Leafs' Scoring Chances Up To Today

JP Nikota
November 15 2011 02:31AM

For those of you that aren't aware, I've started tracking Leafs' scoring chances for and against in each game, and will be continuing this project throughout the year, publishing each individual game's numbers as the season progresses.

If you're looking for a description of my definition of a scoring chance, give this piece a read.

Starting on this project a bit late into the season has made it difficult to catch up, but I've finally done it. This post covers the Leafs' first 17 games of the season, though because it takes a while to compile all of the data in a useful way, I may not be doing these summative pieces very often. Consider this your first quarter report.

Note that in the following data, TOI listed in minutes.

 Now, it can, of course, be somewhat difficult to gauge which players have been the most efficient with their ice time, so I've taken the next step, and calculated their chances for/against at each game state (EV, PP, PK), and ranked them using their chance differential (Delta).

 

 Clearly, Colton Orr, in his two games played, has some skewed stats, and there's not question that a number of other Leafs do as well. The numbers for skaters that have played a greater number of minutes shouldn't surprise you unless you were one of those people that thought Phaneuf had absolutely no chance of living up to that contract. Was that everyone?

One thing I find intriguing about the above chart is that James Reimer clearly had better support than Ben Scrivens, and that both of those goalies have had better support that poor Jonas Gustavsson. Now, I'm no Monster apologist - I don't want to see him play another game for this team - but the numbers don't lie, Gus has been on the wrong side of the Leafs' regression. Of course, Scrivens has been too, he's just played better.

 

Our best power play weapons? Er... well, Luke Schenn isn't one of them. The man has seen (if you look at the first chart above) less than one minute on the power play combined all season. The rest of the names shouldn't be a huge shock, with perhaps the exception of David Steckel, but you only have to keep in mind that Steckel has seen a fair amount of time on the first PP unit because of his faceoff skills.

Perhaps the only other eyebrow-raising performance is Gunnarsson's. You'd think he'd have done better. Oh well, it's only 17 games.

This is another situation where the team's performance in front of Gustavsson has been below that of the other goalies, and it's certainly taken its toll on his save percentage.

Wasn't Connolly supposed to be something of a PK specialist? Oh well, small sample size and all that.

Liles' performance is also something of a disgrace, but then, most of our PK regulars look bad. That said, similar to the hypothesis I explored in this post, it seems that our best offensive players are proving to be our best penalty killing players.

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#1 BCapp
November 15 2011, 08:50AM
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I'm not surprised Liles sucks on the PK as we've been told that before. He also has barely played any time there throughout his career. I think the 4th PKing defenseman should probably be Gardiner. Gunnar/Phaneuf and Gardiner/Schenn.

Also I don't think there is much of a difference between Scrivens and Gus on the PK (-0.544 and -0.574). The real difference (as you pointed out) is between them and Reimer (-0.364).

Awesome post though!

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#2 Koopa Kid
November 15 2011, 11:10AM
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Thanks for this JP.

I seem to recall that Gustavsson was looking at the wrong end of the regression tables last year as well (correct me if I'm wrong). It certainly looks like he's a supremely unlucky dude but I wonder; has anyone ever found correlation between different goaltenders and scoring chance rates in a large enough sample?

Speaking from a qualitative standpoint (boo, hiss) is it possible that a combination of puckhandling/rebound control/puck freezing from a goalie can influence a team's scoring chances for/against in any significant way?

Not expecting you to actually look into this, just thinking out loud. I suspect there's a good chance goalie influence is probably close to zero.

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#3 CdnBarbarian
November 15 2011, 12:12PM
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Very cool, look forward to seeing this later on with more games.

Could it be something Reimer is doing that causes the team to play better in front of him?

Watching the games there's a noticeable improvement in the team with Reimer in net. Is it just bad luck on the part of the other tenders, is it Reimer's intangibles, or is it his rebound control, his puck handling ability, co-ordination of the defense.

I'm thinking rebound control would have a significant impact in those numbers, ie. not giving up 2nd, 3rd and 4th chances.

Thoughts?

Edit: I'm already thinking it's some combination of the above mentioned as well as a few other things I didn't think of (quality of competition, small sample size) but there's gotta be some way to track rebound control and I'd be very surprised if that doesn't have a significant impact on charting chances.

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