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Maple Leafs News and Views => Main Leafs Hockey Talk => Topic started by: herman on July 29, 2016, 04:56:03 PM

Title: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on July 29, 2016, 04:56:03 PM
Carrick > Marincin
I'm of the opinion that defensive structure is more teachable than offensive instincts.
Title: Re: Learning Defense
Post by: Coco-puffs on July 29, 2016, 05:18:58 PM
I'm not sure I follow why you'd expose the Righty over the Lefty?  The right side is definitely our biggest question mark moving forward, so keeping Carrick over Marincin makes more sense to me all else being equal.

To be honest I think both guys are so low-ceiling that issues of left/right should be secondary to just which player you think has more of a long term future.

Which is why I qualified my statement with all else being equal.  At this point, Carrick has a higher ceiling, but more risk/uncertainty.  Marincin is who he is IMO... defensively dependable, shot suppressing 4-6 defense-man with no offense to his game.  This season will go a long way to say who has the better long term future with the team.
Title: Re: Learning Defense
Post by: Nik the Trik on July 29, 2016, 05:42:53 PM
Carrick > Marincin
I'm of the opinion that defensive structure is more teachable than offensive instincts.

Doesn't that sort of suppose that playing defense is just a matter of structure rather than the same combination of structure, instincts and physical attributes that offense is?
Title: Re: Learning Defense
Post by: Tigger on July 29, 2016, 07:45:38 PM
I'd expose Marincin due to Carrick's offense and feisty play but the margin is not very wide right now.
Title: Re: Learning Defense
Post by: herman on July 29, 2016, 08:12:20 PM
Carrick > Marincin
I'm of the opinion that defensive structure is more teachable than offensive instincts.

Doesn't that sort of suppose that playing defense is just a matter of structure rather than the same combination of structure, instincts and physical attributes that offense is?

It's still an opinion I'm in the process of refining, so I appreciate your take on it, as well as anyone else's thoughts or experiences playing/coaching.

Offensive defensemen get paid more. Offensive defensemen get Norris votes. The league values two way play from the backend.

My thesis is that offensive instincts (in the realm of defensemen for this discussion) are more valuable because they are less replaceable by mere coaching (positioning, structure). I don't really have numbers for these as it is in the thoughts out loud stage.

Offensive success from a defenseman means things like zone entries, quarterbacking the offence from the blue line, and putting up points. Doing those things well, from what I've seen, requires creativity and skill on top of the instincts ingrained from coached positioning and structure. Structure and positioning is really only designed to breakdown the defending structure and generate attempts.

Defensive success would be breaking up transition plays, preventing zone entries, and preventing/fouling up shots on net. A lot of that can be accomplished by just being in the right place at the right time. Of course instinct and skills come into play here. Clearly some defenders are better at naturally forcing attackers to their backhand, or matching speeds to close the gaps without getting turnstiled.

What do you guys think?
Title: Re: Learning Defense
Post by: caveman on July 29, 2016, 08:56:53 PM
the current trend is to fast offensive d-men who join the attack regularly...it's worked well for some teams...
Title: Re: Learning Defense
Post by: Nik the Trik on July 30, 2016, 03:56:23 PM
It's still an opinion I'm in the process of refining, so I appreciate your take on it, as well as anyone else's thoughts or experiences playing/coaching.

Offensive defensemen get paid more. Offensive defensemen get Norris votes. The league values two way play from the backend.

I think that's indisputably true although it's not limited to defensemen. Putting the puck in the net, or the contributing to the puck going in the other team's net, is the rarest and most valuable skill in the league and the guys who are the best at it are the most highly valued in the league regardless of the position they play.

This is a side note but when it comes to Norris voting I think there's been a slight shift regarding a certain multi-time Norris winner where it used to be that perennial Norris winners or contenders like Bourque or Pronger or Lidstrom were, as you put it, excellent two-way defensemen now it seems to be that we're valuing one way defensemen in a way that we didn't used to. Whether or not that shift is a real reflection of a better understanding of value in terms of actually contributing to victories is unclear.

My thesis is that offensive instincts (in the realm of defensemen for this discussion) are more valuable because they are less replaceable by mere coaching (positioning, structure). I don't really have numbers for these as it is in the thoughts out loud stage.

Like I said above, I think they're more valuable because they're scarcer but I don't know if I buy that they're more teachable necessarily. We've certainly seen players come into the league and improve as defenders but we've also seen players come into the league and improve as offensive players. Usually, though, we attribute that offensive development to players physical and mental development but we attribute the defensive development to coaching. I'm not sure there's a lot of evidence for either narrative. 

Offensive success from a defenseman means things like zone entries, quarterbacking the offence from the blue line, and putting up points. Doing those things well, from what I've seen, requires creativity and skill on top of the instincts ingrained from coached positioning and structure. Structure and positioning is really only designed to breakdown the defending structure and generate attempts.

Defensive success would be breaking up transition plays, preventing zone entries, and preventing/fouling up shots on net. A lot of that can be accomplished by just being in the right place at the right time. Of course instinct and skills come into play here. Clearly some defenders are better at naturally forcing attackers to their backhand, or matching speeds to close the gaps without getting turnstiled.

What do you guys think?

I think that there are lots of offensive and defensive skills that are refined with experience. When is a good time to join a rush or the ability to effectively pinch on a play. I think those things are effectively parallels to the sort of coaching/structural concepts you're talking about. They're going to be learned at different paces and they're going to contribute to a player being on the ice for a larger percentage of goals scored on an opponent. I think the same is true of a lot of defensive things too.

A player that comes to mind as an example is Zdeno Chara. In his first four or five years in the league he produced at Marincin like levels offensively before eventually becoming one of the better offensive defensemen in the league at his best. He obviously also had a tremendous defensive refinement to the point where once Pronger fell off a little he was probably the single best defender in the game.

Obviously a coach can't teach Chara's size or strength but he still needed proper coaching and refinement to become the HOF calibre player he became in both ends. Hockey smarts develop over time and, provided they're paired with physical ability, those manifest themselves in all facets of the game.
Title: Re: Learning Defense
Post by: McGarnagle on July 30, 2016, 07:19:40 PM
What do you guys think?

My experiences coaching (albeit with the caveat that at a level which doesn't allow my opinion to be anything close to weighty) - is that creativity is often on display in a defensive role- in reading a play, an effective first pass, etc, etc. The only problem is that it doesn't hit the eyeballs like a play that leads directly to a goal.

