How Bad Is The Bleeding?

Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
December 11 2013 11:02AM

 

Dion Phaneuf's two game suspension has only added gasoline to a raging fire. That fire, of course, is the debate over just how bad the Leafs shot woes are. As we've all heard about a thousand times, Toronto is close to taking the fewest shots per game in the league, give up the most by a good chunk, and have one of the worst differentials in recorded NHL history. Some will yell "shot quality" and dismiss this as no big deal. Some will pull out a heap of advanced stastics and show that there is no good precedent for results like these. 

I'm going to keep this short and sweet, and we won't get fancy with our stats. This is how bad the Leafs are at allowing shots.

Making History

These are the 19 teams that have given up the most shots in a season since 1987-88, the first year where logs became available for every game played in the NHL, with this year's Leafs roster thrown in for fun.

Rank Team Season GP W L T OTL PTS GA SA
?? Toronto 2013/14 31 16 12 0 3 35 82 1152
1 San Jose 1992/93 84 11 71 2 0 24 414 3080
2 Los Angeles 1993/94 84 27 45 12 0 66 322 3046
3 St. Louis 1993/94 84 40 33 11 0 91 283 2946
4 Buffalo 1995/96 82 33 42 7 0 73 262 2911
5 Atlanta 2001/02 82 19 47 11 5 54 288 2911
6 Los Angeles 1995/96 82 24 40 18 0 66 302 2905
7 San Jose 1991/92 80 17 58 5 0 39 359 2900
8 Edmonton 1993/94 84 25 45 14 0 64 305 2891
9 Los Angeles 1992/93 84 39 35 10 0 88 340 2888
10 Washington 2005/06 82 29 41 0 12 70 306 2880
11 Hartford 1992/93 84 26 52 6 0 58 369 2865
12 Quebec 1990/91 80 16 50 14 0 46 354 2863
13 Pittsburgh 1988/89 80 40 33 7 0 87 349 2856
14 Chicago 1987/88 80 30 41 9 0 69 328 2854
15 Florida 2005/06 82 37 34 0 11 85 257 2853
16 Florida 2008/09 82 41 30 0 11 93 231 2843
17 St. Louis 1992/93 84 37 36 11 0 85 278 2840
18 Pittsburgh 1995/96 82 49 29 4 0 102 284 2840
19 Edmonton 1992/93 84 26 50 8 0 60 337 2836

Lets make every team play 82 games, bringing up the 80's, down the 84's, and putting the Leafs on equal footing.

Rank Team Season GP W L T OTL PTS GA SA
1 Toronto 2013/14 82 42 32 0 8 92 217 3047
2 San Jose 1992/93 82 11 69 2 0 24 404 3007
3 Los Angeles 1993/94 82 26 44 12 0 64 314 2973
4 Quebec 1990/91 82 16 52 14 0 46 363 2935
5 Pittsburgh 1988/89 82 41 34 7 0 89 358 2927
6 Chicago 1987/88 82 31 42 9 0 71 336 2925
7 Buffalo 1995/96 82 33 42 7 0 73 262 2911
8 Atlanta 2001/02 82 19 47 11 5 54 288 2911
9 Los Angeles 1995/96 82 24 40 18 0 66 302 2905
10 San Jose 1991/92 82 17 60 5 0 39 368 2973
11 Washington 2005/06 82 29 41 0 12 70 306 2880
12 St. Louis 1993/94 82 39 32 11 0 89 276 2876
13 Florida 2005/06 82 37 34 0 11 85 257 2853
14 Florida 2008/09 82 41 30 0 11 93 231 2843
15 Pittsburgh 1995/96 82 49 29 4 0 102 284 2840
16 Edmonton 1993/94 82 24 44 14 0 62 298 2822
17 Los Angeles 1992/93 82 38 34 10 0 86 332 2819
18 Hartford 1992/93 82 25 51 6 0 56 360 2797
19 St. Louis 1992/93 82 36 35 11 0 83 271 2772
20 Edmonton 1992/93 82 25 49 8 0 58 329 2768

Yes, the Toronto Maple Leafs are on pace to give up more shots in 82 games than any team in recorded NHL history. The situation isn't just "worrisome", it's "catastrophically bad". When you consider that they're also on pace to take 855 fewer shots than they allow (2192), it gets impressively absurd.

Whether or not you believe the Leafs don't have to consistently outshoot teams if they focus on quality, this is too much of a disparity to make any sense. Yet, despite recent struggles, it's still kind of working.

But How?

Looking at the other adjusted stats, this year's Leafs are on pace for the second best regular season results out of any team on this list, one of three to cross over the 90 point mark. Sure, they aren't the 1995/96 Pittsburgh Penguins, but that team included Mario Lemieux scoring 60 goals in 69 games, and Jaromir Jagr notching a career high 149 points. What is making this survivable?

Pretty simply, it's the goaltending.

