September 30 2016 07:40PM
Photo Credit: Kevin Hoffman/USA TODAY SPORTS
Following up a disappointing shootout loss in St. Catharines, the Leafs went into Buffalo tonight and ran up the score against a similarly built Sabres team. There's many indications that the Sabres and Leafs' common development paths will lead them to be strong rivals, but tonight's game left no real indication of that.
Originally, this was to be Auston Matthews' Leafs debut, but unfortunately that was pushed back. Instead, the Leafs ran with a group featuring William Nylander and Mitch Marner, along with a steady mix of veterans and prospects.
September 18 2016 08:38AM
Recently, an hockey analytics conference was held at Rochester Institute of Technology (known as RITHAC). There were multiple very interesting presentations by smart and interesting people among the analytics community, nice enough to share their smart-ness with the rest of us SMRT people.
I want to focus today on the presentation made by Micah Black McCurdy on Gold Drafting, an oft-debated model for how to determine draft order. Specifically, I want to look at how it would have affected the Leafs' past drafts.
You can view the presentation slides here, but to summarize: the idea is that draft order is determined by the number of points a team earns after they've been eliminated from the playoffs. This, in theory, removes the incentive to build an intentionally bad team, as that team will get eclipsed in "gold points" by teams that are bad by circumstance and are still trying. Some may remember it was a theory proposed by Shane Doan earlier in the 2015-16 season, but the idea had been floated around hockey communities certainly before that.
September 04 2016 07:55AM
Recently, we finalized the rankings for our site's Top 20 Leafs Prospects. Review them from the top down here, starting with Auston Matthews. As you'll note, we had Mitch Marner at #2 and William Nylander at #3. I, however, did not.
My personal rankings had Nylander at 2 and Marner at 3 and I'd like to get into details as to why that is. I teased this analysis in my Nylander post so I apologize for taking this long to get it out here. I want to make absolutely sure that I'm aware the difference is very small. They're basically on the same pyramid tier. But I had to put one at 2 and this is why I made that Nylander.
September 01 2016 10:55AM
Today, a debate formed on Hockey Twitter regarding moves made by Dave Nonis. Specifically, which was the worst. TLN's own Drag Like Pull had this as his entry:
Probably Bozak, especially when you consider they chose him over Grabovski. https://t.co/WfvFkaM2jl— Draglikepull (@draglikepull) August 28, 2016
And, former TLN blogger and current member of The Blogger's Tribune, Tom Hunter, had this as a response:
For the last couple years Bozak at $4.2m is far better than Grabo at$5.5m. If you don't see that, you're dealing with some pretty sever bias— Tom Hunter (@PuckDontLie) August 28, 2016
This is clearly a tired debate. It happened 3 years ago, and I think it formed out of yearning for hockey to finally start. Nonetheless, I'd like to dig into it a bit and present why I think Grabovski is still a better hockey player than Bozak. And as follows, that the better move would have been to let Bozak walk and keep Grabovski, instead using a compliance buyout on him.
August 31 2016 07:00AM
William "Bill Ny" Nylander is the 3rd ranked player in this year's TLN Top 20 Prospects. Called by many the most skilled player in his draft year (which looks like it could prove to be true), the Leafs were ecstatic to select this young Swedish player, the son of former NHLer Michael Nylander. Since joining the Maple Leafs, Bill Ny has done nothing but impress.