The State of the Leafs - what do we have here, exactly?

  1. zeke
    With the pre-playoff break, I wanted to delve down and try to see exactly what we have here. I'm going to look both at this year's stats alone and the past 2yrs stats together to try and get a clear picture of what our players actually are. These are all the stats that I've learned to depend on as the most useful and accurate ones to assess hockey performance.

    This is my best assessment of the roster we have - and I'd love to hear your guys' own assessments as well.

    Feel free to add your own analysis or opinions or disagreements or clarifications or preferred stats.

    Letter Grades qoc = Quality of Competition measured by opponents' time on ice, Converted into Letter Grades for simplicity
    p/60 = points per 60 minutes
    p1/60 = primary points per 60 minutes
    CF% = Corsi For Percentage (i.e. shot attempts for percentage)
    xGF% = Expected Goals For Percentage (i.e. shot attempt percentage adjusted for shot quality) - this stat is already adjusted for zone deployment and game score
    In brackets = CF% and xGF% relative to team

    The first group of stats are Even Strength Stats, and I've added in special teams stats for the players with significant time there.

    The Franchise - Auston Matthews

    1YR: 62gms, 15:57 (A+ qoc), 3.03p/60, 2.71p1/60, 50.9cf% (+0.4), 53.3xgf% (+2.9) --- PP 2:08, 5.89p/60, 3.63p1/60
    2YR: 144gms, 15:30 (A- qoc), 2.59p/60, 2.34p1/60, 51.3cf% (+0.7), 52.6xgf% (+2.2) --- PP 2:19, 6.29p/60, 4.49p1/60

    Don't listen to anyone say he's not elite. Don't worry about his raw point totals. He's elite. He's super elite. He's unbelievable.

    ES Total Points per 60min: 1.McDavid 3.30, 2.Marchand 3.13, 3.MacKinnon 3.07, 4.Matthews 3.03, 5.Barzal 2.95
    ES Primary Points per 60: 1.Matthews 2.71, 2.MacKinnon 2.48, 3.Marchand 2.44, 4.McDavid 2.43, 5.Malkin 2.26

    Offensively, he is right there with anyone in the league. Anyone. And he does this against top-tier quality of competition (unlike guys like Malkin and Barzal there).

    And even the sample-size PP blip this year, after being elite on the PP last year, was almost erased with a little hot streak at the end there. I would look more at the 2yr PP stats than the 1yr PP stats, just for sample size.

    We have our franchise superstar.

    The Other Core 3 Forwards - Kadri, Willy, Mitch

    1 Year

    Kadri: 80gms, 14:39 (A qoc), 1.83p/60, 1.45p1/60, 50.0cf% (-1.2), 48.3xgf% (-4.0) -------- PP 2:05, 6.94p/60, 5.84p1/60
    Nylander: 82gms, 14:38 (A- qoc), 2.42p/60, 1.86p1/60, 51.4cf% (+0.9), 51.1xgf% (+0.0) - PP 2:01, 4.39p/60, 4.02p1/60
    Marner: 82gms, 14:09 (B qoc), 1.94p/60, 1.40p1/60, 52.1cf% (+1.9), 53.6xgf% (+3.5) ---- PP 2:11, 8.40p/60, 6.05p1/60

    2 year

    Kadri: 162gms, 14:30 (A qoc), 1.96p/60, 1.51p1/60, 51.2cf% (+0.5), 50.9xgf% (-0.3) -------- PP 2:08, 6.33p/60, 5.27p1/60
    Nylander: 163gms, 14:09 (B+ qoc), 2.14p/60, 1.55p1/60, 52.1cf% (+1.8), 51.9xgf% (+1.6) - PP 2:11, 6.59p/60, 5.57p1/60
    Marner: 159gms, 14:13 (B qoc), 2.08p/60, 1.53p1/60, 50.9cf% (+0.1), 50.9xgf% (+0.1) ----- PP 2:17, 7.49p/60, 5.16p1/60

    Three guys producing like legit 1st liners, and either holding their own possession wise against elite competition or dominating against medium competition. Willy may have separated himself from the other two at even strength this year, though Matthews helps him out there. Looking at the 2yr PP numbers, all three are similarly dominant on the PP.

