August 13 2012 07:02AM
Xs and Os from The Backhand Shelf's Whiteboard section
If you've been reading this blog all summer, you'd probably be aware that I'm not too optimistic about the Leafs' chances next season. It's not that I think the team lacks leadership and stability and the character required to win, I just don't think the team has enough talented players to roll out a competent top nine forward group and top four defence. There are some good pieces there, but overall, the team needs to focus its efforts on improving the high-end skaters.
The Leafs haven't gotten expressly worse this offseason and I think generally Brian Burke has done a good job in a vacuum with the limited assets. The acquisition of James van Riemsdyk was a very good one, but the team still has some major holes. Van Riemsdyk is a good hockey player, but he won't necessarily help the Leafs in their most pressing issue: the fact the team is a bottom-third team in puck possession.
August 12 2012 12:12PM
McKegg warms up for Team Irish wearing number 74.
Saturday afternoon, I caught up with Greg McKegg in Lucan, Ontario, where he was playing in a charity game for Lucan Minor Hockey. The event was spearheaded by Logan Couture, and brought together a mix of hockey players from across North America.
August 11 2012 11:38AM
Imagine if you traded a potential top six centre-man and a potential top four defenseman for a guy who was a year and a half removed from scoring 27 goals on a 16.27 shooting percentage. That might even be a bad enough trade to get yourself a sarcastic shout-out in a certain blogger's footnote.
You all know who I'm talking about, of course. I'm talking about Cliff Fletcher's magical Alex Steen and Carlo Colaiacovo for Lee Stempniak trade. And yes, if you're wondering, it was a bad enough trade to get a sarcastic shout-out in a certain blogger's footnote.
With Alex Steen signed to a sickeningly amazing contract for the next two years and Lee Stempniak being a bad hockey player who, for some reason, can double his career shooting percentage for stretches (only when he's not playing with the Leafs though) there is only one player from this deal to wonder about.
This brings me to my next UFA spotlight, follow me over the jump to find out who it is.
August 10 2012 02:23PM
In this edition we covered all things tracking with an expert panel on the subject: Neil Greenberg from the Washington Post and ESPN Insider, Geoff Detweiller of Broad Street Hockey, Eric T. of BSH and NHLnumbers and our own tracking addict Corey S. We went over Eric's article on the link between scoring chances and shot differential and what it means for scoring-chance tracking, Geoff and Eric's very promising project tracking zone entries, tracking zone exits and what the future holds for tracking/advanced stats.
August 10 2012 01:58PM
Our favourite thing to do on Friday is to post data dumps, because our market research has showed it's always great to read a bunch of numbers on a Friday afternoon. We're getting to that today, shortly.
I'm sure the Toronto Marlies have trouble finding a fanbase in Toronto simply because there's very limited data that gets published online so we can compare and argue about these players (sure, that's the reason) but today we're going to do something different, estimating the quality of competition and quality of teammate rates of regular Marlies players to see where our favourite Leafs prospects stack up.