Slighty OT, but I find there's still the prevailing attitude from a lot of coaches in coaching younger players that appropriate "defense" means taking no chances and chipping the puck off the glass nine out of ten times - which basically dooms a developing player to a one dimensional game. Anything but a simple play on D is glaring and inexcusable, even though forwards routinely turn the puck over in the pursuit of a scoring opportunity, and develop as a result of realizing that creativity. I remember having one of my sons move from D to forward simply to get out from under a defensive black hole of "safe" no-skill required hockey insisted upon by the coaching volunteers.

ln terms of the norris voting, I think it is weighted to offensive statistics because a) it highlights exciting players that grow the ratings and the game - rather than reward an equally dynamic but less optically sexy skillset in goal prevention/puck transition and b) I think a lot of voting community don't really do much more than look at the stat totals and mix in a few personal biases. Regardless, for the most part, the best shutdown D are often also up there in terms of offensive stats, simply because the same skillset allow them to excel in both ends of the ice.

As per Marincin vs Carrick, I couldn't even fathom which is more valuable than which - Marincin had a much longer look with the Leafs than Carrick, and looked very comfortable in the back half - and Carrick looked good with the club as well, but his best play was with the Marlies, which doesn't mean a great deal to me, anyway. I don't get the impression that Washington gave up a huge piece of their future with Carrick, or than Marincin's ceiling is above a #4, but it's good to have competition.
Title: Re: Learning Defense
Post by: herman on July 31, 2016, 09:22:25 AM
That's a good deal to mull over. Thanks, Nik and McGarnagle. I'll add thoughts as they arrive.
Title: Re: Learning Defense
Post by: herman on August 02, 2016, 09:30:34 AM
Some thoughts, now that I have an actual keyboard:
Putting the puck in the net, or the contributing to the puck going in the other team's net, is the rarest and most valuable skill in the league and the guys who are the best at it are the most highly valued in the league regardless of the position they play.

[...]

I think they're more valuable because they're scarcer but I don't know if I buy that they're more teachable necessarily. We've certainly seen players come into the league and improve as defenders but we've also seen players come into the league and improve as offensive players. Usually, though, we attribute that offensive development to players physical and mental development but we attribute the defensive development to coaching. I'm not sure there's a lot of evidence for either narrative. 

[...]

I think that there are lots of offensive and defensive skills that are refined with experience. When is a good time to join a rush or the ability to effectively pinch on a play. I think those things are effectively parallels to the sort of coaching/structural concepts you're talking about. They're going to be learned at different paces and they're going to contribute to a player being on the ice for a larger percentage of goals scored on an opponent. I think the same is true of a lot of defensive things too.

Your note about the value/rarity of offensive ability rings very true to me, as do the points I highlighted with the quote.

The narrative that is playing in my head is that offense requires creativity; there is structure and formation (ha) that can breakdown defenses, but ultimately, there is a lot of individual skill and talent required to put the puck into the net.

Defense, on the other hand, while requiring tremendous physical skills to pivot and skate backwards and spatial awareness to not get clobbered on retrievals, is like playing Not It in a game of Tag: there are a lot more win conditions and they're generally easier to achieve, largely by being in the right place a the right time, which, to my mind is the realm of coaching, (easily refined by experience).

The story that really prompted me to think that was when Holland talked about his initial struggles on the Penalty Kill, and how he admired Winnik being able to basically play all 2 minutes routinely. Winnik showed him how he positioned himself on the PK more efficiently and that was all Holland needed. Of course that is only one anecdote (that I can't find the source of) from a team with terrible special teams.
Title: Re: Learning Defense
Post by: herman on August 02, 2016, 09:35:02 AM
My experiences coaching (albeit with the caveat that at a level which doesn't allow my opinion to be anything close to weighty) - is that creativity is often on display in a defensive role- in reading a play, an effective first pass, etc, etc. The only problem is that it doesn't hit the eyeballs like a play that leads directly to a goal.

Slighty OT, but I find there's still the prevailing attitude from a lot of coaches in coaching younger players that appropriate "defense" means taking no chances and chipping the puck off the glass nine out of ten times - which basically dooms a developing player to a one dimensional game. Anything but a simple play on D is glaring and inexcusable, even though forwards routinely turn the puck over in the pursuit of a scoring opportunity, and develop as a result of realizing that creativity. I remember having one of my sons move from D to forward simply to get out from under a defensive black hole of "safe" no-skill required hockey insisted upon by the coaching volunteers.

This is a really good point. Coaching tends to overvalue safety on defense, rather than generation. The safe play is much easier, but is still a guaranteed turnover without the probability of the reward of scoring.

Watching Gardiner blossom now that he is out of Carlyle's shadow (or in spite of spending time there) has been invigorating.
Title: Re: Learning Defense
Post by: Frank E on August 02, 2016, 09:53:39 AM
My experiences coaching (albeit with the caveat that at a level which doesn't allow my opinion to be anything close to weighty) - is that creativity is often on display in a defensive role- in reading a play, an effective first pass, etc, etc. The only problem is that it doesn't hit the eyeballs like a play that leads directly to a goal.

Slighty OT, but I find there's still the prevailing attitude from a lot of coaches in coaching younger players that appropriate "defense" means taking no chances and chipping the puck off the glass nine out of ten times - which basically dooms a developing player to a one dimensional game. Anything but a simple play on D is glaring and inexcusable, even though forwards routinely turn the puck over in the pursuit of a scoring opportunity, and develop as a result of realizing that creativity. I remember having one of my sons move from D to forward simply to get out from under a defensive black hole of "safe" no-skill required hockey insisted upon by the coaching volunteers.

This is a really good point. Coaching tends to overvalue safety on defense, rather than generation. The safe play is much easier, but is still a guaranteed turnover without the probability of the reward of scoring.

Watching Gardiner blossom now that he is out of Carlyle's shadow (or in spite of spending time there) has been invigorating.

I don't think that's a fair representation of the Gardiner and Carlyle situation.  I recall us crediting Carlyle with developing Gardiner, throwing him out there in many situations, and he got better...so much so that they gave him that long-term 5 year contract I thought prematurely. 

I know there's a fair bit of Carlyle hate around here, but I don't think he failed Gardiner.  Carlyle gave Gardiner a long rope.
Title: Re: Learning Defense
Post by: herman on August 02, 2016, 10:14:32 AM
I don't think that's a fair representation of the Gardiner and Carlyle situation.  I recall us crediting Carlyle with developing Gardiner, throwing him out there in many situations, and he got better...so much so that they gave him that long-term 5 year contract I thought prematurely. 