    Of course, Mitch and Willy doing this as rooks/sophs is more impressive than Naz doing it in his prime, but at the moment, nobody should sleep on just how good Kadri is.

    Complementary Forwards - Worker Bee Group

    1 year

    Marleau: 82gms, 14:35 (A qoc), 1.57p/60, 1.20p1/60, 50.4cf% (-0.5), 48.1xgf% (-4.2) --- PP 1:59, 3.35p/60, 2.60p1/60
    Hyman: 82gms, 14:33 (A qoc), 1.73p/60, 1.47p1/60, 50.5cf% (-0.3), 52.5xgf% (+2.2) --- PK 2:39

    2 year

    Marleau: 164gms, 14:19 (A- qoc), 1.57p/60, 1.25p1/60, 51.0cf% (-0.2), 50.5xgf% (-1.5) --- PP 2:30, 3.59p/60, 2.24p1/60
    Hyman: 164gms, 14:08 (A- qoc), 1.52p/60, 1.23p1/60, 51.2cf% (+0.5), 52.5xgf% (+2.1) --- PK 2:43

    2 guys with speed and grit, both who are better called "3rd liners", but both who are performing perfectly in complementary top-6 roles. Both are playing against elite competition and holding their own possession wise. Both have produced at a solid 3rd line level, though Hyman has bumped that up to 2nd line level this year (again, though, that's aided by the massive improvement in Matthews and Willy there).

    Marleau is no longer effective on the PP though, and ideally would be replaced there. Hyman though is our top PK guy, and probably one of the better PK guys around.

    Complementary Forwards - Depth Scoring Group

    1 year

    Bozak: 81gms, 13:26 (C- qoc), 1.72p/60, 1.26p1/60, 52.4cf% (+2.4), 55.2xgf% (+5.5) ---- PP 2:11, 4.10p/60, 3.08p1/60
    VanRyk: 81gms, 12:35 (C- qoc), 1.84p/60, 1.59p1/60, 54.0cf% (+4.4), 56.0xgf% (+6.6) -- PP 2:16, 6.22p/60, 5.24p1/60

    2 year

    Bozak: 159gms, 13:42 (C+ qoc), 1.90p/60, 1.45p1/60, 51.7cf% (+1.1), 51.7xgf% (+0.9) --- PP 2:16, 5.02p/60, 3.68p1/60
    VanRyk: 163gms, 13:01 (C+ qoc), 2.13p/60, 1.72p1/60, 52.5cf% (+2.3), 52.7xgf% (+2.4) - PP 2:20, 6.01p/60, 4.59p1/60

    2 quality depth scorers who dominate possession more and more the easier their competition gets, but more than hold their own possession wise against other 3rd line competition. JVR is a good step better than Bozak across the board here - but Bozak is no slouch for this role, either.

    The Battle for the Bottom Spots - Veteran Group

    1 year

    Plekanec: 77gms, 12:59 (B- qoc), 1.30p/60, 1.06p1/60, 52.1cf% (+0.7), 56.5xgf% (+4.2) - PK 1:58
    Komarov: 74gms, 12:30 (B qoc), 0.67p/60, 0.40p1/60, 46.7cf% (-4.7), 47.0xgf% (-5.3) --- PP 0:41, 3.57p/60, 2.38p1/60 -- PK 2:34
    Moore: 50gms, 9:01 (F qoc), 1.34p/60, 0.94p1/60, 50.9cf% (+0.4), 49.2xgf% (-2.2) ------- PK 1:13
    Martin: 50gms, 7:58 (F qoc), 1.85p/60, 1.39p1/60, 49.8cf% (-0.9), 48.0xgf% (-5.3)

