Goaltender Independent +/- rates for the Leafs

Cam Charron
April 03 2012 02:53PM

Our friend @67sound, who is going by the name Ian these days, I guess, posted some numbers to his Twitter account about the Leafs' defensive inefficiencies up front. Here's a bit of a data dump for reference.

Speaking of dumps, you'll find a lot of Leafs go to Behind The Net and search forwards who have played 40 games that have given up the most goals. You'll find Joffrey Lupul right at the top of the list. Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak also make the top ten. How could it be that the Leafs' successful first line has given up so many goals? Well they give up a lot of shots, it isn't just the goaltending.

For a bit of a "goaltending-independant +/-" I quickly tallied up the number of Leafs' players shots for and against, and multiplied the number by the league average shooting percentage to get a more general look at +/- to compare with "actual" +/-. The results didn't really show us more than we already know about this team:

Player SF SA +/- Act. +/- PDO
Grabovski 538 523 1 -1 99.7%
Dupuis 92 89 0 3 96.6%
Brown 172 173 0 -8 94.8%
Orr 8 14 0 1 112.5%
Kadri 120 129 -1 2 102.9%
Ashton 50 60 -1 -10 83.3%
Hamilton 10 22 -1 -1 100.9%
Colborne 41 53 -1 1 105.2%
MacArthur 439 453 -1 2 100.5%
Rosehill 55 69 -1 -3 96.0%
Steckel 303 318 -1 -13 96.2%
Armstrong 86 108 -2 -7 94.5%
Grabb 305 327 -2 -5 100.9%
Frattin 282 305 -2 -2 99.0%
Kulemin 417 442 -2 2 100.5%
Lupul 549 576 -2 1 100.0%
Kessel 672 701 -2 -12 99.3%
Connolly 387 430 -3 -11 98.3%
Lombardi 296 339 -3 -16 95.9%
Bozak 512 592 -6 -8 99.8%

Mikhail Grabovski is the best two-way forward on this team. In limited minutes, Mike Brown and Dave Steckel have kept shot counts relatively even, and they've suffered in the +/- department mostly due to poor goaltending behind them. Matt Lombardi and Tim Connolly are new-comers that haven't worked out, and the top line bleeds shots against. Nazem Kadri has earned himself the benefit of percentages in his short time playing this season.

If you simply look at "shots against per 60" Lupul is the worst on the team among regular forwards (ahead of just Ryan Hamilton and Colton Orr) giving up 35.07 shots per 60 minutes of play at 5-on-5. Dave Steckel (25.52) gives up the least. Colby Armstrong and, oddly enough, Joey Crabb are okay by that measure as well.

Here are the defencemen:

Player SF SA +/- Act. +/- PDO
Phaneuf 718 705 1 -9 97.9%
Liles 496 484 1 -14 96.7%
Franson 370 369 0 -2 98.9%
Komisarek 239 282 -3 -11 97.4%
Gunnarsson 573 625 -4 -9 99.5%
Gardiner 582 670 -7 -7 100.7%
Schenn 489 610 -10 -5 100.7%

There's little to convince me that Luke Schenn is a real NHLer at this point, and he appears to be bringing down Jake Gardiner. The team's numbers were apparently really bad in the games that Gardiner didn't play because his relative numbers are quite good. John-Michael Liles looks to be better by this metric, but he has the worst PDO among defencemen. Him and Komisarek have been getting pretty unlucky, but they're at least steady enough in their own end, apparently, giving up fewer shots, although, if you click the link above, they don't play very tough minutes.

The bright spot is Carl Gunnarsson, who plays against toughs in rough zone time and there's only about a 50-shot disparity there. That doesn't line doesn't scream "Norris Trophy" anytime soon, but at least it's one guy that the Leafs can be sure about going forward.

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Cam Charron is a BC hockey fan that writes about hockey on many different websites including this one.
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#1 JP Nikota
April 03 2012, 09:07PM
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These numbers suggest that league-average goaltending wouldn't have saved the Leafs - which would contradict the last post you put up.

I think that we too often often isolate the contributions of goaltenders around this corner of the internet, and I am more inclined to believe that this current incarnation of the Leafs is not a playoff team, even with average goaltending.

That said, goaltending is probably still the biggest hole for this team to fill in the off-season.

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#3 player are not numbers
April 04 2012, 07:33AM
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as i commented on your last post, hockey is not linear.

a + b doesn't always equal c.

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#4 DSC
April 04 2012, 08:29AM
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In terms of having the puck one second, then right away the other team having it even though you don't want them to (also known as turnovers), Phaneuf and Gardiner are top 10 in the league. Also, in stats showing 1-on-1 ability (a guy comes in on you, does he beat you or do you make him work for it) both D men do not fare well, and easily are the Leafs worst. Seeing guys blow by Phaneuf game after game is maddening.

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