Little late today. In all our talk about how great Jonathan Bernier has been this year for the Toronto Maple Leafs, can we really overlook what Ben Scrivens has done this season? Scrivens has a .937 save percentage on the year, leading the league among goalies with 1000 minutes of action. A night ago, he recorded a record 59-save shutout against the San Jose Sharks, giving him a .955 save percentage in his four Edmonton Oilers appearances so far.
So, yeah. The knock on trading for goaltenders isn’t that you’re trading for a bad goaltender, it’s that goaltenders are inherently hard to predict and you never know what you’re going to get. I like the Tampa Bay model of goaltending: pick up several mid-range, young goalies and hope one of them has a season like Ben Bishop, focusing resources on your forwards and defence. For years, the Maple Leafs kept failing when they’d try to bring in the designated starter, whether it be Andrew Raycroft, Vesa Toskala or Jonas Gustavsson. With a hit on Jonathan Bernier this year, it’s like the strategy has paid off, but that ignores that James Reimer, and unheralded guy that came up through the system, put up statistics like an above-average starter for a couple of years before Bernier’s arrival.
Point is, you just never know. The Florida Panthers have a .912 save rate with Tim Thomas in net this season, and an .889 when they don’t, despite Jakob Markstrom being regarded as a pretty hot prospect at one point. Florida are the opponent tonight.
|Corsi Close %||50.6% (14th)||43.1% (29th)|
|5v5 GF/60||2.25 (18th)||2.26 (17th)|
|5v5 GA/60||2.59 (25th)||2.45 (23rd)|
|5v5 Diff/60||-0.33 (24th)||-0.18 (18th)|
|PDO||98.9 (25th)||101.5 (6th)|
|5v4 GF/60||2.63 (30th)||7.69 (6th)|
|5v4 SF/60||40.4 (30th)||53.8 (9th)|
|4v5 GA/60||7.67 (29th)||6.91 (22nd)|
|4v5 SA/60||54.1 (21st)||62.0 (30th)|
|Penalty Differential||+7 (8th)||-11 (23rd)|
The Florida Panthers: a moderately-good even strength team beset by the worst powerplay in the league by just about every imaginable measure and the worst goaltending in the league when Tim Thomas isn’t in net. Despite their strong +7 penalty differential, the Panthers have the worst special teams goal differential in the NHL at minus-20, 12 goals worse than the 2nd worst team.
So yes, even in the crummy East, no surprise about where this team’s record is.
I still think the Leafs’ foundation is built on a house of cards, and we’ll have a better indication in a month or so if the goaltending can hold up like it has all season long.
James van Riemsdyk – Tyler Bozak – Phil Kessel
Joffrey Lupul – Nazem Kadri – Nikolai Kulemin
Mason Raymond – Peter Holland – Troy Bodie
Carter Ashton – Jay McClement – Colt Knorr
Carl Gunnarsson – Dion Phaneuf
Tim Gleason – Cody Franson
Jake Gardiner – Morgan Rielly
Still no changes. It’s been at least a week since the last injury or suspension, so Randy Carlyle’s been able to run with the same contingent of skaters for the last little while. Not denying it’s been successful.
Tomas Fleischmann – Nick Bjugstad – Scottie Upshall
Sean Bergenheim – Scott Gomez – Brad Boyes
Jonathan Huberdeau – Marcel Goc – Jesse Winchester
Tomas Kopecky – Drew Shore – Krys Barch
Brian Campbell – Tom Gilbert
Dylan Olsen – Ed Jovanovski
Dmitry Kulikov – Mike Weaver
Coach Peter Horacek has a decent forward core to work with, but no real gamebreaker. He also has one inherently unpronounceable name on each line.
Generally, whatever line Goc is centreing will handle the toughs and he’ll go out for faceoffs without his regular wingers. No line on the team gets decidedly sheltered minutes, although you’d expect Bergenheim to be in a bit more of a checking role than he is.
On D, Brian Campbell and Tom Gilbert are having fantastic seasons with 52.8% and 52.3% Corsi percentages, respectively. Captain Ed Jovanovski (that’s right…) is in a rare spit of health and will be taking over Erik Gudbranson’s usual spot on the second defensive pairing. For some reason Gudbranson is a healthy scratch, which seems like a curious decision, but, hey, I don’t make them. I just watch the games.
Left Wing Lock is telling me that Scott Clemmensen will be in net for Florida tonight and not former Maple Leafs killer-slash-total psychopath Tim Thomas. Bernier in net for the Leafs. I liked those nights in October and November where we’d be guessing all day on the starting goalie, but you hardly even have to check anymore. This is Jonathan Bernier’s team right now, and I’ll reluctantly accept that he’s been the team’s best player.
The Panthers and the Leafs tonight are on Sportsnet Ontario at 7:00 PM Eastern.