    2 years

    Plekanec: 155gms, 13:27 (B qoc), 1.18p/60, 0.89p1/60, 53.2cf% (+1.2), 54.7xgf% (+2.3) - PK 1:58
    Komarov: 156gms, 12:41 (A- qoc), 0.90p/60, 0.62p1/60, 48.9cf% (-2.3), 49.0xgf% (-2.6) - PP 1:24, 3.55p/60, 2.73p1/60 -- PK 2:21
    Moore: 132gms, 10:05 (D qoc), 1.28p/60, 0.87p1/60, 50.0cf% (-3.7), 49.8xgf% (-4.3) ----- PK 1:41
    Martin: 132gms, 8:19 (F qoc), 1.16p/60, 0.88p1/60, 49.4cf% (-1.7), 49.4xgf% (-2.6)

    So 4 vets here, all producing like 4th liners.

    Moore and Martin can barely hold their own possession wise, even against as soft competition as possible, and both are deservedly out of the lineup for good now. They're not NHL material at this point.

    Plekanec' production is strictly 4th line at this point, but unlike most 4th liners, this is a guy who is still more than holding his own possession wise even against 2nd line competition. And he's still a key PK guy as well.

    This guy is a luxury to have as a 4th line C and is the reason we now don't have to hold our breath everytime the 4th line is out on the ice.

    Uncle Leo - well, sadly, this seems to be what it looks like to see a player fall off the cliff. Last year he was actually solidly effective against elite competition, even if his production was poor. This year, though, he has fallen apart completely. Not only was he useless in his old role this year, but the demotion to the much easier 4th line role hasn't helped him even a little bit. He's still getting buried possession wise and his production is, well, embarassing. Funny enough, though, his special teams work actually hasn't been bad. On the PP he's been no worse than the other guys competing for that spot - Marleau, Brown, etc. And he's still relied on as a key PK guy - though who knows if he's actually the best guy for that role anymore?

    From this group, imo, what we're looking at is - Pleks is a very good 4th liner, Martin and Moore aren't NHL material, while Leo is borderline at best with PK work and character being the only thing giving him an argument to stay in.

    The Battle for the Bottom Spots - Kids Group

    1 Year

    Brown: 82gms, 12:00 (C+ qoc), 1.39p/60, 1.14p1/60, 50.0cf% (-0.9), 49.7xgf% (-1.7) ------ PP 1:10, 1.27p/60, 1.27p1/60 --- PK 1:49
    Kapanen: 38gms, 10:08 (D- qoc), 1.11p/60, 0.95p1/60, 52.4cf% (+1.5), 52.8xgf% (+2.7) --- PK 1:04
    Leivo: 16gms, 8:41 (F qoc), 1.77p/60, 0.88p1/60, 48.3cf% (+0.9), 50.3xgf% (+6.4) ---------- PP 1:52, 0.00p/60, 0.00p1/60
    Johnsson: 9gms, 9:41 (D qoc), 1.42p/60, 1.42p1/60, 59.7cf% (+6.1), 59.2xgf% (+7.7) ------ PP 1:17, 5.17p/60, 0.00p1/60 --- PK 0:42

    2 Years

    Brown: 164gms, 12:29 (B qoc), 1.42p/60, 1.17p1/60, 50.4cf% (-0.5), 49.5xgf% (-1.9) ------- PP 1:11, 2.47p/60, 1.85p1/60 --- PK 1:54
    Kapanen: 46gms, 9:58 (D- qoc), 1.06p/60, 0.93p1/60, 52.5cf% (+1.1), 52.2xgf% (+1.8) ---- PK 1:08
    Leivo: 29gms, 9:34 (D qoc), 2.42p/60, 1.76p1/60, 52.6cf% (+3.0), 58.9xgf% (+12.6) -------- PP 1:53, 3.28p/60, 2.19p1/60
    Johnsson: 9gms, 9:41 (D qoc), 1.42p/60, 1.42p1/60, 59.7cf% (+6.1), 59.2xgf% (+7.7) ------ PP 1:17, 5.17p/60, 0.00p1/60 --- PK 0:42

    It was tough to include Brown in this group but at this point I think we have to. IMO, he's not clearly better than the other kids, and the other kids could all play that 3rd line spot instead of him.

