September 12 2013 02:58PM
Hey, did you know that since the 2007-2008 season, Nazem Kadri's 2012-2013 season was the 9th highest points scored per 60 minutes among players with at least 40 games played? No fooling. The players ahead of him on that list are Sidney Crosby (thrice), Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Eric Staal, and Henrik and Daniel Sedin.
That's intense, and puts Kadri in some pretty good company among former MVP winners and scoring title winners. It is, of course, important to put into context that while Kadri's huge 2013 season was influenced in part by talent, luck had a role to play in it as well.
According to that behindthenet.ca, with Kadri on the ice, the Leafs took 22.3 shots per 60 minutes of play, and scored goals on 3.8 of those shots. That's a shooting percentage of 14.4%, the highest on the list of these players in the Top 20 (though Daniel Sedin's 2010 campaign is close).
September 11 2013 10:28PM
One of the most read posts in this website's history is titled "So, what happened to Paul Ranger?". That post went up last summer when a defenceman that had previously left the NHL at age 25 returned to hockey by signing with the Toronto Marlies. Turns out, so little had been written about Ranger that it jumped up to the top of Google search rankings, and it still gets hundreds of clicks per day. There's a lot of interest in Paul Ranger, and for good reason.
Ranger's NHL departure left a lot of questions, and they all seemed to go unanswered, and continue to do so. His departure and subsequent return is a bit of a mystery. Even with two of Canada's top storytellers attending Leafs' media day that coincided with the first day of training camp, Rangers refuses to go into specifics for why he left such a promising career with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
September 11 2013 07:07AM
"There hasn’t been a higher profile test case of hockey analytics condemnation of a team yet." - mc79hockey.com
Training camp for the Toronto Maple Leafs starts this morning, and for the first time in his nearly two-year long run as head coach of the team, Randy Carlyle is putting his own training camp together with a roster that's 58-strong. 59 once Cody Franson gets himself under contract.
New general manager Dave Nonis had one modus operandi this offseason, and that was to get the players under contract that Carlyle wanted to play with. Out are speedy and skilled players Mikhail Grabovski, Matt Frattin and Clarke MacArthur. In are bruising tough guys David Bolland and David Clarkson. The Leafs made the playoffs last season with Grabovski and MacArthur in a reduced role—no matter how good they can be or were in the past for the team, it was proven that they weren't important to the team winning.
September 10 2013 07:33PM
One day before camp, Nick Kypreos is the one to break the news:
That's a hell of a price for the Maple Leafs. Dave Nonis was stone cold during this negotiation. It got a little messy, but he did what he had to do, and there may, just may be space to get Cody Franson under contract with the money the Leafs have left to spend. Here's the official release from the club. Per Darren Dreger, the annual average value is $2.9-million, just slightly higher than Logan Couture's bridge deal that wound up being a bargain for the San Jose Sharks.
September 10 2013 09:27AM
The situation is very clear: the Toronto Maple Leafs don't have the salary cap space to sign both Nazem Kadri and Cody Franson unless they a) move some salary or b) Dave Nonis is secretly a wizard. Barring the latter option, it makes sense to explore the names of players it makes sense to move. The preference is John-Michael Liles, but I'm getting a little antsy seeing Nik Kulemin's name pop up ever so often. His name has been dangled as trade bait every day for the last God-Knows-When.
Kulemin is a most interesting player. While there's a bit of excitement for Mason Raymond joining the Leafs in training camp, Kulemin has been a 30-goal scorer more recently than Raymond has been a 25-goal scorer. Their games are different—Kulemin is a more physical player while Raymond's talents (before his injury) lay in puck-possession, controlling the game in the offensive zone, and playmaking.
He's worth $2.8-million this season, but is stuck behind an excellent contingent of top six wingers headed into training camp: Phil Kessel, Joffrey Lupul, David Clarkson and James van Riemsdyk. He's under contract for one more year and $2.8-million isn't what you want to pay a third liner in a cap crunch year. Let's explore. Yay.