July 15 2013 11:02AM
Something we'll start to notice this summer is that in roster projections like the one I had this morning, Tyler Biggs or Josh Leivo are going to be slotted in to make the team. This isn't a bad thing. There's a roster spot open and two equal players that are going to be challenging for it, both young players with a few games of pro experience to wind up on a depth spot on an NHL roster.
Leivo was taken with the 86th pick in the 2011 draft while the Leafs traded up to take Biggs in the same draft at No. 22. In doing so, they forfeited a high 2nd round selection to take a player with marginal offensive upside. In the video above, Tyler Biggs' comparable player is Colby Armstrong, a player that needed four years of AHL seasoning and became a marginally-good top six forward until becoming a replacement-level checking forward the day he turned 27.
July 15 2013 09:23AM
Right into the dog days of summer as the initial free agent frenzy appears to be over.
The best players still available in free agency are Tom Gilbert and Mikhail Grabovski. Since the Toronto Maple Leafs are forbidden from signing one of those players and don't have an awful lot of money left for the second, it's safe to say that any roster tweaks that appear between now and September 15th will be minor. Not that there's a problem with that, because the top six looks pretty good on paper, but because the Leafs didn't improve in the spots it needed to improve.
July 14 2013 09:40PM
Hey did you hear Ilya Kovalchuk did a thing? He sure did!
On the new Steve Dangle Podcast, Steve (that's me) and Adam talk about Kovalchuk, Bozak's quotes, Morgan Rielly, and Leo Komarov being my bestie.
Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
July 13 2013 09:10AM
Before I get into this post, let me start with one thing - if you're looking for a critical post about David Clarkson as a player for the Devils, or a potential player for the Leafs, this isn't it. If you're looking for somebody to break down how crazy the contract is, you'll want to read literally every other post written on a Maple Leafs site for the past week instead.
July 12 2013 01:30PM
I guess there's some room to be fair to Tyler Bozak. Tyler Dellow's been going through some zone faceoff data (I got my hands on some Leafs-specific zone data that I'll be rolling out this weekend) and it seems like Randy Carlyle's teams in particular are quite poor at puck possession. Dellow's been doing some great work at his website showing how the system can contribute to poor possession rates for top forwards. There's some indication that's been happening with Bozak.
Now, my opinions on Bozie are well-documented, but if you looked at his statistics relative to his own team, I think his collapse in shots for and against metrics aren't isolated on the Toronto Maple Leafs. The problem is that he's a key player in a system that's designed to give up shots on goal. While Randy Carlyle won a Stanley Cup, his Anaheim teams after that were never dominant again, and he missed the playoffs twice in the four years at the end of his term if you count 2012 as a year that the Ducks would have missed. They were 7-13-4 at the time.