July 13 2012 09:09AM
I wrote a post for the Backhand Shelf this morning that examined the role of the average fighter. I concluded that many regular players in the NHL who accrued a lot of fights also had a specific role on their team. As it happens, Mike Brown had 10 fights with the Maple Leafs last season, but I couldn't speficially determine his role from the advanced stats without some sort of context.
Brown has 19 fights in two seasons with the Leafs, with a record, according to the voters on hockeyfights.net, of 9-5-5. It's a pretty good win percentage, but that hasn't helped the Leafs closer to a playoff spot, nor has it prevented the Leafs' best forwards from getting hit and taken advantage of for their small size.
To take a line from Office Space, "what would you say, you do here"?
July 12 2012 09:09AM
Bit of a media blitz in the last 12 hours relating to the possibility of James van Riemsdyk playing at centre between Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul:
The major takeaway from van Riemsdyk's initial meeting with Maple Leafs beat writers was, indeed, that JvR is "definitely excited" about the possibility and "it's a great opportunity for him".
The National Post, and both the Toronto Star and Toronto Sun made that the major focus on their reports. Naturally, it's the big story, but does JvR really fit into the centreman position on this team?
July 11 2012 09:18AM
Nikolai Kulemin has a difficult task ahead. It's going to be convincing fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs that he can be more than a seven-goal scorer.
That's all Kulemin had last season. A year after a career campaign where the silent Russian notched 30, he came back down to earth in a big way and now faces a tiring restricted free agency battle.
He's an interesting case, his last two years marked with two extremes.
July 10 2012 12:10PM
One thing that gets me when I'm mocking up lines for next season is I always seem to forget about Tim Connolly. There's just a lot of clutter in this lineup, and Connolly didn't have a particularly good campaign so he's easily forgettable.
Connolly's boxcar numbers are pretty lacking: he had just 13 goals and 36 points in 70 games this season, playing as a hybrid first-and-third line centreman, and clearly wasn't the answer to the Phil Kessel centreman riddle, splitting much of his time with Tyler Bozak.
He was signed to a low-risk two-year deal, so this is his last season with the $4.75M cap hit that is probably overpriced for the 31-year old. What should we expect?
July 09 2012 07:18PM
As per Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star, the Toronto Maple Leafs have re-signed defenceman Korbinian Holzer to a one-year deal and filed for arbitration on winger Nikolay Kulemin. [Toronto Star]
With an obvious impasse in the Kulemin case, arbitration may be the right move for a player who is coming off a percentage-stained season. Kulemin scored just seven goals in 70 games after a 30-goal season the year prior, shooting just 6.5%, an obvious career-low.
As for Holzer, his strong play with the Toronto Marlies this season earned him a one-way contract.