I know there's a fair bit of Carlyle hate around here, but I don't think he failed Gardiner.  Carlyle gave Gardiner a long rope.

I was making a (hyperbolic) blanket statement about the defensive coaching under Carlyle ('safe' plays), so you're right in calling me out for that.
Title: Re: Learning Defense
Post by: Misty on August 02, 2016, 11:09:55 AM
Some thoughts, now that I have an actual keyboard...

On the other hand, what tends to separate the truly exceptional defencemen from the rest is (to my mind) not as coachable:

- ability to read and anticipate plays developing: positioning can be taught to give you a better chance of breaking up a play, but you still need to evaluate the situation to gauge the most likely passing lane to be ready for, etc...over time that will improve naturally with situational experience, but some people just seem to be innately better at it than other (that "hockey IQ" that scouts rave about in certain prospects)

- speed/coordination/reflexes/strength/endurance: all of which can be developed or enhanced via training programs, nutrition, repetition (specialized coaching) but all of which still seem to have underlying genetic attributes

I expect that players with exceptional abilities in most of the above are going to see those advantages reflected at both ends of the ice, though. Very hard to know where they'd be more visible, although I remember commentators constantly marveling at Lidstrom's ability to tip/deflect pucks that people tried to chip past him, or always being in just the right spot to break up a play in front of the net.
Title: Re: Learning Defense
Post by: WhatIfGodWasALeaf on August 02, 2016, 02:09:48 PM
Giordano spoke recently about how it takes a lot of players 2/300 games of actually playing in the NHL before they are able to accurately read the movement of elite forwards and predict how the plays are going to unfold. He has spoken to a lot of his peers apparently and this seems to be the general consensus for the majority of guys who don't break into the league as stars from the jump. Some guys basically figure it out and if they have the raw tools to allow them to play the game, then they can really take a jump while they can read the game in a way that will allow them to maximise their skill set. Some guys that get more than a cup of coffee in the NHL often figure out how to read the game, but don't have the particular skill set to be able to take advantage of their newfound understanding of the game.

After that it is mostly about the fundamentals, can you skate, pass and shoot at a level that will allow you to take advantage of what you see?

I thought it was an interesting take on the whole subject of "defence" being a skill.

Title: Re: Learning Defense
Post by: Nik the Trik on August 02, 2016, 06:36:15 PM
The narrative that is playing in my head is that offense requires creativity; there is structure and formation (ha) that can breakdown defenses, but ultimately, there is a lot of individual skill and talent required to put the puck into the net.

Defense, on the other hand, while requiring tremendous physical skills to pivot and skate backwards and spatial awareness to not get clobbered on retrievals, is like playing Not It in a game of Tag: there are a lot more win conditions and they're generally easier to achieve, largely by being in the right place a the right time, which, to my mind is the realm of coaching, (easily refined by experience).

I guess what I'd say to that is that I guess that there are elements of defense that can be improved upon through coaching that coachability, for lack of a better term, is itself a skill that isn't equally shared. There have been too many good coaches in history coaching too many one dimensional(albeit very competitive) players for me to believe that the sorts of gains we've seen some players make as defensive players could have happened to anyone with the proper coaching.

I also think there are things that are essentially physical attributes that are harder to gauge but are still skills in the way of "creativity" or what have you like hand/eye coordination that contribute greatly to a player's ability to read and react to plays in the defensive end.

The story that really prompted me to think that was when Holland talked about his initial struggles on the Penalty Kill, and how he admired Winnik being able to basically play all 2 minutes routinely. Winnik showed him how he positioned himself on the PK more efficiently and that was all Holland needed. Of course that is only one anecdote (that I can't find the source of) from a team with terrible special teams.

That's sort of what I mean though. Being a NHL player is so lucrative that I really can't believe that there aren't more guys who would just become really effective defensive forwards if all it required was the right coaching, a certain willingness to do it and a baseline set of physical attributes. Holland is just hanging on to a roster spot at this point and if he could become a Winnik-like PKer it'd virtually guarantee his employment in the league for another 5-6 years. To put it plainly, I don't think we've seen that from him.
Title: Re: Learning Defense
Post by: herman on August 03, 2016, 08:59:28 AM
I guess what I'd say to that is that I guess that there are elements of defense that can be improved upon through coaching that coachability, for lack of a better term, is itself a skill that isn't equally shared. There have been too many good coaches in history coaching too many one dimensional(albeit very competitive) players for me to believe that the sorts of gains we've seen some players make as defensive players could have happened to anyone with the proper coaching.

I also think there are things that are essentially physical attributes that are harder to gauge but are still skills in the way of "creativity" or what have you like hand/eye coordination that contribute greatly to a player's ability to read and react to plays in the defensive end.

That's a good point about coachability. I should clarify that I wasn't promoting coaching over innate ability + experience as the primary determinant, rather coaching can more easily overcome a defensive deficiency than an offensive one for defensemen -- i.e. it is easier to fix Carrick's defensive flaws than to get Marincin's shot generation level up.

This is not to say Marincin is a lost cause either. I believe he has the mental and physical tools to eventually get there, and his Junior history shows a head for the offensive game as well. Rielly noted (https://mapleleafshotstove.com/2016/07/29/martin-marincin-signs-two-year-contract-toronto-maple-leafs/) that when playing him in junior, Marincin had a "greasy pair of hands" that could make really good passes. To WIGWAL's post about 2/300 games being the usual amount of time it takes for defensemen to adjust to NHL speeds, I hope we get a chance to see him turn that corner, rather than lose him on waivers.

That's sort of what I mean though. Being a NHL player is so lucrative that I really can't believe that there aren't more guys who would just become really effective defensive forwards if all it required was the right coaching, a certain willingness to do it and a baseline set of physical attributes. Holland is just hanging on to a roster spot at this point and if he could become a Winnik-like PKer it'd virtually guarantee his employment in the league for another 5-6 years. To put it plainly, I don't think we've seen that from him.

