Our friend @67sound, who is going by the name Ian these days, I guess, posted some numbers to his Twitter account about the Leafs’ defensive inefficiencies up front. Here’s a bit of a data dump for reference.
Speaking of dumps, you’ll find a lot of Leafs go to Behind The Net and search forwards who have played 40 games that have given up the most goals. You’ll find Joffrey Lupul right at the top of the list. Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak also make the top ten. How could it be that the Leafs’ successful first line has given up so many goals? Well they give up a lot of shots, it isn’t just the goaltending.
For a bit of a “goaltending-independant +/-” I quickly tallied up the number of Leafs’ players shots for and against, and multiplied the number by the league average shooting percentage to get a more general look at +/- to compare with “actual” +/-. The results didn’t really show us more than we already know about this team:
Mikhail Grabovski is the best two-way forward on this team. In limited minutes, Mike Brown and Dave Steckel have kept shot counts relatively even, and they’ve suffered in the +/- department mostly due to poor goaltending behind them. Matt Lombardi and Tim Connolly are new-comers that haven’t worked out, and the top line bleeds shots against. Nazem Kadri has earned himself the benefit of percentages in his short time playing this season.
If you simply look at “shots against per 60” Lupul is the worst on the team among regular forwards (ahead of just Ryan Hamilton and Colton Orr) giving up 35.07 shots per 60 minutes of play at 5-on-5. Dave Steckel (25.52) gives up the least. Colby Armstrong and, oddly enough, Joey Crabb are okay by that measure as well.
Here are the defencemen:
There’s little to convince me that Luke Schenn is a real NHLer at this point, and he appears to be bringing down Jake Gardiner. The team’s numbers were apparently really bad in the games that Gardiner didn’t play because his relative numbers are quite good. John-Michael Liles looks to be better by this metric, but he has the worst PDO among defencemen. Him and Komisarek have been getting pretty unlucky, but they’re at least steady enough in their own end, apparently, giving up fewer shots, although, if you click the link above, they don’t play very tough minutes.
The bright spot is Carl Gunnarsson, who plays against toughs in rough zone time and there’s only about a 50-shot disparity there. That doesn’t line doesn’t scream “Norris Trophy” anytime soon, but at least it’s one guy that the Leafs can be sure about going forward.