In the summer, I wrote about Bozak’s statistically-improved 2013-14 season.

In that post, I observed that Bozak had significantly improved his 5v5 offensive production last season, and in particular his assist rates, while noting that his power play production had been relatively unchanged. Here is my concluding paragraph from that post:

[quote_box_center]It is difficult to know from the statistics whether Bozak took a step forward in his development or changed his style of play last season to become a more important member of his line, but he appears to have been. Of course, one season does not make a trend so it will be up to Bozak to show that he is in fact a more productive and integral member of the Leafs top line. A pessimist of course would look at Bozak’s IPP on the power play last season and say nothing has changed. Time will tell[/quote_box_center]

We are now 23 games into the current season, so let’s have a look at Bozak’s production this season to see if last year started a new trend or whether he has reverted back to his old self.

Things look positive on the surface. Bozak has 11 goals, which ties him for the team lead with Kessel and he has 22 points, just 3 short of Kessel’s 25. That is the positive. The underlying numbers don’t look quite so good, although his production has largely been driven by special teams as he has 6 goals and 9 points on the power play and another 2 goals while short handed. That means 8 of his 11 goals and half of his points have been on special teams.

During standard 5v5 play, the story is quite different. Bozak has just 2 goals and 7 points during 5v5 play, and of the 11 Leaf forwards with at least 150 minutes of 5v5 ice time he ranks 10th in goals/60 and 8th in points/60. Overall, his 5v5 production has dropped back to his more typical numbers as can be seen from the following chart.


That chart clearly shows that last year’s point production, driven largely by increase assist rate, is probably the anomaly and nothing has in fact changed.  Another way we can look at this is by looking at his 5v5 goal (IGP), assist (IAP) and points (IPP) percentage which is an indication of how involved in the offensive play he has been.

2010-11 22.2 30.6 52.8
2011-12 24.5 34.7 59.2
2012-13 21.2 30.3 51.5
2013-14 18.9 49.1 67.9
2014-15 15.4 38.5 53.8

His IAP and IPP last season clearly looks like a one-season anomaly, not a new trend.

Now, you may say that Bozak deserves credit for his special teams performance; of course he does. The question I have with his special team performance this season, though, is the same question I asked about last season’s jump in 5v5 assist and point production: Is it a new trend or an anomaly? Have a look at this chart, which is the identical chart to above but for 5v4 play, and ask yourself that question.


Bozak currently has a 5v4 Goals/60 of 5.12; it has been just 1.30 over the past 3 seasons and no player has ever finished a season that high. He won’t keep up that goal production. Nobody has.

In summary, Bozak does deserve some credit for what he has done for the Leafs on special teams thus far this season. With that said, one must keep in mind that this, like last seasons assist totals, is likely just a short term blip and completely unsustainable. Bozak is, for the most part, still a passenger on the Leafs top line, not an integral member of it.

(For a background on the stats discussed in this article please refer to my Introduction to Advanced Statistics article I wrote this past summer.)