I believe part of why we aren't seeing that sort of immediate stratification is because NHLers are, by and large, the best players on every team they've played for up until they make it, so they have expectations of themselves to  play similar roles and produce at similar rates. The cream still floats to the top, but due to the way the game was coached for so long, only the obvious top and the very obvious bottom sixers got roles. Players like Holland used to get benched for players like FML. I see the shift happening though, with the league getting younger and more talented up and down the lineup, and I can see Holland leaning towards playing a more Winniky game to avoid extinction.
Title: Re: Learning Defense
Post by: herman on August 03, 2016, 09:12:55 AM
On the other hand, what tends to separate the truly exceptional defencemen from the rest is (to my mind) not as coachable:

- ability to read and anticipate plays developing: positioning can be taught to give you a better chance of breaking up a play, but you still need to evaluate the situation to gauge the most likely passing lane to be ready for, etc...over time that will improve naturally with situational experience, but some people just seem to be innately better at it than other (that "hockey IQ" that scouts rave about in certain prospects)

- speed/coordination/reflexes/strength/endurance: all of which can be developed or enhanced via training programs, nutrition, repetition (specialized coaching) but all of which still seem to have underlying genetic attributes

I expect that players with exceptional abilities in most of the above are going to see those advantages reflected at both ends of the ice, though. Very hard to know where they'd be more visible, although I remember commentators constantly marveling at Lidstrom's ability to tip/deflect pucks that people tried to chip past him, or always being in just the right spot to break up a play in front of the net.

I agree that coaching can only expose and release the player's potential.

Where I was going with my (potentially wrong) point, was that coaching can boost a defenseman's baseline defensive game more readily than it can unleash offensive prowess in a defensive defenseman's play.

I found this article while reading up on how defensemen play the game, and what makes one player more effective than others: https://www.mckeenshockey.com/nhl-blog/evaluating-defensemen/

There's a tremendous amount of decision making involved in playing defense. Older methods of defense (shot block, chip out) seemed to be designed to reduce decision making overhead down to those coachable reactions/positions I was thinking about.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: hockeyfan1 on August 03, 2016, 02:31:52 PM
Re: from the article

It's pretty obvious that defensive and offensive skills in a defenceman all require some forms of creativity, be it physically, mentally and skillfully.

The article (in which Herman posted the link to) takes into account the necessities of each type of defenceman, whether it be a defensively-oriented type or an offensively-oriented type.  However, both comprise certain skill sets that can either stand out or continue in development.  By that, I mean a d-man with a high IQ quotient in development (which as the Leafs' Reilly), or, a veteran or stand out (such as the Predators' Subban).

Here are some points emphasized in the article that seek to define and differentiate (to a certain degree) the role of a defenceman in either capacity (defensive/offensive):

Defensive d-man:
-  Skating/Transitioning/Pivoting -- all these embody the ability and agility to shift according to play and to be able to read the oncoming offence and adapt accoedingly

-  Closing the Gap/Gap Control -- all this embodies visual skills and the ability to read the play, such as how much room will a d-man give an opposing offensive skater in play with puck in possession; how to contain the opposing players rushing speed/etc.   In other words, cutting off the angle, blocking a shot, utilizing some form of physicality (body check/hit) to attempt to stymie or break up play, while not being liable to get caught out of position, etc.

-  Support and Engage -- Does a d-man engage the (puck) carrier to begin the defensive process (and attempt to get the puck back) or does he give support?  Again, this involves the ability to 'read' the play and making a decision depending on the situation that he finds himself in.

Quick decision-making, good visuals, agility, skating, transitioning, size (may be an added plus), speed, etc. all add up to the mix to create a mobile, agile, smart defenceman who hones his craft well.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: hockeyfan1 on August 03, 2016, 03:24:32 PM
Re: from the article (continuing from my previous posting):

Here are some points emphasized in the article that seek to define and differentiate (to a certain degree) the role of a defenceman in either capacity (defensive/offensive).

Offensive d-man:
-  Passing/Rushing -- this comprises the ability of puck movement which also takes into account the placement /movement of hands & feet.  Knowing when to pass or rush the puck (advancing in-play or possession of play); maneuverability of player (stick-handling, skating speed, etc.).  Passing skills that encapsulate all of the above including balance & of course, creativity.  What to when not in possession and how to both assess,  create and gain opportunity in the play at hand.  A stray pass can lead to an opposing goal one way or another or give the opposing team plenty of room and time to forge a goal.  Same with dropping or having the puck taken away from you.
How well one strays from the action and their capabilities to bounce back from that position can often be the determining factor between loss or gain (be it by want of an opposing goal scored or prevented).

-  Zone/Point Skills -- this basically shows how well a point man a defenceman can be -- shooting from the point as well as shooting past obstacles, be it in the opposing player's shot blocking attempt, gettingpast traffic out front; etc.

-  Distributory/Assessment Skills -- effectively comprises the ability and or abilities to 'read' play and make decisions based on play situation, to follow the structural play of the team (risk assessment) during a breakout in the defensive zone, or to lead a regroup?  Joining the rush -- when to join or to support?  These all involve some form of "risk assessment" and once again, a defenceman's smart skills come into vogue here.

As we can see, there are inherent differences and/or expected skills between a defensively-oriented defenceman and an offensively-oriented one.

They all require the proper set of movement, speed, agility, and visuals to get the job done.  However, a defensive defenceman, due to his moreso defensive-oriented skills than an offensive-oriented defenceman, is called upon to be even more precise in his defensive abilities, and his liabilities will showcase themselves more glaringly in this regard.

Some may disagree on the above point alone, but an offensively-oriented defenceman is really seen as more of a two-way player, and even though he carries just as much of a basic skillet defensively-speaking, he may not be seen as more liable than one who's basic job is to defend more than go on the offensive.  Of course, this all depends on what teams expect from their d-corps.  It is believed that  a defensive defenceman has to stand out in his  position and be capable of contributing to the rush in a way that will not hamper his team's situation in play, while an offensive defenceman has to stand out in his ability to be the two-way player he is without being a liability in that regard.

Either way, these aren't easy skills which goes to show how difficult it is for just anyone to assume the mantle of a great d-man.  Those players that we've seen that encapsulate all of these skills one way or another, have gone on to greatness.  It takes time and patience especially for today's young prospects breaking into a professional league, oftentimes overwhelmed by the sheer aspect of it all.
Title: Re: Learning Defense
Post by: Nik the Trik on August 03, 2016, 09:47:47 PM
That's a good point about coachability. I should clarify that I wasn't promoting coaching over innate ability + experience as the primary determinant, rather coaching can more easily overcome a defensive deficiency than an offensive one for defensemen -- i.e. it is easier to fix Carrick's defensive flaws than to get Marincin's shot generation level up.

