February 04 2013 03:42PM
Hockey fans familiar with the work of Hockey Prospectus' Rob Vollman may recognize the "Player Usage Chart", which is an excellent way to visualize the way players in a system are being used, and how successful they are.
Below the jump, I have an early season look at the Toronto Maple Leafs' chart. Even though the season is but eight games old, a couple of things popped out at me. The horizontal axis of the chart represents the percentage of times a player started in the offensive zone relative to the defensive zone. The vertical axis of the chart represents the quality of competition a player has faced by Behind The Net's Corsi Rel QoC measure. Finally, a players' circle and its respective colour show how successful a player is at his role.
February 04 2013 10:11AM
Photo via Gregg Forwerck/NHLInteractive
The Toronto Maple Leafs suffered an off-ice defeat on the weekend, adding another body to the swelling pool of key injured players that has left the club shorthanded of a few of its good players. First it was Joffrey Lupul, then Clarke MacArthur, and now Carl Gunnarrson is on the shelf with a lower-body injury and has no return timetable.
While Lupul and MacArthur's injuries were tough, albeit the Leafs have been able to replace them with the production of both Matt Frattin and James van Riemsdyk early on in the season, Gunnarsson's injury presents a different challenge. Toronto isn't exactly a team with a terrifying top six, and Gunnarsson has arguably been the Leafs' best defenceman early on, with a +4.51 Corsi rate per 60 minutes and ranked third on defence in Quality of Competition.
February 03 2013 12:01PM
It's better than losing 8-0, right?
February 03 2013 10:31AM
Trade talk, draft talk, and the early season's whipping boys! All that and more after the jump!
February 02 2013 09:11PM
Photo via Abelimages/NHLInteractive
Midway through the third period, I asked Leafs fans over Twitter if a 1-0 loss to the Boston Bruins would be considered a positive based on what happened last season.
They answered with a resounding yes, which says something both about the expectations Maple Leafs fans have and how badly things fell apart last year with the team's defence and the goaltending. A cute CBC graphic during Saturday night's game showed a 6-0 record for the Bruins over the Leafs last year and the aggregate goal tally was 36-10.
I'm not particularly convinced that the 2013 version of the Maple Leafs are a hockey team that can make the playoffs without a significant amount of luck. I am closer to being convinced that James Reimer may very well be "the guy". He gets tagged with an 'L' tonight, but kept the game close and winnable for his skaters, in a 1-0 defeat to the 2011 Stanley Cup champs.