Prior to speaking with Rick Dudley for the Maple Leafs Annual, I also had the opportunity to speak with Dave Poulin, Vice-President of Hockey Operations for the Toronto Maple Leafs.Â Having contributed an interview for last year's edition of the Annual, Mr. Poulin graciously agreed to accommodate our request again this year.
Follow the jump for a few excerpts of our chat.
As was the case with prior excerpts, the following quotes are excerpted from a larger interview and thus the flow of the questions may seem a bit off.Â The full interview will appear in the Maple Leafs Annual, due...
Defence is a lot more multi-faceted than is the forward position. It requires more finesse and more all around ability in order to rise to the upper echelon of NHL defencemen. The Leafs tried to compliment each of their offensive defencemen with a more defensive partner. This is a winning strategy often used on championship teams. With that in mind, of the six regulars on Toronto's blue line at the end of the season, who rises to the top? Let's find out.
The previous articles in this series are recommended reading. You can find "Season in Review: Top 6 Forwards"...
After an impressive run of games to close out the season, it's hard not to get giddy and optimistic about the Maple Leafs' chances this fall. The biggest difference in the last thirty or so games of the year compared to recent Leaf teams has been the long-awaited installment of a reliable goaltender who gives you a chance to win every night. James Reimer gave this team that every night and more. Although he was hands down an inspiration between the pipes during that stretch, it may be wise to temper our expectations of the sophomore netminder heading into...
Leafs Nation was parked outside Brad Richards' agents' office on July 1st, singing songs they hoped would sway him to our little corner of the universe. It was not to be, along came Tim Connolly, the Leafs' silver medal. He has been notorious in his time in Buffalo for injuries that leave him absent from the team for large chunks at a time. At only 2 years, is Connolly a gamble worth making for the Leafs? Time to find out.
Here are the top 9 offensive contributors at forward for Buffalo in 2010-11:
Please read the preceding article in this series on top 6 forwards here. For this article, the bottom 6 forwards on the Leafs are: Colby Armstrong, Joey Crabb, John Mitchell, Darryl Boyce, Fredrik Sjostrom, Tim Brent, Mike Brown, Jay Rosehill and Colton Orr. I decided to leave Kadri out of my forward reviews due to his few games played in conjunction with his rapid change from top 6 to bottom 6 from game to game.
When all is said and done, the bottom 6 forwards on Toronto in the 2010-11 season dropped the ball in a big way. This...
All of Leafs Nation was elated to finally have a first round pick in what seemed like forever on draft day this year. However, there was still another surprise only hours before the draft began. John-Michael Liles was brought in by Leafs general manager Brian Burke for a second round pick in order to fill the hole left behind by the departed Tomas Kaberle. Is that a reasonable expectation? Let's find out.
Here are the offensive stats for Colorado's defense (with at least 20 games played):
The excitement never ends, does it? Days after the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup, the NHL Awards capped off the season with a somewhat surprising (albeit well-deserved)Â Hart Trophy nod to Corey Perry. A day later, the Philadelphia Flyers rocked the hockey world with two major trades ... with reports suggesting the Leafs were nearly a trading partner in both.
As if that hasn't been enough, trade and free agency rumours continue to run rampant. The Leafs have several of their own player re-signings still on the horizon, and somewhere in all that a draft is about to take...
The Flyers have decided to make a move amidst a controversial ruling in the Stanley Cup Final. Perhaps the hit by Aaron Rome on Nathan Horton, and the subsequent 8-1 drubbing dealt out by the Bruins will be enough to keep the media focus on Vancouver and Boston. There should be no mistaking though, that something significant is going on in Philadelphia right now. Last night word broke that General Manager Paul Holmgren has acquired the exclusive negotiating rights to Ilya Bryzgalov in exchange for a 3rd round selection in the 2012 entry draft, and a conditional...
(Part 1) (Part 2)
Now for the (not-so) thrilling conclusion to my blog series on the Leafs trade targets on the back end.Â The following are (in my opinion), the top two options Burke will pursue over the coming months if indeed he does go the trade route:
2.) Brent Burns - Dion Phaneufâ€™s stalwart partner at the World Championship has played with the captain before.Â Thatâ€™s the same kind of sentiment we heard from free agents Clarke MacArthur and Colby Armstrong shortly after they were acquired.Â It seems there is a spot...
In part one of this blog we looked at possible unrestricted free agent options for the Leafs. Burke has always been proficient at landing a big name on July 1st, but he also has a reputation for loving a good old fashioned hockey trade. Since the lock-out, Burke has completed major transactions that brought in the likes of Francois Beauchemin, Chris Pronger, Doug Weight, Phil Kessel, Dion Phaneuf, J.S. Giguere and Joffrey Lupul. Going further back, he pulled off massive draft day swaps that brought his clubs Henrik and Daniel Sedin, as well as Chris...
â€œPlus minus is a very deceptive statistic when a team struggles, and heâ€™s been put in a tough situation. If you look at the defense pairings, on a team thatâ€™s below .500 the top defense pairing playing against the other teamâ€™s top line is almost always minus, no matter how well they play. So I donâ€™t put a lot of stock in plus minus.â€
-Brian Burke on Tyler Bozak.
To a point, we have to agree with Burkeâ€™s statement, but only to a point. To say that a negative plus minus (-29) rating is the only reason behind Bozak being...
The locker cleanout day offered many interesting pieces of information that occupied me to the point of having to write about it. These are the quotes of things said that intrigued me the most. Below each quote is a note about what I took from it.
About Tyler Bozak:
â€œIf we got Tyler Bozak in the one hole (top line center), and he canâ€™t play in the one hole, thatâ€™s my fault, itâ€™s not Tylerâ€™s fault. I really like the way Tylerâ€™s game improved this year, he became a really solid penalty killer, heâ€™s what we thought we were getting...
Brian Burke's endorsement of Ron Wilson's work behind the bench this season and his confirmation of Wilson's return next season sparked some debate in the most recent comments sections. While the "talent vs. coaching" special teams debate is really tough to come to any conclusions on, below MLHS' Cameron ran some numbers on player performance before, after and under Wilson:
The thing that drives me nuts about Wilson bashers is that theyâ€™ve long expected him to spin straw into gold, and when he produces silver, they are still outraged. Take a look at the key players Wilson has had under...
Dion Phaneuf has played some of his best hockey as a Toronto Maple Leaf over the past few months and it appears he is finally settling into a bit of a groove in El Toro.Â Last Thursday's loss to the Florida Panthers marked the Leafs Captainâ€™s 82nd game with the team, a full season of games in the blue and white.Â Letâ€™s take a look and see how he fared.
Acquired along with potentially the best player in the deal Keith Aulie from the Calgary Flames, the arrival of Phaneuf was met with great fan fare and anticipation as the...
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. Â The story literally broke out of thin air. Â The concept that the Ontario...
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.Â 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 donâ€™t...
According to the good folks at Sports Club Stats the Toronto Maple Leafs have approximately a 5 percent chance of making the playoffs.Â Yeah, pretty bleak... five out of one hundred times this Leafs team will make the big dance.Â If James Reimer doesnâ€™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 Saturdayâ€™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.Â In short, he has played like...
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.Â So powerful and pervasive a part of nature is it that the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus saw in it the unity of all things.Â 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...
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...
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).Â First, a few of the press conference highlights that I noted.Â Following that, I'll share my (hurried) analysis.
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".Â Gardiner's...