Fair enough. While I agree that improving a player's defensive game might be a different sort of coaching than improving their offensive game I don't think we know enough to say that one is easier than the other. I get where you're coming from though.

I believe part of why we aren't seeing that sort of immediate stratification is because NHLers are, by and large, the best players on every team they've played for up until they make it, so they have expectations of themselves to  play similar roles and produce at similar rates.

I wonder how true that is. Maybe in the case of a guy like Holland, sure, he was probably the best player wherever he went and in the rare instance where he wasn't like in his draft -1 year it was more a case of inexperience/age rather than a lack of talent.

But in the case of a guy like Winnik? I don't know if he always saw himself as the best guy on his college team or in the AHL. I don't have an answer for this but I think it'd be interesting to look at the junior careers of grinder-types to see how many of them played a similar role then.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: sickbeast on August 07, 2016, 12:46:44 PM
How on earth can you say that the Leafs have a defensive logjam when they probably have the worst defense in the entire NHL?

What is it, a logjam of really bad players?  How is that a logjam?
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Highlander on August 07, 2016, 01:19:08 PM
Reilly and Gardiner would be prizes on any other squad, they are coveted. Zaitzev is unknown but all indicators is he could be a great player, the others all have a very good upside and we have some very good defensive prospects in the pipeline, Neilson, Dermott to mention 2.  Loov and Valiev is also  guys who may develop. Yes its not the greatest but let see where Babs/Smith take them.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: McGarnagle on August 07, 2016, 02:37:20 PM
How on earth can you say that the Leafs have a defensive logjam when they probably have the worst defense in the entire NHL?

What is it, a logjam of really bad players?  How is that a logjam?

[IM] You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means[/IM]
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Nik the Trik on August 07, 2016, 07:56:59 PM

Regardless of quality right now the Leafs have Rielly, Gardiner, Zaitsev, Hunwick, Marincin, Polak, Corrado and Carrick who all have probably graduated from the AHL and have NHL contracts(and Robidas but he's probably not in the picture).

So even if Loov and Valiev aren't given a shot to make the team you still have to take 8 guys and cut it down to a regular 6 with a press box 7th. Again, that they're not great players for the most part(although most teams don't have great players on their bottom pairing) doesn't change the fact that it's more players than spots available.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Nik the Trik on August 07, 2016, 08:11:36 PM

Also, while there's no doubt the Leafs defense is pretty bad I'd definitely take it over Edmonton's, New Jersey's and Vancouver's. Columbus and, delightfully, Montreal also have iffy groups.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: sickbeast on August 07, 2016, 11:16:22 PM
I'm finding it hard to be excited about this team.  Last year was interesting because they tanked, came in dead last, and got the #1 overall pick.  This year they are going to do better than that but they are not going to make the playoffs, not by any means.  So it's going to be very frustrating to watch the team play poorly with very little to show for it at the end of the season.  Yes, they will flip some players for picks at the trade deadline but that's only going to help so much.

I will say that the Leafs have some of the best young forwards in the league, only rivaled by perhaps Edmonton.  I am really looking forward to Mitch Marner and everyone in their group of forwards.  It's just their defense.  It's going to be brutally bad unless Babcock can really work his magic.

The goaltending is also a question mark and I don't see it being significantly better than what they had last season (aside from Bernier, he was brutal).
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on August 08, 2016, 09:14:09 AM
How on earth can you say that the Leafs have a defensive logjam when they probably have the worst defense in the entire NHL?

What is it, a logjam of really bad players?  How is that a logjam?

A logjam refers to quantity, rather than quality, as you actually noticed yourself in the second sentence by qualifying the logjam.

Conversely, if you are saying there is no logjam because our defensemen are bad and the deployment of the pairings is largely irrelevant, then you have a right to that opinion.

Like Nik said, right now, we have defensemen with potential that need development runway (Marincin, Carrick, Corrado) that are not waiver exempt and are too good to pass through into the AHL. On the one hand, that will promote internal competition at Training Camp; on the other we run the risk of losing assets for nothing, either one of the three mentioned above, or a forward because Babcock wants to carry 8 defenders.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: CarltonTheBear on August 08, 2016, 09:20:19 AM

Also, while there's no doubt the Leafs defense is pretty bad I'd definitely take it over Edmonton's, New Jersey's and Vancouver's. Columbus and, delightfully, Montreal also have iffy groups.

On the topic of bad defences I wonder how Dallas' holds up this season. It was obviously never really a strong point of their team and they lost their #2 and #3 defencemen from this past season (Goligoski and Demers) plus their big trade deadline acquisition (Russell). They signed Hamhuis, but at 33 years old his best days are behind him so at best he probably replaces Russell meaning their bigger holes still weren't plugged.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Nik the Trik on August 08, 2016, 09:31:08 AM
On the topic of bad defences I wonder how Dallas' holds up this season. It was obviously never really a strong point of their team and they lost their #2 and #3 defencemen from this past season (Goligoski and Demers) plus their big trade deadline acquisition (Russell). They signed Hamhuis, but at 33 years old his best days are behind him so at best he probably replaces Russell meaning their bigger holes still weren't plugged.

Yeah, I thought about them when I was writing that. I think they'd probably qualify as the team I watched the least of last year so I don't have much of an opinion on, say, whether Klingberg is a really good two way guy or just a point producer or how Oduya looked when counted on for a larger role or whether or not you can take a 29 year old who goes by "Jordie" seriously.

Their defense will probably depend on their young guys stepping up. If Oleksiak ever lives up to his potential or if Julius Honka makes the team(who, again, I've never seen but had some pretty impressive numbers for a 20 year old in the AHL).
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: sickbeast on August 08, 2016, 02:37:18 PM
How on earth can you say that the Leafs have a defensive logjam when they probably have the worst defense in the entire NHL?

What is it, a logjam of really bad players?  How is that a logjam?

A logjam refers to quantity, rather than quality, as you actually noticed yourself in the second sentence by qualifying the logjam.

Conversely, if you are saying there is no logjam because our defensemen are bad and the deployment of the pairings is largely irrelevant, then you have a right to that opinion.

