September 23 2016 12:25PM
Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY SPORTS
The round robin of the World Cup is over and the playoff stage is about to kick off. What does that mean for the Leafs? Well, it's the playoffs so it means they don't get to play anymore. A little joke, but it's actually true as Nikita Zaitsev is the last Leaf standing. Perhaps he hasn't learned that part of Leafs culture yet.
That makes now the perfect time for some quick analysis of how the Leafs fared during the very short tournament. Many readers were up in arms when site overlord Jeff Veillette did something similar after the pre-tournament games which I thought was a little unfair since it wasn't meant to be a predictive exercise, just a descriptive one.
This one will be much the same, with all the caveats that small sample size randomness brings to the table. To reiterate, this is just a quick analysis of how each player performed, and not how they will perform as a Leaf.
August 29 2016 07:00AM
Phil Kessel was always much-maligned here in Toronto thanks mostly to the cost of acquisition: Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton. The Leafs could've had a truly elite center and a very good d-man, but instead had an elite goal-scoring winger. Whatever you think of the trade now, it was hard to separate at the time Kessel's value on the ice from the cost to put him there in a Leafs uniform (even tough the cost wasn't expected to be that high).
Our fifth rated prospect will likely suffer the same fate. Kasperi Kapanen was the centrepiece to the other Phil Kessel trade, the one that sent him to the Pittsburgh Penguins, and as long as he's a Leaf that's surely what he'll be remembered for and the player he'll be unfortunately compared to. The Leafs turned a house into a red paperclip.
That's probably an unfair analogy for our fifth best prospect, but it's hard to ignore the lineage of how he became a Leaf. Rather than fixate on the past and how he came to be a Leaf, let's focus on what he can become as a Leaf.
August 24 2016 07:37AM
It took 125 picks before Dmytro Timashov came off the board at the 2015 Entry Draft and I'd bet 29 other teams wouldn't mind a do-over. After another tantalizing season in the QMJHL and an eye-opening performance at the World Juniors, Timashov's stock has risen exponentially over the past year, jumping from #18 in last year's rankings, to #5 at midterm, and #8 here (we had to make some room for new prospects). Again, 124 other players were taken ahead of him making Timashov look like a steal one year later.
August 18 2016 10:38AM
Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY SPORTS
August is always the roughest month for hockey content. There is always extremely little going on and even the tiniest bit of news throws the hockey world into a frenzy. August is the opposite of Everything Is Happening.
With that being said, I’ve always been fond of August because it marks the beginning of fantasy hockey season. Some of the big fantasy hockey guides go on sale around this time and reading them has always been something I look forward to every summer.
Mostly it’s “hmmm, that’s a lot of points for _________ (insert random overhyped player here)” or “I can’t believe they think _________ (insert second overhyped player here) is going to score more points than _________ (insert underrated player who I consider my son here).” But still I do genuinely enjoy the content and perspective towards what certain players will likely do next season.
With this being a Leafs blog, I figured we should take a look at what’s being projected of the Leafs going into next season. I’ve built my own projection model based on a player’s last three seasons that we’ll use alongside the three fantasy guides I’ve bought – The Hockey News, Dobber, and The Sports Forecaster – in order to get an average projection for each player going into 2016-17.
July 15 2016 09:00AM
The best and worst games played by a Leaf last season were both by Jonathan Bernier. They were played within eight days of each other. On December 29, Bernier let in six goals on 15 shots (and got pulled) against the Islanders in a 6-3 loss. On January 6th, he stopped all 39 shots he faced against the Ducks in a 4-0 Leafs win.
The first game earned a Game Score of -3.6 – one of the worst for any player all season – while the other was worth 3.9. For most of the year he was above water, but it was a roller coaster of highs and lows for Bernier. That one week was the apex.
You’re probably wondering what Game Score is at this point. It’s a stat I stole from basketball that attempts to measure a player’s performance in a single game using every basic stat we hold near and dear to our hearts: goals, assists, shots, blocks, faceoffs, penalties, and 5-on-5 on-ice differentials for Corsi and Goals. You can read more about it here.
What I wanted to do with this post was take a basic look at the Leafs 2015-16 season through the lens of this new stat, as well as look at some historic games played – well, historic in the BehindTheNet era, at least.