    But Brown doesn't suck - it's just that his production has stagnated at pure 3rd line level offense, and his PP production has been just not good enough. But he has almost held his own against strong 3rd line / solid 2nd line competition so far, and is a key PK guy. Right now I would call him just a good versatile 3rd liner - noting though that on this deep team, that might mean he actually should be on the 4th line.

    The other three kids it's much harder to suss out - both because they've received the easiest competition possible, and because their sample size is small. That being said, all three have been good to very good possession players so far, and they've all shown the ability to produce, too. Impossible to draw any conclusions on these guys but for me they have all looked like NHLers and could all be in the lineup right now - and higher than just on the 4th line, too.

    The #1 Dman - Morgan Reilly

    1 Year: 76gms, 18:15 (A qoc), 1.04p/60, 0.82p1/60, 51.5cf% (+1.8), 50.5xgf% (-0.5) ---- PP 2:11, 8.82p/60, 3.31p1/60 --- PK 1:08
    2 Years: 152gms, 18:32 (A qoc), 0.97p/60, 0.75p1/60, 51.3cf% (+1.0), 50.3xgf% (-0.9) -- PP 1:34, 7.39p/60, 3.06p1/60 --- PK 1:45

    The kid is a legit #1.

    Facing some of the toughest competition in the league (top-5 in hockey the last 2yrs), he is more than holding his own possession wise, and is producing at a legit top-pair level again. This year, finally given real PP minutes, he's shown that his impressive per 60 PP numbers last year were no fluke - and he's been one of the elite PP producers per minute in the league again this year. His PK usage has dropped this year, because Babs loves playing Hainsey/Polak/Zaitsev the entire PP.....but i'm not sure that's actually a good idea (just like his tiny PP minutes last year seemed silly, too).

    Either way, he's not quite a Norris contender yet, but he's a legit #1 all the way.

    The Enigma - Jake Gardiner

    1 Year: 82gms, 20:04 (B+ qoc), 1.21p/60, 0.76p1/60, 50.3cf% (-0.8), 51.2xgf% (+0.2) --- PP 2:04, 5.33p/60, 2.49p1/60
    2 Years: 164gms, 19:22 (B qoc), 1.13p/60, 0.72p1/60, 51.2cf% (+0.5), 51.4xgf% (+0.6) - PP 2:18, 4.29p/60, 1.59p1/60

    As I suspected, Jake's impressive possession numbers from previous year, when the analytics guys called him a #1 dman, have faded as his quality of competition has increased. This year he's finally received strong 2nd pair quality competition and is now only holding his own possession wise, unlike when he dominated softer competition. That being said, his even strength production continues to be excellent, top pair quality stuff, and his PP production is solid, too.

    What is Jake Gardiner? I dunno. I call him a wildly inconsistent but overall good puck moving 2nd pair dman. I'm not sure I feel comfortable calling him a top pair guy.

    The Abused Top-4 guys - Hainsey and Zaitsev

    1 Year

    Hainsey: 80gms, 17:44 (A+ qoc), 0.70p/60, 0.39p1/60, 48.4cf% (-3.1), 49.5xgf% (-2.2) --- PK 3:58
    Zaitsev: 60gms, 19:02 (B qoc), 0.65p/60, 0.54p1/60, 48.2cf% (-3.7), 50.2xgf% (-1.3) ----- PK 2:56 ----- PP 1:15, 3.76p/60, 0.68p1/60

    2 Years

    Hainsey: 152gms, 18:15 (A- qoc), 0.62p/60, 0.40p1/60, 48.8cf% (-2.3), 50.9xgf% (+0.2) -- PK 3:31
    Zaitsev: 142gms, 18:36 (A- qoc), 0.75p/60, 0.51p1/60, 49.4cf% (-2.2), 49.5xgf% (-2.3) --- PK 2:14

    So here's two guys who are just getting leaned on too hard.