Like Nik said, right now, we have defensemen with potential that need development runway (Marincin, Carrick, Corrado) that are not waiver exempt and are too good to pass through into the AHL. On the one hand, that will promote internal competition at Training Camp; on the other we run the risk of losing assets for nothing, either one of the three mentioned above, or a forward because Babcock wants to carry 8 defenders.
You want to know what I think?  Instead of trading away a first and second round pick for a goalie they could have signed anyway, they should have used those picks to draft some defense.  They have drafted a ton of forwards.  I get it, they wanted the best player available with those picks.  But really they should think about either making some trades or picking up some defense.  And for the love of God, don't trade away our draft picks when we are in the middle of a rebuild!  We don't need a goalie yet, that trade was such a joke I'm still upset about it.  It's like we just traded Phil Kessel for an unproven goalie when we could have found something similar on the open market when the time comes that we really need one, without sacrificing any picks.

I also think it might have made sense to take a flyer on Luke Schenn.  He was signed for a very affordable contract.  He's the type of defenseman the Leafs need.  I'm not saying he's great, but he would have been useful IMO.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on August 08, 2016, 03:06:38 PM
You want to know what I think?  Instead of trading away a first and second round pick for a goalie they could have signed anyway, they should have used those picks to draft some defense.  They have drafted a ton of forwards.  I get it, they wanted the best player available with those picks.  But really they should think about either making some trades or picking up some defense.  And for the love of God, don't trade away our draft picks when we are in the middle of a rebuild!  We don't need a goalie yet, that trade was such a joke I'm still upset about it.  It's like we just traded Phil Kessel for an unproven goalie when we could have found something similar on the open market when the time comes that we really need one, without sacrificing any picks.

I also think it might have made sense to take a flyer on Luke Schenn.  He was signed for a very affordable contract.  He's the type of defenseman the Leafs need.  I'm not saying he's great, but he would have been useful IMO.

I agree with where you're coming from re: sacrificing picks during the rebuild and giving a bit more focus to the defense.

I have a different take on picking up Andersen for Bernier, but there's another thread (http://www.tmlfans.ca/community/index.php?topic=3908.0) for that. Ultimately, we're observers from a distance, and it's pretty hard for me to say one way or another what the opportunities for Leafs Management were and what market pressures they faced.

I will say of the three 'big' off-season moves (Andersen/Bernier, Martin, Polak), the goaltender move was actually the one I had the least issue with even though it was the most costly. Basically, I like the player, but didn't really like the net transaction cost.

I'm also pretty okay with passing on Schenn. What part of his game would have been most useful to us?
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: sickbeast on August 08, 2016, 03:39:27 PM
You want to know what I think?  Instead of trading away a first and second round pick for a goalie they could have signed anyway, they should have used those picks to draft some defense.  They have drafted a ton of forwards.  I get it, they wanted the best player available with those picks.  But really they should think about either making some trades or picking up some defense.  And for the love of God, don't trade away our draft picks when we are in the middle of a rebuild!  We don't need a goalie yet, that trade was such a joke I'm still upset about it.  It's like we just traded Phil Kessel for an unproven goalie when we could have found something similar on the open market when the time comes that we really need one, without sacrificing any picks.

I also think it might have made sense to take a flyer on Luke Schenn.  He was signed for a very affordable contract.  He's the type of defenseman the Leafs need.  I'm not saying he's great, but he would have been useful IMO.

I agree with where you're coming from re: sacrificing picks during the rebuild and giving a bit more focus to the defense.

I have a different take on picking up Andersen for Bernier, but there's another thread (http://www.tmlfans.ca/community/index.php?topic=3908.0) for that. Ultimately, we're observers from a distance, and it's pretty hard for me to say one way or another what the opportunities for Leafs Management were and what market pressures they faced.

I will say of the three 'big' off-season moves (Andersen/Bernier, Martin, Polak), the goaltender move was actually the one I had the least issue with even though it was the most costly. Basically, I like the player, but didn't really like the net transaction cost.

I'm also pretty okay with passing on Schenn. What part of his game would have been most useful to us?
Just the fact that he's more of a "stay-at-home" type of defenseman and he can hit.  We need more defense like that.  With Gardiner and Reilly there is already plenty of mobility and offense.  The Leafs desperately need some solid defensemen that can contribute primarily on a defensive level and help out the goalie.

I'm not saying Schenn is all that good because he's clearly not if he can only earn ~$1 million per season, but I do think he's young enough and he would have been an awesome reclamation project for Mike Babcock.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: bustaheims on August 08, 2016, 03:46:49 PM
I'm not saying Schenn is all that good because he's clearly not if he can only earn ~$1 million per season, but I do think he's young enough and he would have been an awesome reclamation project for Mike Babcock.

Unless Babcock can somehow transform him from one of the slowest skaters in the league into, at the very least, someone with league average type speed, there's no reclamation to be done. Schenn's fallen out of favour because he's severely lacking in a key physical skill required to be effective in today's NHL.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on August 08, 2016, 03:58:49 PM
Just the fact that he's more of a "stay-at-home" type of defenseman and he can hit.  We need more defense like that.  With Gardiner and Reilly there is already plenty of mobility and offense.  The Leafs desperately need some solid defensemen that can contribute primarily on a defensive level and help out the goalie.

I'm not saying Schenn is all that good because he's clearly not if he can only earn ~$1 million per season, but I do think he's young enough and he would have been an awesome reclamation project for Mike Babcock.

I have leaned hard away from traditional 'stay-at-home' defensemen types in the past 5 years, since the game has gotten faster and faster still.

What I value in defenders are skating ability (forwards and backwards), gap control/disruption, puck retrieval skills, zone exits, and zone entries. A nice to have on top of that would be a good accurate shot. Other than the shot, all those things are heavily reliant on skating agility, mobility, and speed.

I think the Leafs need smart, fast, and patient defensemen. To my eye, and to the numbers, Schenn is unfortunately lacking in those departments. He plays a bit scared of the incoming forecheck and often dumps the puck, or forces a pass that goes errant when the other guy is about 4 sticks away.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: sickbeast on August 08, 2016, 04:53:17 PM
Interesting.  You guys make good points, actually.

We do seem to agree about drafting and developing more defense.  The same goes for goalies IMO.  I know it's easy to look back but it's such a shame that we lost Rask for Raycroft.  That single trade alone affected the Leafs' destiny more than any other in recent memory.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: WhatIfGodWasALeaf on August 08, 2016, 07:07:52 PM

I have leaned hard away from traditional 'stay-at-home' defensemen types in the past 5 years, since the game has gotten faster and faster still.

What I value in defenders are skating ability (forwards and backwards), gap control/disruption, puck retrieval skills, zone exits, and zone entries. A nice to have on top of that would be a good accurate shot. Other than the shot, all those things are heavily reliant on skating agility, mobility, and speed.

