Pension Plan Puppets
January 11 2012 07:40AM
The Toronto Maple Leafs beat Detroit on Saturday night to mark the halfway point of the 2011-2012 campaign. The win was enough to get the Leafs to 47 points. With their 2-0 win over the Sabres last night they've started the second half of the season on the right foot. In fact, they've started 2012 on the right foot with four straight wins. The halfway mark is as good of a time as any to take a look at how the team's forwards have been doing.
After the jump, we'll take a look at the team's scoring rates for forwards that have played at least 20 games. Push up those glasses and get your sliderule ready.
5v5 Scoring Rates
The Battle of Alberta helped define what makes a good scoring rate at even strength. Basically, anything over three points per sixty minutes of time at even-strength is elite. As of January 10, 10 players in the league were over 3.0EVPts/60. Another 28 were between 2.5EVPts/60 and 2.99EVPts/60.
Around two points per sixty minutes of time at even-strength requires a bit more delving into the circumstances to determine if that figure is good or disappointing.
And one point per sixty minutes of time at even-strength is not good and you better be good at something else in order to survive such a low rating.
Phil Kessel: Elite. End of story. He's fourth in the NHL.
Joffrey Lupul is so close to being in the top echelon. He and Connolly are firmly in the excellent range of this measure. As an aside, Ville Leino is scoring 1.32EVPts/60 which is good enough for 250th in the NHL among forwards that have played at least 20 games.
Joey Crabb is a nice surprise considering how little ice time he gets. He's recently been promoted to a line with Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin (who is struggling) based in part on these results.
Steckel's production isn't really a surprise and Philippe Dupuis' is pretty funny.
Nazem Kadri hasn't played enough games but he has 1.83EVPts/60 so he's slot in on the Leafs' second tier of scorers.
5v4 Scoring Rates
Here the standards are straightforward: 6.00PPP/60 = WOW, 5.00PPP/60 = excellent, 4.00PPP/60 = capable. Matt Fenwick provides a handy disclaimer:
Here's where we need to make the obligatory note that common sense still needs to be applied. The PPTOI totals, and thus the sample size, are relatively small in a given season; small enough that a handful of lucky goals or heroic saves can produce a big swing in someone's rate.
Which is why David Steckel is running away with this comparison. As you can see, he's not playing a lot on the powerplay - along with the guys that have yet to break their duck - but that's why you need the TOI guidelines:
TOI rule of thumb: over 5:00 PPTOI/gm means that player is leaned on heavily, probably to the point where they skip the shift change. Over 4:00 = regular 1st-unit type; over 3:30 (maybe 3:00 for d-men) equates to plenty of opportunity, but maybe not always on the #1 unit. Less than 3:00 means that player is a secondary option.
Clarke MacArthur should be getting more ice time to see if his rate is sustainable.
Kessel and Lupul are obviously first choice guys on the powerplay but one is ranked excellent and the other is capable. This is where it would be helpful to have the Means of Production Line (Kulemin-Grabovski-MacArthur) be the top powerplay unit since they are producing at excellent levels while Kessel and Lupul are elite at evens.
Connolly has been working the point the last couple of games which hopefully will get him going on the powerplay. It'll give him a lot more space to use his vision.
Good for Tyler Bozak.
Nazem Kadri would be at 2.99PPP/60.
After forty-one games the Leafs are the seventh highest scoring team in the league and it is clear why. They have three players scoring at or near elite levels at even strength and then five more scoring at excellent levels with the man advantage. The funny thing is that there is almost no overlap. It would be interesting to see what would happen if the coaching staff were to change their deployment to match these numbers but in the meantime, these are interesting benchmarks to set for the second half. If the forwards can come close to matching these numbers the offence will be in good shape.