How will Maple Leafs forward moves impact team shooting percentage?


Over the past two off seasons, the Toronto Maple Leafs have made a fairly significant number of moves to their group of forwards beyond their core of Kessel, JVR, Bozak, Lupul and Kadri.

Significant forwards gone from the 2011-12 season are Mikhail Grabovski, Clarke MacArthur, Nikolai Kulemin and  JayMcClement, while Dave Bolland and Mason Raymond are gone from last season. Incoming forwards the past two off seasons are David Clarkson, Mike Santorelli, Daniel Winnik, David Booth, and Leo Komarov will return to the Leafs after a season in the KHL. The following table shows some key stats for all these players over the past 3 seasons:

 PlayerCF%TMCF%CF% -
Joining LeafsDavid Clarkson50.
Mike Santorelli50.550.7-0.25.92
Daniel Winnik50.349.21.16.63
Leo Komarov45.746.2-0.56.86
David Booth55.
Departing LeafsMikhail Grabovski50.446.24.28.96
Clarke MacArthur52.
Nikolai Kulemin44.846.9-2.19.09
Jay McClement41.247.2-6.07.33
Dave Bolland47.253.0-5.87.96
Mason Raymond47.348.4-1.1%7.96

CF% is corsi percentage while TMCF% represents how their teammates performed when they were not on the ice with these players. By looking at the difference (CF%-TMCF%), we can get an idea of how much impact they had on their teammates corsi percentage. Generally speaking, the guys coming in have a mostly neutral to slightly positive impact on their teammates corsi percentage. The departing players  range from having a significantly positive impact in Grabovski and MacArthur, to significantly negative impact in McClement and Bolland, to a slightly negative impact in Kulemin and Raymond. Overall it’s probably a bit of a wash, but the group coming in is more balanced — probably a good thing.

What has me most concerned, though, is the impact it could have on the teams shooting percentage, which has generally been above league average. Every player the Leafs have brought in (or brought back in the case of Komarov) have had well-below-average in on-ice shooting percentage (league average is ~7.8% over past 3 seasons), while the majority of players leaving have had well above average on-ice shooting percentage. The following chart shows this nicely.


There are 365 forwards who have played at least 1000 minutes during 5v5 play over the past three seasons. Of those forwards, Daniel Winnik ranks 285th, Clarkson 306th, Booth 326th and Santorelli 332nd in on-ice shooting percentage. This translates into rankings of 268th, 294th,  284th and 295th respectively in goals for per 20 minutes of ice time. These guys will not produce much offense and the Leafs team shooting percentage is likely to continue to drop from it’s peak in 2011-12, the season when it boasted eight very good shooting percentage players (Kadri, JVR, Bozak, Lupul, Grabovski, MacArthur, Kulemin and Kadri). Three of those eight are now gone and replaced with well below average shooting percentage players; as a result, we could see the Leafs shooting percentage drop, possibly close to or maybe even slightly below average.

This will have a negative impact on the Leafs’ overall goal production. The top lines will still score, but as bad as the bottom six was last season, how much offense can we really expect from the bottom two lines? They have lost a lot of offensive skill the past couple seasons and not replaced it (unless William Nylander can be a surprise and make a significant impact as an 18 year old). The hope is that those new guys will provide the team with better defense, but will it be enough to offset the drop in offensive production? I am not certain.



  • vinoa

    Interesting stuff. Can’t wait to see how the season plays out.

  • Luke_R

    I think there is a hole in the thinking here, or maybe i read too fast.  
    If you are concerned that the new players wont offset their low shooting percentages, replacing players with higher ones, does this take into account that the leafs shooting % was so high for a number of reasons such as : lack of total shots + capable shooters + luck + sleeping goalies = inflation?
    Maybe Im just reading wrong, maybe i cant write my thoughts the way i intended to and have in my head.  I hate typing, which i could discuss in conversation lol

  • Burtonboy

    vinoa I see two guys with high shooting % who really didn’t have much of an impact on the score board . Kulie and Bolland . One didn’t score much and the other didn’t play much

  • Komas Taberle

    If Kontiola can duplicate his KHL face off percentages, that would go a long way.

  • Luke_R

    Burtonboy vinoa Kulemins shooting percentage is a perfect example of why to discount this stat.  He had above average shooting percentage because he had a good shot.  He was told to shoot more, had the chances (some, however he sucked at creating his chances like he did when he scored 30) and as a result, inflated his percentage vs. his actual impact on the ice for the team

  • Mind Bomb

    Thanks David,  this may Balance with the new group preventing more goals, and At the end of the Day, Last year if I remember correctly, our bottom 6 finished Last in Points/production in the League, So even if their shooting percentage is lower, I will take more O zone time from them and less shots against. We can only go up :

    We can only go up :)

  • Luke_R

    Mind Bomb we can hope we can only go up…. unless youre in the #TankforMcDavid camp.

  • Mind Bomb

    Luke_R Mind Bomb NOPE, screw Tanking !

  • MaxwellHowe

    Some interesting insights David.  No doubt about it, for the Leafs to compete, the top six, and especially Kessel, have to be on their game.

  • Burtonboy

    MaxwellHowe No different then last yr when we didn’t even have a bottom six.