Leafs Nation Podcast
July 10 2012 11:47AM
A lot of questions remain unanswered for Leafs fans. will Roberto Luongo wind up in Toronto? Could Brian Burke stun us all and make an offer to Alexander Semin? We're impatient for moves to be made, and that's what a lot of the chatter revolves around today.
Of course, the thought of the demise of the Phoenix Coyotes (and the subsequent dispersal draft) could shake things up around the league, and armchair GMs are already circling like vultures.
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.
July 09 2012 12:39PM
For some time I have yet to figure out why Phil Kessel and Mikhail Grabovski don't see too much time together. I've posited the question before, and the common belief seems to be that you can't have two people carry the puck through the neutral zone. It represents the talents of both players, and that's that.
But I've grown a little skeptical of that theory. Grabovski is a play-driving centreman with scoring upside that Kessel, a speedy, talented winger with limited defensive qualities, needs to succeed. In 306 total minutes with Grabovski in three seasons, the Leafs have convincingly outshot their opponents, batting at a 55.9% possession rate. [Hockey Analysis]
Furthermore, if you check the "goals" link in the same link above, you'd find that Kessel and Grabovski are a +6 together, while Kessel is -18 without. I hesitate to use +/-, but the question I'd ask is "if Mikhail Grabovski and Phil Kessel are incompatible player types, why do they score so many goals when they're together on the ice?"
July 09 2012 10:43AM
Brian Burke seen here ruining the Toronto Maple Leafs, apparently.
For the second consecutive year Brian Burke spent July 1st away from the office. And for the second consecutive year he did not sign any terrible contracts for players who did not deserve them. I think the two are related.
July 09 2012 06:03AM
One of our NHL Numbers writers, Rob Pettapiece, made an excellent point last week. In the early days of baseball, before player production was boiled down to digestible statistics, it wasn't like managers were overlooking basic attributes a successful player has. The ability to get on base and to hit for power had always been sought after in baseball, even before Bill James. It was only after the release of Moneyball that fans started to see how wrong some teams were doing it.
It's the same thing in hockey. If you ask the average hockey fan or executive, they'll tell you (if they're giving you a straight answer) that the most important trait in a player is his ability to gain the zone and to create scoring chances. Perhaps they wouldn't phrase it in that way, but that is unequivocally the most important thing teams look for in their most important players. A lot of that is clouded. Some teams overvalue certain roles and, unfortunately, some players' ability to do simple things like gain the zone and create scoring chances.
The numbers - the "advanced" numbers we used - are just another way of expressing observation. In a way, it's proving something we already know.