I think the Leafs need smart, fast, and patient defensemen. To my eye, and to the numbers, Schenn is unfortunately lacking in those departments. He plays a bit scared of the incoming forecheck and often dumps the puck, or forces a pass that goes errant when the other guy is about 4 sticks away.

This is an excellent post, you've got a keen eye herman and usually articulate yourself very well without mocking, your posts really provide great value to this site, thanks.

Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: sickbeast on August 08, 2016, 08:19:18 PM

I have leaned hard away from traditional 'stay-at-home' defensemen types in the past 5 years, since the game has gotten faster and faster still.

What I value in defenders are skating ability (forwards and backwards), gap control/disruption, puck retrieval skills, zone exits, and zone entries. A nice to have on top of that would be a good accurate shot. Other than the shot, all those things are heavily reliant on skating agility, mobility, and speed.

I think the Leafs need smart, fast, and patient defensemen. To my eye, and to the numbers, Schenn is unfortunately lacking in those departments. He plays a bit scared of the incoming forecheck and often dumps the puck, or forces a pass that goes errant when the other guy is about 4 sticks away.

This is an excellent post, you've got a keen eye herman and usually articulate yourself very well without mocking, your posts really provide great value to this site, thanks.
+1
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: pnjunction on August 08, 2016, 09:25:00 PM
Yeah newer analytics really put the final nail in the coffin of 'stay-at-home' d-men; they do indeed stay 'at home', the defensive zone, because that's where the puck is most of the time when they're on the ice.  And if they're staying home while the puck is down the ice (because they don't have the mobility to get back) that's not helping generate shots to compensate.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Tigger on August 08, 2016, 10:26:01 PM
Luke would've been for depth, though SchadenSchennfreude, I mean, c'mon.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on August 08, 2016, 11:32:12 PM

I have leaned hard away from traditional 'stay-at-home' defensemen types in the past 5 years, since the game has gotten faster and faster still.

What I value in defenders are skating ability (forwards and backwards), gap control/disruption, puck retrieval skills, zone exits, and zone entries. A nice to have on top of that would be a good accurate shot. Other than the shot, all those things are heavily reliant on skating agility, mobility, and speed.

I think the Leafs need smart, fast, and patient defensemen. To my eye, and to the numbers, Schenn is unfortunately lacking in those departments. He plays a bit scared of the incoming forecheck and often dumps the puck, or forces a pass that goes errant when the other guy is about 4 sticks away.

This is an excellent post, you've got a keen eye herman and usually articulate yourself very well without mocking, your posts really provide great value to this site, thanks.

Thanks WIGWAL. Just trying to keep up with the fine tradition I encountered here when I first started lurking.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Nik the Trik on August 09, 2016, 07:56:36 AM

I think if we're talking about how the Leafs need to  improve to become contenders then the quality of their depth defensemen is pretty low on the list. Not in the sense that it shouldn't be a high priority(although that's probably true too) but in the sense that there's really not much of a gap between the Leafs and the better teams in the league.

The Penguins won the cup with Ian Cole and Justin Schultz(and occasionally Maata or Pouliot) on their bottom pairing. The Sharks made the final with Polak and somebody named Brenden Dillon in that role. Marincin, Carrick and Hunwick seem roughly of that general quality and Polak is actually here so that seems pretty settled.

The really big question going forward is in the top 4. Whether or not Rielly can become a #1, will Gardiner continue to improve and just what, if anything, Zaitsev becomes. There weren't really any quick fixes for the top four available this year and even drafting where the Leafs did(outside of Matthews) would have yielded longshots.

Right now this year is probably going to be another developmental one with a bottom 10 finish. With any luck they can do well in the lottery and hopefully add a high end defensive prospect next summer.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: CarltonTheBear on August 09, 2016, 09:31:00 AM
PPP with a good article examining Morgan Rielly's partners from last season: http://www.pensionplanpuppets.com/2016/8/9/12331450/examining-how-morgan-riellys-partners-affected-him

Their closing thoughts on the topic aren't exactly earth-shattering news but it's still a nicely researched article:

Quote
I think there's a few things to take away from this. The first is that the Hunwick-Rielly pairing really didn't work. I'm sure that's no surprise to anyone who watched the Leafs this year, but the numbers corroborate it. The second is that Marincin-Rielly held their own, though they were certainly not ideal for a 'top pairing' either. That might sound negative, but I actually think it's fairly impressive that Rielly can tread water in tough minutes playing with someone like Marincin. Marincin, much as I love him, is probably not a top pairing defensemen on a team attempting to win. Last year, he was asked to be for a significant portion of the year

So Rielly is no Jake Gardiner, who seemingly carries everyone to impressive shot results, but you know what? Most players aren't. Most players - even "number 1 defensemen" - play with partners who are talented and well above average in their own right. Rielly really hasn't had that opportunity. When Rielly has been played with a good player (Gardiner), he's succeeded. To get a better idea of whether he can play top pairing minutes going forward, they need to pair him with one for the long term.

The Leafs have a ton of really nice pieces in the organization but are still desperately missing a suitable defensive partner (preferably right-handed) for Rielly. We have a massive collection of talented forwards, we have a goalie signed for the next 5 years, Gardiner will stabilize the 2nd pairing regardless of who he plays with. There's just that one piece of the puzzle missing still and it's a big one.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on August 09, 2016, 09:33:48 AM

I think if we're talking about how the Leafs need to improve to become contenders then the quality of their depth defensemen is pretty low on the list. Not in the sense that it shouldn't be a high priority(although that's probably true too) but in the sense that there's really not much of a gap between the Leafs and the better teams in the league.

The Penguins won the cup with Ian Cole and Justin Schultz(and occasionally Maata or Pouliot) on their bottom pairing. The Sharks made the final with Polak and somebody named Brenden Dillon in that role. Marincin, Carrick and Hunwick seem roughly of that general quality and Polak is actually here so that seems pretty settled.

The really big question going forward is in the top 4. Whether or not Rielly can become a #1, will Gardiner continue to improve and just what, if anything, Zaitsev becomes. There weren't really any quick fixes for the top four available this year and even drafting where the Leafs did(outside of Matthews) would have yielded longshots.

Right now this year is probably going to be another developmental one with a bottom 10 finish. With any luck they can do well in the lottery and hopefully add a high end defensive prospect next summer.

That's a very good point.

