May 31 2013 08:48AM
Here's a good question: What's Nazem Kadri worth?
Not in the sense of dollars and cents, but how long should the Toronto Maple Leafs choose to commit to their young centreman? In the latest Leaf Report podcast, James Mirtle and Jonas Siegel begin talking about Kadri at around the 20-minute mark, and James says that it could be a tough negotiation between the Leafs and Kadri and the likelihood of a contract holdout, in my view, is pretty high.
That's not a real good thing, and it increases the chance that Dave Nonis and the Leafs could sign somebody in the offseason as "Kadri insurance" in case this thing stretches well into October.
May 29 2013 11:34AM
Steve shared this bit from Kevin McGran on Twitter this morning. It was a mostly factual, albeit obvious, bit about how the Pittsburgh Penguins are so good because of their depth. Depth, moreso than top talent, is what drives team's success through the regular season and into the playoffs when too often blame for a team's elimination is placed squarely on one guy.
But then McGran started getting into goaltending. The stats community, I guess you could call us, have been pretty "anti"-Marc-Andre Fleury for quite some time now. Straight up, his save percentages aren't good enough to warrant the talk of him being an elite goalie. Jared Lunsford covered this to some extent in his Penguins preview at NHL Numbers from the from this fall.
May 28 2013 07:20PM
It's a little dull around here during the offseason, but we're exploring our boundaries with media other than writing. Steve of course has the excellent Maple Leafs montage from the 2013 season set to Adele's "Skyfall" which can be found here, and Cam was found on TSN 1050 Tuesday night with Jim Tatti and former Leaf Jeff O'Neill discussing a few of the upcoming issues facing the Maple Leafs this month including the draft, Tyler Bozak and Clarke MacArthur.
May 27 2013 02:58AM
The season is over, so the pickings are very slim for posts. We'll have some stuff later this week on the contract that the Leafs should give to Nazem Kadri. Meanwhile, Jeffler is digging around some team data in all the Maple Leafs games this year. Maybe we'll talk about the Eastern Conference Finals. Probably not, since people seem to think that because the Leafs were impressive against Boston, had they held on in Game 7 then they would have had as easy a time against the New York Rangers as the Bruins did.
The only major Leafs news out of the weekend was more Canucks-related. Vancouver fired their head coach of seven years Alain Vigneault, and a lot of names have been rumoured to be the replacement. One of them appears to be Dallas Eakins.
May 22 2013 10:27AM
Alex Burmistrov, via Wikimedia commons
Thomas Drance has a post up on Canucks Army this morning about the availability of players like Alex Burmistrov, Nino Niederreiter and Ryan Johansen. The Maple Leafs aren't in the same position, forward-wise, as Vancouver (meaning, Toronto has the ability to score goals on occasion) but it probably wouldn't be a bad thing to kick the tires on any of those three players.
I've been thinking about the success of the New York Islanders this season, how on a shoestring budget, they wrangled together not just a team that made the playoffs, but one that was also 11th in Corsi Tied. They slightly improved from last year's 17th from a team that needed good goaltending to make the playoffs to one that could survive even if the goalie was below average.
The Leafs were 29th in Corsi Tied this season. They performed much better in the playoffs, thanks to a blogger-approved, optimized lineup with Jake Gardiner given a prominent role and Nazem Kadri moving up to the first line centre position, as well as a strong two-way unit in Mikhail Grabovski, James van Riemsdyk and Nik Kulemin that excited a lot of commenters and commentators.
There's something about the Islanders' improvement that I think teams can learn from.