How Good Are The Leafs: November Edition

Dom Luszczyszyn
December 08 2016 01:45PM

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Photo Credit: John. E Sokolowski/USA TODAY SPORTS

We're now in the third month of the season, so it's time to get an update on just how good this Leafs team is. I know some people are getting more pessimistic with each passing game as the Leafs dropped a winnable game to arguably the league's worst team and then came up short again last night against a decent Wild team.

I understand the frustration and while I don't think (right now at least) that #TheLeafsAreActuallyGood, I do think they are at the very least Actually Average and much better than their current 82 point pace would suggest. 

Let's take a mini dive into their November and then check in on how good they really are.

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Analyzing Toronto's Game Score from November

Dom Luszczyszyn
December 06 2016 09:09AM

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Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin/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. (Apologies for the lateness here, Corsica didn't update right away after the month ended and then the weekend hit which is generally a content graveyard so here we are).

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 November looked through the eyes of Game Score and some thoughts on it.

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The Extra 2% Continued: A Response to A Response

Dom Luszczyszyn
November 26 2016 01:47PM

Earlier this week I wrote a piece about improvements that can be made at the margins of a hockey team. The basic premise was that fourth lines and third pairs move the needle much more than most think and based on my model, a switch from Ben Smith, Roman Polak, and Matt Hunwick to Peter Holland, Martin Marincin, and Frank Corrado is the difference between 89 and 93 points, at least by my model.

Today, David Johnson aka @hockeyanalysis on Twitter offered a different perspective to the piece, citing the Leafs defensive issues as the team's biggest problem and showing that removing the three players I pointed out as issues would be a further detriment to the team's defensive woes. That is 100 percent an argument I can get behind, after all, the role of those three is to play defence so they should be better at it.

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Fourth Lines, Third Pairs and The Extra 2%

Dom Luszczyszyn
November 24 2016 01:14PM

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Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY SPORTS

Back in the summer of 2013, before hockey analytics really became a part of the mainstream lexicon, there was an article posted on Yahoo on Kyle Dubas. I'll never forget the lead to that article:

"One of the first things Kyle Dubas did when he became the general manager of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds was buy everybody in the office a copy of Jonah Keri's The Extra 2%, a book that chronicles the overhaul by two Wall Street analysts of the Tampa Bay Rays, turning them from a laughingstock of baseball to a perennial contender in the American League East Division."

As it turns out, the guy who wrote the piece on the "not-so-secret" use of analytics by the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds was a former TLN Managing Editor, a guy who's now employed by the Leafs: Cam Charron. Funny how that ends up working out.

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Leafs Postgame: Hurricanes Blow Leafs Away

Dom Luszczyszyn
November 22 2016 08:16PM

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Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY SPORTS

The Leafs fell 2-1 to the Carolina Hurricanes tonight and if that surprised you, I'm not sure what to tell you. Midweek game? Check. Sunbelt team? Check. Former Leaf scores winner? Check. This game was as traditional as you'll see this year from the Leafs. Let's recap what happened and where it all went wrong.

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