Analysis

Analysis

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

186

. 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

243

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...

785

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

554

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...

2109

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....

912

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...

322

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

1963

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...

423

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...

73

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...

433

Somewhere in one of my post Boston Game In 10s I advocated changes to the lineup. A bigger forward on the top line to improve our offensive zone cycles and puck retrieval and have also criticized Wilson for not having a good transition game which partially stemmed from our back end and the inability to make that first pass out of the defensive zone. Well, I don’t know if you can say that Burke’s original plan wasn’t/isn’t to bring in a top line forward with size, especially since that’s what the organization and numerous panelists slated as our No1 need...

885

Phil Kessel is tired of losing, that much is clear. In layman's terms, there are two types of hockey players: Those who love to win and those who hate to lose. It took Kessel some time, but he's become the second one. Justin Bourne, who now runs The Score's blog "Backhand Shelf," discussed this concept last season over at Puck Daddy (view here). In it he says, "Here's the difference: It's like putting a cupcake between a chubby kid from a mansion on the hill, and some wiry starving kid from the streets. They both want the cupcake. But our portly friend...

241

We're now 18 games into the 2011-12 season. Though the Leafs have hit a bit of a rough patch in the last few weeks, there is much to be optimistic about with regards to playoff hopes. Kessel has emerged as a new player, Lupul is back to old form and though not scoring as much as last year, Grabovski and MacArthur have played well. The oft injured Connolly has been excellent in limited action so far. However, there will be several nights this season where the top six forwards don't produce. On those nights, a good complimentary package in...

651

How do we accurately evaluate this team? Just how good are we? If you’re looking for me (or anyone else for that matter) to answer those questions right now you’re setting yourself up for a pretty big disappointment. In light of recent events, pretty much any scenario is possible. What if we’re missing Reimer until February? How will the duo of Scrivens and, to a lesser degree, Gustavsson perform? Will Tim Connolly ever stay healthy for a considerable number of games? Is our record so far sustainable through 82 games? I can’t answer that right now, nobody can. There's too many...

199

These might not be the same old Leafs, but it is looking like the same old Leaf penalty kill. At this stage of the season, I maintain a couple of things as I write this: it's still very, very early, and the Leafs are adjusting to a new penalty killing scheme which is bound to cause mix-ups and missed assignments early in the season. So I don't think this penalty kill is completely doomed, but I do think there is a lot of work to be done. First let's look at penalty killing in it's most basic form. At the youngest...

James Reimer

424

Jonas Gustavsson Scouting Reports & James Reimer Scouting Reports from Justin Goldman of The Goalie Guild from his book: NHL Goaltender’s Style Guide, available now for only $9.99

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Last night, only two days before the Leafs' season opener against the Montreal Canadiens, Brian Burke added Dave Steckel to the roster in exchange for a fourth round pick in 2012. Although drafted in the first round, no one would mistake the 29 year old Steckel for an offensive forward. He's kept himself in the league through his defensive play, made significantly easier by his big size, despite his inclination to not use said size. So tonight, one night before the regular season begins, we're going to take a peek at Steckel's defensive stats and see how he measures...