Who should play with Kessel and Bozak?

Blake Murphy
August 11 2013 11:19AM

Like it or not, there's a strong chance that the Toronto Maple Leafs enter 2013-14 with Tyler Bozak manning the pivot on the top line alongside Phil Kessel. The Leafs Nation has beaten to death why that's not the optimal situation, but it's high time the focus turns to making the best out of a bad situation.

So, if Bozak and Kessel are on the top unit, who should be the winger alongside them?

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The Steve Dangle Podcast - August 8, 2013 - #Confirmed

Steve Dangle
August 08 2013 08:37PM

In this episode, the boys stumble upon a tip that some NHL players used to regularly use steroids. They also hatch a plan to buy Panthers season seats, and pick a KHL team to be loyal to.

It's up on iTunes right here!

And if you prefer SoundCloud, here it is:

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Rob Vollman's Hockey Abstract

Cam Charron
August 07 2013 04:31AM

The Ottawa Senators will be the best team in the league, the Toronto Maple Leafs were the luckiest in the league last season, Alexander Mogilny is Steven Stamkos' closest historical match and Toronto is expected to be 28th in the league next season.

This is all buried within Rob Vollman's first self-published Hockey Abstract, available in print at Amazon or as a .pdf. No e-book version is available, but if you have a tablet or an e-reader that's comfortable loading .pdf files, you'll be fine. Vollman says the novella isn't a textbook, and it makes for a much easier read than anticipated, simply attacking the same problems in a different way rather than attempting to write a treatise between stat-oriented and viewing-oriented hockey fans.

Among the questions answered: "Who is the best defensive player?" "Who is the best goalie?" It's not anything groundbreaking in that regard, and fans who have been reading Vollman's work (he's a major player in the hockey analytics blogosphere) won't be blown away by too much new data, but it's a good reference point with how to attack these problems with the data we have in 2013. Hockey Prospectus' proprietary GVT "Goals Versus Threshold" ranking is leaned on heavily here, as is data from BehindTheNet.ca and HockeyReference.

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If there were no salary cap, Franson and Kadri would be under contract

Cam Charron
August 06 2013 06:09AM

-via Twitter.com's @GraphicComments

The second buy-out window for the Toronto Maple Leafs came and went, and it's good to see that Dave Nonis did not use it to use it on John-Michael Liles. He had the opportunity to give his team the short-term cap relief necessary to have the space to easily re-sign Cody Franson and Nazem Kadri, but at a severe price to the future.

So that didn't happen, but Al Strachan, the ex-writer sounding off on Gary Bettman last night, used an odd excuse to explain why Nonis has yet to up the Leafs' second best scorer and top defensive scorer from last season: it's all the cap's fault.

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Bad Signing Loses Primary Reasoning

Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
August 03 2013 10:45AM

There's a grocery list of reasons to not like Tyler Bozak being in Toronto for five more years at 4.2 million dollars per. He's nearly incapable of scoring without Phil Kessel, the penalty kill improved when he was given fewer minutes, his possession stats below average, his faceoff advantage is negligible at best, he's the least productive player on his line by a mile, he's the least productive top-end faceoff taker in the league, he quantifiably has less chemistry with Kessel than the bulk of the competing Leafs centres over the years and several defencemen, and he cut his hair. I could keep going, but that's for another day.

Lets look on the bright side today. They kept Phil Kessel's best friend! After all, it doesn't matter how good you are if you keep the star player happy, right? Pay the man what he wants and let objectively better players go to stay under the salary cap. You're happy to have your best friend on the team back, right Phil? 

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