian Rolston waiver situation I think we should start to also give him at least a tiny bit of credit.  Burke has gone on record as saying he doesn’t believe in the long term contracts that NHL teams are throwing around in recent years and he won’t be giving any Leafs player this type of deal anytime soon – though hard to say if any of the current Leafs are worthy. When asked about the...

740

Quick note: Complications resulting from increased university work, my job and sickness have combined to prevent me from doing any articles recently. The good news is I should have that stuff figured out, so expect some larger team articles soon. Brett Lebda came into Toronto with a lot of praise from current Leafs VP of Hockey Operations Dave Poulin. The praise came from a familiar place; Poulin was the head coach for the University of Notre Dame for 10 years, where he initially scouted and recruited Lebda for their program. Lebda later chose Detroit as his destination for pro hockey,...

85

31 games and a 12-15-4 record into the season, the struggling Maple Leafs find themselves the subject of several hotly-contested debates over many facets of the club. Is this the real Phil Kessel? Gustavsson or Giguere? And what of Ron Wilson? My own responses to each of these questions are posted after the jump, and as always I invite you to share yours in the comments below. ----- Is this the real Phil Kessel? Ever-talented, yet ever-streaky, Phil Kessel remains an enigma in the eyes of many of the Toronto faithful. Forget the assets relinquished in the trade that brought him here; that...

Jonas Gustavsson

301

You can never give up hope especially with 51 games remaining in the NHL schedule but with the Toronto Maple Leafs currently eight points out of a playoff spot with four teams also ahead of them to get there the odds are pretty stacked against them.  Last season I believe only one team made the playoffs that weren’t already officially among the top eight seeds as of December 1/2009 and that was the Philadelphia Flyers and we all remember how they managed to squeak in.  One could argue that they probably should have been in the race from the...

128

(Toronto – Gus Katsaros) I tried to put together something that leads to the state of the Leafs, but it gets pretty intense and too much for a single blog so I’ve broken it down in two. Before we move forward we should acknowledge what is happening with the current club and I do that with just some observations. I’ve broken down what I feel are some of the more important points of the Leafs forwards and defensemen while not being entirely thorough, leaving something for future blogs. I’ll follow this up on Friday tying in the coaching, the Burke...

876

The big question that will need to be answered by Ron Wilson and company over the next couple of games is who sits?  With the return of captain Dion Phaneuf the Maple Leafs officially have a logjam on the backend and not only will one of Keith Aullie, Carl Gunnarsson or Mike Komisarek have to sit but a guy like Francois Beauchemin might also be forced into a less meaningful role. Will this finally force the hand of Brian Burke and the need to move some of the excess bodies and salary on our backend? The Leafs top six heading into the...

260

The potential sports story of the decade for the city of Toronto, and more specifically, fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs is unfolding right before our eyes.  The legitimacy of the potential sale of MLSE to Rogers should not be easily dismissed.  The rumoured sale simply makes sense for all parties involved.  The recent announcement of the pending retirement of MLSE CEO Richard Peddie now starts to bring the picture into focus and adds significant legitimacy to the Toronto Star report of MLSE share sales from the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan (OTPP) to Rogers Inc.  The fact that the...

501

To quote the legendary Jim Mora, “You kidding me?  Playoffs?  I just hope we win another game!”  As the Leafs struggle to find ongoing consistency in the goal scoring department I thought I would have a look at their scoring output compared to the post-lockout playoff teams to see if there is any hope at actually making the big dance at season’s end.  First, some key Leafs stats through 22 games this year: Record G/G GA/G 5-5 F/A PP% PK% 8-11-3 2.18 2.68 0.89 15.2 (22nd) 73.1 (29th)   Next I researched the playoff teams in both the Eastern and Western Conference since the 2005/06 season to see if any team qualified with...

248

Goal difference vs. Points - A simple statistical analysis by MLHS' Great Dane (written before the weekend games) There has been some talk on the site lately as to whether or not the playoffs remain in reach for the Maple Leafs despite a less than mediocre record a quarter of the way through the season, a subject Derek Harmsworth broached in his blog "At the Quarter Pole, Leafs Improved, But Is It Enough?" Statistically speaking, is 20, 21 or 24 points at the quarter pole enough to make the playoffs? What follows is a small regression analysis of goal difference vs....

326

Forgive Leafs fans for being a little cautious with their optimism these days as it relates to net gains between the pipes for the organization.  After all, still fresh in the minds of those in Leafs Nation is the not too long ago time when the Maple Leafs boasted both Justin Pogge and Tuukka Rask in their goaltending stable, two goalies who were at the time highly touted following junior campaigns. And somehow the Maple Leafs ended up without either in their crease for any length of time.  A statement that is, of course, a rhetorical question.  The last thing...

186

During the doom and gloom of a lengthy losing streak it can be easy to focus only on the negative aspects of a hockey team and I have noticed my last few pieces have done just that.  Today I thought I would take a look at some of the positive and promising assets the Toronto Maple Leafs currently possess as opposed to what they ultimately lack. Although they are much maligned and even despised by some the ownership of the Toronto Maple Leafs has never been a serious impediment to the success of the team, contrary to popular belief.  Sure...