    Hainsey is facing the toughest quality of competition of any dman in hockey this year - I like Hainsey, but that's just too much. He's a guy that should be used in a defensive 2nd pair role, not as an elite shutdown guy. And even his PK usage is a bit silly - he's very good there, but shouldn't be playing all PK every PK.

    Zaitsev is one of the guys who had a legit sophomore slump this year. Last year he had the excuse of facing elite competition, but this year he struggled even worse despite only facing 2nd pair quality of competition. He has shown signs of bouncing back since he came back from injury but still is a big concern. He hasn't been legit top-4 quality this year. I'm still bullish on Zaitsev but at the moment he'd probably best fit in a bottom pair role.

    I still like both these guys but right now I think they're both playing one pairing too high. (Though I expect Zaitsev to be better than that going forward).

    The Bottom Pair guys

    1 Year

    Dermott: 37gms, 15:31 (D+ qoc), 1.17p/60, 0.53p1/60, 56.8cf% (+7.2), 56.4xgf% (+7.4)
    Polak: 54gms, 15:07 (D+ qoc), 0.82p/60, 0.45p1/60, 49.5cf% (-0.4), 50.0xgf% (-0.8) ------- PK 2:30
    Carrick: 47gms, 14:47 (D qoc), 0.71p/60, 0.35p1/60, 53.5cf% (+2.6), 54.88xgf% (+5.4)

    2 Years

    Dermott: 37gms, 15:31 (D+ qoc), 1.17p/60, 0.53p1/60, 56.8cf% (+7.2), 56.4xgf% (+7.4)
    Polak: 129gms, 15:03 (C- qoc), 0.63p/60, 0.38p1/60, 49.2cf% (-1.9), 50.5xgf% (-0.5) ------ PK 2:44
    Carrick: 114gms, 15:12 (C- qoc), 0.53p/60, 0.32p1/60, 52.9cf% (+1.7), 53.2xgf% (+3.0)

    A little tough to judge these guys due to their soft competition, but we can still see some things.

    Dermott is legit dominating that soft usage. His possession is through the roof, and seems to clearly show that he deserves a promotion up the lineup. I'm not quite as impressed by his offense though - the primary points should give us some pause when looking at his impressive overall point production.

    As for the other two, there's no 2 ways about it - Carrick is a flat out better even strength player than Polak, by a good margin. Carrick still looks like a very good bottom pair guy with some 2nd pair potential, while Polak just looks like a passable bottom pair guy. Polak does seem to be a legit good PK guy, though, and for the #6 spot, that might be enough for him to "deserve" that last spot. But I'm not sure it's actually the best choice still.

    I honestly think it might be a good idea to put Dermott up with Rielly on the top pair, and Hainsey with jake on the 2nd pair. Even though it's probably too late to do that. But don't be surprised, when we get in a tough spot in the playoffs, to see Babcock do exactly this.

    The #1 Goalie

    Freddy Career: .918sv%
    Freddy w/ANA: .918sv%
    Freddy w/TOR: .918sv%

    Freddy This Yr: 66gms, .918sv%
    Freddy Last Yr: 66gms, .918sv%

    You get the idea.

    Freddy is a good solid workhorse legit above average #1 goalie. To win a cup, you always need your goalie to get hot, so hopefully Freddy gets hot at the right time this year.

    What is our Roster?

    Well, IMO, our roster is pretty much stacked. Franchise center supported by multiple 1st line quality guys behind him (including 2 who can play center), and with great enough depth that no matter what forward group we ice someone useful is probably sitting in the pressbox. On defense we have a legit #1 guy, 2 strong 2nd pair guys and 2 borderline 2nd pair guys, and a whole whack of guys to compete for the bottom pair spots. And behind it all sits a good strong #1 goalie.

    What are we missing? Well, for me, there's one obvious weakness. We could use one more reliable, dependable, legit Top-Pair Dman. That is the one piece we're missing. If we had that guy, then the rest of the defense would all fall into their roles perfectly.

    Next Up: How does this compare to TBay and Boston by all the very same metrics? (I'll get that done before the playoffs start I hope).

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