Team Season Starter GP SV% Backup GP SV% LAV TAV GAP
Toronto 2013/14 Jonathan Bernier 19 0.929 James Reimer 14 0.932 0.915 0.931 0.016
San Jose 1992/93 Arturs Irbe 36 0.886 Jeff Hackett 36 0.856 0.885 0.867 -0.018
Los Angeles 1993/94 Kelly Hrudey 64 0.897 Robb Stauber 22 0.908 0.895 0.898 0.003
St. Louis 1993/94 Curtis Joseph 71 0.911 Jim Hrivnak 23 0.877 0.895 0.904 0.009
Buffalo 1995/96 Dominik Hasek 59 0.92 Andrei Trefilov 22 0.903 0.898 0.913 0.015
Atlanta 2001/02 Milan Hnilicka 60 0.908 Damian Rhodes 15 0.893 0.908 0.905 -0.003
Los Angeles 1995/96 Byron Dafoe 47 0.888 Kelly Hrudey 36 0.907 0.898 0.898 0
San Jose 1991/92 Jeff Hackett 42 0.892 Jarmo Myllys 27 0.867 0.888 0.879 -0.009
Edmonton 1993/94 Bill Ranford 71 0.898 Fred Brathwaite 19 0.889 0.895 0.897 0.002
Los Angeles 1992/93 Kelly Hrudey 50 0.887 Robb Stauber 31 0.888 0.885 0.884 -0.001
Washington 2005/06 Olaf Kolzig 59 0.896 Brent Johnson 28 0.905 0.901 0.899 -0.002
Hartford 1992/93 Sean Burke 50 0.876 Frank Pietrangelo 30 0.858 0.885 0.874 -0.011
Quebec 1990/91 Ron Tugnutt 56 0.885 Jacques Cloutier 15 0.884 0.886 0.878 -0.008
Pittsburgh 1988/89 Tom Barrasso 44 0.888 Wendell Young 22 0.863 0.879 0.88 0.001
Chicago 1987/88 Darren Pang 45 0.891 Bob Mason 41 0.882 0.88 0.887 0.007
Florida 2005/06 Roberto Luongo 75 0.914 Jamie McLennan 17 0.906 0.901 0.913 0.012
Florida 2008/09 Tomas Vokoun 59 0.926 Craig Anderson 31 0.924 0.908 0.925 0.017
St. Louis 1992/93 Curtis Joseph 68 0.911 Guy Hebert 24 0.883 0.885 0.905 0.020
Pittsburgh 1995/96 Tom Barasso 49 0.902 Ken Wregget 37 0.905 0.898 0.903 0.005
Edmonton 1992/93 Bill Ranford 67 0.884 Ron Tugnutt 26 0.879 0.885 0.882 -0.003

LAV = League Average SV% / TAV = Team Average SV% / GAP = TAV-LAV

Out of any starting or backup goaltender on this list, James Reimer and Jonathan Bernier have the best and second best save percentages. Many come from different eras, but even with that considered, Toronto's team average compared to the league average is still the third best disparity of the bunch.

Topping the list are the 1992/93 St. Louis Blues, who had Curtis Joseph in net for 68 games. For those old enough to remember, this was the year he had a 61 save performance in a 2-1 playoff double overtime loss to the Leafs (featuring a certain goal). His following year was equally impressive, only bogged down by backup Jim Hrivnak's horrendous 4-10-0 record and 0.877 save percentage. 

Also ahead are a prime Tomas Vokoun and a "coming out party" Craig Anderson on the 2008/09 Panthers. amazingly, that team barely missed the playoffs, losing the 8th spot to Montreal on a tiebreaker.

The general rule you see in this list? Good goaltending was what kept these bad defensive teams alive. Of all the teams that managed even a 75 point pace, only one had a below-average save percentage (the 92/93 Kings, who went to the Stanley Cup Finals on Wayne Gretzky's stick and back). 

Conclusion

I'm not offering you a solution to the Leafs' problems here. That will be something for another article. However, the Leafs' shots-against woes are beyond bad and into historically embarrassing.  it may be time to petition for a goaltending duo to share a Hart Trophy.

7cb905bdffc4d09e93770ff4a1889462
I bring news about the Toronto Marlies, opinions about the Toronto Maple Leafs, and a bunch of ridiculous thoughts about everything else.
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#1 Bertly83
December 11 2013, 11:15AM
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"Hack the bone! Hack the bone!!!"

but in all seriousness, yeah way too many shots allowed.

as fans, while watching the games, we should all take a shot (drink of choice) for every leafs' shot on goal.

we won't get that drunk.

but it might ease the pain a little.

who's game???

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#2 leafsfan93
December 11 2013, 11:39AM
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I always knew Kessel and JVR were secretly a prime Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr

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#3 Cam Charron
December 11 2013, 12:28PM
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@Bertly83

i disagree

we would get very drunk

oh wait. you said leafs shots on goal.

no, i'd rather get very drunk.

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#4 Bertly83
December 11 2013, 12:55PM
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Cam Charron wrote:

i disagree

we would get very drunk

oh wait. you said leafs shots on goal.

no, i'd rather get very drunk.

yeah, you're right.

hmm..

ok...

every time mclaren is on the ice we chug a 26er.

that should be at least 4.

if he ends up getting a lot of shifts, we might die.

which could be a good thing at that point...

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#5 Jordan
December 11 2013, 03:56PM
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Although shot quality was obviously a reason for the Leafs relative success last year, this year appears to be different. The Leafs goaltending tandem have actually stolen a bunch of games this year (much more so than last), and the chances against have also seemed to have risen. I think if the Leafs can stay healthy, stay out of the box and get on the points a bit more then they can get back on the winning track. If not, it might be trouble.

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