August 23 2016 12:03PM
Photo Credit: Kim Klement/USA TODAY SPORTS
When the Toronto Maple Leafs signed Roman Polak to a $2.25M contract last month, did they do it with the intention of having him play some or all of the 2016-17 NHL season with the Toronto Marlies? The question seems silly. Why would you sign a player to a $2.25M NHL contract if you wanted him to play for your minor league affiliate? I admit that it is not the most likely scenario. No team that I can think of has ever done something like it. The Leafs probably intend for him to be an NHL player. And yet there are a few pieces of evidence that hint at the possibility that the question might not be as bizarre as it initially seems.
August 13 2016 09:44AM
Photo Credit: Brad Rempel/USA TODAY SPORTS
Back in 2014, I wrote an article about Randy Carlyle's effect on Corsi for players on the Toronto Maple Leafs. It was the end of Carlyle's second full season behind the bench after taking over for Ron Wilson part-way, and it seemed like a good time to reflect on how the coaching change had affected possession. The conclusion was stark: virtually every player who played for both coaches on the Leafs saw their Corsi fall, usually precipitously, after Carlyle replaced Wilson. The effect was so strong it could be seen mid-season the year both men coached the Leafs for part of the season.
The Leafs have now finished their first full season with Mike Babcock behind the bench, roughly a year and a half after Toronto decided it was time to move on from the Carlyle era. Since we've now got another coaching change to look at, I thought it would be a good time to revisit the idea and see if the Carlyle effect is apparent in reverse.
August 01 2016 03:11PM
Photo Credit: Christian Bonin/TSGPhoto.com
It's pretty evident that the Leafs are in a very tight situation in regard to the NHL's salary cap at the moment. As of the time I'm writing this, General Fanager has the Leafs at just $55,916 in cap space. CapFriendly, which uses a slightly different list of players, has the Leafs with a little bit more room: $435,000. Since the Leafs still need to sign a back-up goalie, that's obviously not a great place to be in. But both cap sites are actually over-estimating how much space the Leafs have left, and that's because of the way that rookie bonuses work.
A couple of days ago Jeff Veillette listed all of the possible bonuses that the Leafs might have to pay out over the next couple of seasons. There are 15 players under contract to the Leafs who have the potential to hit performance bonuses next season. However, many of them will play few or even no minutes for Toronto in 2016-17, so we don't need to take account of all of them. But if we add up all of the players who are likely to make the opening night roster, the potential damage from bonuses is still pretty large.
July 29 2016 07:00AM
Martin Marincin is the last remaining Toronto Maple Leaf with an arbitration hearing scheduled. Peter Holland and Frank Corrado both signed short-term contracts with the team shortly before their arbitration dates, while Marincin is set for Tuesday, August 2. Before Holland's hearing, I took a shot at guessing what his AAV might wind up being based on the contracts signed by players with similar statistics over the previous few seasons. Holland ended up signing well below my guess, but I think the general method is still sound (it's similar to how arbitrators make their decisions), so I'm going to make an attempt at estimating Marincin's next contract value in this post.
July 18 2016 07:30AM
The Toronto Maple Leafs currently have five restricted free agents who still need contracts before the season starts. Two of them are coming off entry-level contracts and do not have arbitration rights: Josh Leivo and Connor Carrick. The other three have all filed for arbitration: Peter Holland, Martin Marincin, and Frank Corrado. The most interesting of those, to me, is Peter Holland. Holland was brought to Toronto in November 2013 when a slew of injuries left the Leafs without a sufficient number of NHL centres. The trade cost the Leafs 2nd and 7th round draft picks, as well as defensive prospect Jesse Blacker. Holland has played well for the Leafs offensively but struggled to earn ice time, never breaking 15 minutes of TOI any of his three seasons with the team.
With Holland's arbitration date just a week away, I thought it would be interesting to see what comparable players had signed for in recent seasons. But before jumping into that list, let's take a look at what kind of player the Leafs have.