November 16 2011 08:17PM
There's a pun to be made here about 'falling Leafs' - especially as we're in the midst of Fall - but I'm not going to be the one to make it. We're just all business here at The Leafs Nation, in case you haven't noticed - cough, cough.
Recently, the Leafs currently have a sizeable list of players that are injured, and unable to play in tomorrow's game against Nashville:
Colton Orr has the flu, but should be available by tomorrow, even though he'll likely be a healthy sratch.
Matt Frattin missed practice today, but it was for personal reasons, and will definitely be back tomorrow.
Returning for Toronto will be Tim Connolly, who has missed 11 of the Leafs' 17 games so far.
This might have been a nice time to call up Joe Colborne, who posted 19 points in his first 12 games with the Toronto Marlies, but he is also not quite back to 100%, and can't be counted on just yet. In any event, he'll probably need a couple games to get his timing back before the Leafs give him an audition for the big show.
Most of us have looked back on last year, when the Leafs' were one of the healthier teams in the league, and figured that this year is life's way of balancing out the tables, but this is something of a Gambler's Fallacy. Year-to-year man games lost to injury are (mostly) discreet numbers, and can't be thought of in that way. The odds that we stayed healthy last year are the same that we stayed healthy this year. (Except, perhaps, for the case of Tim Connolly.)
Here is an interesting chart, originally posted by LW3H at the blog Springing Malik, that shows cap hit of Injured players. In many ways it's a better measure of how much a team suffered due to injuries, because if the likes of Colton Orr get hurt, the teams doesn't suffer so much as it gets better.
In truth, the Leafs could even have finished lower than they did, if it weren't for Jean-Sebastien Giguere's inflated contract buoying their position. Of course, they weren't the only team to have their ranking affected by an inflated contract, but it's clear that not many of Toronto was relatively lucky last season.
So far this year, Springing Malik has only published the October numbers, but the November ones will no doubt look even worse:
I think it's interesting that this chart breaks down the CHIP by position. It's unfortunate for Cody Franson that the Leafs' D has been so healthy this year, but if he's not traded anytime in the near future, I'd be surprised if he doesn't get a chance to show what he can do when a Leafs defender goes down.
Another note to make here is how James Reimer's worth to his team is not well represented by his comparatively small contract. Not that I'm complaining about that.
Here's hoping the Buds can put together a few wins in the absence of so many players. It's time for that new team depth to prove itself.