Analysis

Analysis

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

295

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)  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...

715

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...

279

(Part 1) (Part 2) Now for the (not-so) thrilling conclusion to my blog series on the Leafs trade targets on the back end.  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 Phaneuf’s stalwart partner at the World Championship has played with the captain before.  That’s the same kind of sentiment we heard from free agents Clarke MacArthur and Colby Armstrong shortly after they were acquired.  It seems there is a spot...

123

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...

280

“Plus minus is a very deceptive statistic when a team struggles, and he’s been put in a tough situation. If you look at the defense pairings, on a team that’s below .500 the top defense pairing playing against the other team’s top line is almost always minus, no matter how well they play. So I don’t put a lot of stock in plus minus.” -Brian Burke on Tyler Bozak. To a point, we have to agree with Burke’s statement, but only to a point. To say that a negative plus minus (-29) rating is the only reason behind Bozak being...

116

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. BRIAN BURKE: About Tyler Bozak: “If we got Tyler Bozak in the one hole (top line center), and he can’t play in the one hole, that’s my fault, it’s not Tyler’s fault. I really like the way Tyler’s game improved this year, he became a really solid penalty killer, he’s what we thought we were getting...

156

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 they’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...

332

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.  Last Thursday's loss to the Florida Panthers marked the Leafs Captain’s 82nd game with the team, a full season of games in the blue and white.  Let’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...

553

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...