How Good Are The Leafs: January Edition

Dom Luszczyszyn
February 14 2017 09:59AM

article_b0ef0bf8-8bf6-46ec-a24b-a214d7624b9f
Photo Credit: Raj Mehta/USA TODAY SPORTS

My apologies for slacking for the delay as this "January" update has now turned into a mid-February one. Well, happy Valentine's Day from me to you as I provide a monthly update of how good this team is.

It is now month five of the season, we're hitting the home stretch and it seems like the Leafs are fading. They're reeling of late winning just two of their last eight games. It hasn't been pretty. Fortunately, though, the team is still very much in the playoff hunt, even if it's getting much tighter lately. Fans are turning pessimistic, but the team is still in a decent spot. Much better than where I thought they'd be at the start of the season at least. 

Before the season started I projected that the Leafs would be around an 87 point team based on a model using Game Score which measures the value of each player in the league. Right now, they're set to surpass those expectations as they're on pace for 93 points (same as they were in the last update!) and they may even be a smidgen better than that.

Here's how good the Leafs are, right now, according to Game Score, a look at who's driving those results, and how their ratings have changed from month to month.

Read Article | Comments

Analyzing Toronto's Game Score from January

Dom Luszczyszyn
February 09 2017 06:37AM

USATSI_9837785
Photo Credit: Raj Mehta/USA TODAY SPORTS

After every month of hockey (and sorry we're late on this), it's good practice to take a look back and assess what happens. That's my goal here with these posts analyzing the Leafs Game Score for each player for every month. You can find October's here, November's here and December's here.

For those unfamiliar with Game Score, it's a single number stat meant to measure single game productivity and player value that I developed over the summer. It basically combines the most important box-score stats and weights them by their relevance to goals. It's not perfect and there's much that is unaccounted for, but it does pretty well for something that is relatively simple to compute and comprehend.

The sample is still incredibly small, but I figure taking a look at the team on a monthly basis could provide some insight into how the team is doing. So without further ado, here's how the Leafs January looked through the eyes of Game Score and some thoughts on it.

Read Article | Comments

Auston Matthews Is Better Than I Ever Expected

Dom Luszczyszyn
January 18 2017 03:03PM

USATSI_9811261
Photo Credit: Marc DesRosiers/USA TODAY SPORTS

Auston Matthews is really good. Like really, really good. Like "I thought he'd be this good in five years good." Like he's already better than pretty much every other centre in the league good. Like I'm already picturing what his banner would look like in the ACC rafters good. He's good. 

That last line is the classic hyperbolic peak in a list of things that I like to do sometimes to emphasize a point, but I'd be lying if I said it was untrue. 

I've had the privilege of sitting in the press box at a number of Leafs games this season courtesy of The Hockey News and I'm grateful every day for that opportunity. My dream since I was a kid that finally realized he wasn't good enough to be on the ice was to at least be above the ice and watch for a living and I'm living that right now. It's still really surreal to me.

I sat there during last night's Buffalo game, Matthews 42nd career game, and looked at the rest of the banners on display and pictured that crazy thing I mentioned above. I recognize it's crazy. I know it. It's still early. But then I look down and watch him play and I don't think it's so crazy anymore. The kid is special and will go down as one of the greatest Leafs in history.

Read Article | Comments

How Good Are The Leafs: Belated December Edition

Dom Luszczyszyn
January 11 2017 12:25PM

USATSI_9796087
Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY SPORTS

We're now in the fourth month of the season for the Buds and the temperature on the team has completely switched. Around this time last month there was a lot of pessimism around the team and for good reason after dropping easy games to the dregs of the league like Vancouver, Arizona and Colorado. Since then the Leafs have been on a tear and are currently in or barely out of a playoff spot depending on whether you look at it sensibly (points percentage) or not (points).

Since losing to the Coyotes, aka their last 10 games, the Leafs are 7-2-1 and #TheLeafsAreActuallyGood hashtag has sort of reached a fever pitch on the ol' Twitter dot com and while I was on the fence about it earlier in the year, this run has pushed me on to the other side with the rest of the crazies. This is a good team. A good team that will fight for the playoffs and in fact has a pretty good chance of getting in themselves.

Before the season started I projected that the Leafs would be around an 87 point team based on a model using Game Score which measures the value of each player in the league. That would put them in the middle camp: not quite playoff calibre, but not a flaming pile of garbage either. Right now, they're set to surpass those expectations as they're on pace for 93 points. In fact, they even be a little better than that.

Here's how good the Leafs are, right now, according to Game Score, and a look at who's driving those results.

Read Article | Comments

Analyzing Toronto's Game Score from December

Dom Luszczyszyn
January 03 2017 08:09AM

USATSI_9782709
Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY SPORTS

After every month of hockey, it's good practice to take a look back and assess what happens. That's my goal here with these posts analyzing the Leafs Game Score for each player for every month. You can find October's here and November's here.

For those unfamiliar with Game Score, it's a single number stat meant to measure single game productivity and player value that I developed over the summer. It basically combines the most important box-score stats and weights them by their relevance to goals. It's not perfect and there's much that is unaccounted for, but it does pretty well for something that is relatively simple to compute and comprehend.

The sample is still incredibly small, but I figure taking a look at the team on a monthly basis could provide some insight into how the team is doing. So without further ado, here's how the Leafs December looked through the eyes of Game Score and some thoughts on it.

Read Article | Comments