The Penguins winning defense had some caveats, right? They had a true #1 in Letang chugging up 30ish minutes a night. Sports radio pundits were generally concerned about the sustainability of that (pretty much from preseason and on), but their corps were bolstered as well by premiere goaltending and (eventually) a strategy that sheltered them with strong forward support.

Have there been any (established/projected) top-2 defensemen of the caliber and age we covet hitting the market since the lockout? Seth Jones? The Hall-Larsson trade hopefully is not a price-setting precedent.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on August 09, 2016, 09:52:17 AM
PPP with a good article examining Morgan Rielly's partners from last season: http://www.pensionplanpuppets.com/2016/8/9/12331450/examining-how-morgan-riellys-partners-affected-him

My favourite line (which is exactly what I did before I read it):
Quote
(https://cdn2.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/Hf_VRXT-_wVV7xDVDgOJuMqAnx4=/800x0/filters:no_upscale()/cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/6865511/Screen_Shot_2016-07-30_at_8.38.29_AM.0.png)

Like most charts about the Leafs, you can identify the section where you want to be by finding Jake Gardiner.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Nik the Trik on August 09, 2016, 10:03:47 AM
The Penguins winning defense had some caveats, right? They had a true #1 in Letang chugging up 30ish minutes a night. Sports radio pundits were generally concerned about the sustainability of that (pretty much from preseason and on), but their corps were bolstered as well by premiere goaltending and (eventually) a strategy that sheltered them with strong forward support.

Yeah, but that seems like it might prove to be the rule rather than the exception. Most recent cup winners have been built with one superstar #1 with that sort of workload(Keith, Doughty). The Penguins were a little extreme in that they don't have the #2 and #3 guys those teams had but one of the realities of the cap is teams can't be great everywhere and more and more it looks like teams are willing to cut corners with the back half of their defensemen. Chicago's had terrible 5-6 play the year before and LA's been pretty weak there too.

Have there been any (established/projected) top-2 defensemen of the caliber and age we covet hitting the market since the lockout? Seth Jones? The Hall-Larsson trade hopefully is not a price-setting precedent.

I'm assuming you mean hitting the market as in being traded as opposed to being a RFA.

Anyways, Dougie Hamilton is someone who comes to mind in that sense as is Nick Leddy. Aside from those two, nobody jumps out at me.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on August 09, 2016, 10:24:50 AM
Yeah, but that seems like it might prove to be the rule rather than the exception. Most recent cup winners have been built with one superstar #1 with that sort of workload(Keith, Doughty). The Penguins were a little extreme in that they don't have the #2 and #3 guys those teams had but one of the realities of the cap is teams can't be great everywhere and more and more it looks like teams are willing to cut corners with the back half of their defensemen. Chicago's had terrible 5-6 play the year before and LA's been pretty weak there too.

Oh yeah, them. Other than Chicago (sort of), those winners also rode pretty stellar goaltending, which is a relatively salary cap efficient (albeit rare) method of covering up cut-corners. The non-Penguins had Keith/Seabrook, Doughty/Muzzin. We currently have ?/Rielly/Gardiner. I wish we had a right-handed Gardiner.

I'm assuming you mean hitting the market as in being traded as opposed to being a RFA.

Anyways, Dougie Hamilton is someone who comes to mind in that sense as is Nick Leddy. Aside from those two, nobody jumps out at me.

I just meant moved in general (trade, free agency). Seems like a pretty rare scenario, and the dumb GMs that would do that sort of thing have already done it (c'moooon Benning...).
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: cabber24 on August 09, 2016, 10:27:01 AM
I wouldn't call the Leafs D a logjam considering how shallow the skill set is as a whole. But who knows, previous year we have had great D on paper but horrific D stats.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: CarltonTheBear on August 09, 2016, 10:46:57 AM
I just meant moved in general (trade, free agency). Seems like a pretty rare scenario, and the dumb GMs that would do that sort of thing have already done it (c'moooon Benning...).

There have been a number of pretty good top-4 options available in free agency the past few years. Stralman, Goligoski, Demers, Martin, Niskanen, Yandle. I wouldn't have signed a Goligoski or Demers this year given where our team is currently at, but those seemed like pretty good signings for Arizona and Florida. In a year or two if Rielly develops even into a lower-end top pairing defenceman and Zaitsev into a top-4 guy, I wonder if signing a Goligoski-equivalent would be enough to give us a more balanced top-6 defence that could compete with the more top-heavy groups that contending teams have been running.

Obviously I'd love to draft Liljegren next year and see him become a legitimate top-15 defenceman in the league but given how rare those opportunities are the team needs to have some type of back-up plan ready. If our number 1 defenceman isn't on the level as other recent Cup winners then we can at least make sure our 2 through 6 guys can match up better.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on August 09, 2016, 10:59:13 AM
I just meant moved in general (trade, free agency). Seems like a pretty rare scenario, and the dumb GMs that would do that sort of thing have already done it (c'moooon Benning...).

There have been a number of pretty good top-4 options available in free agency the past few years. Stralman, Goligoski, Demers, Martin, Niskanen, Yandle. I wouldn't have signed a Goligoski or Demers this year given where our team is currently at, but those seemed like pretty good signings for Arizona and Florida. In a year or two if Rielly develops even into a lower-end top pairing defenceman and Zaitsev into a top-4 guy, I wonder if signing a Goligoski-equivalent would be enough to give us a more balanced top-6 defence that could compete with the more top-heavy groups that contending teams have been running.

Obviously I'd love to draft Liljegren next year and see him become a legitimate top-15 defenceman in the league but given how rare those opportunities are the team needs to have some type of back-up plan ready. If our number 1 defenceman isn't on the level as other recent Cup winners then we can at least make sure our 2 through 6 guys can match up better.

I'd say 3-4 defensemen get moved with regularity (even Dion Phaneuf and his contract). I think you're right in that the most readily available option to us is to develop the heck out of Rielly and hope he hits Doughty-lite, and bolster 2-6 with as much talent as possible with those 3-4D signings. I think Babcock's system helps a lot in this regard with forwards synched to the defense.

The other options: lottery win/lower round draft homerun are very much outside our direct control. Players of projectable talent and still early in their development curve to line up with our forwards is even harder to find.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Nik the Trik on August 09, 2016, 02:06:09 PM
Obviously I'd love to draft Liljegren next year and see him become a legitimate top-15 defenceman in the league but given how rare those opportunities are the team needs to have some type of back-up plan ready. If our number 1 defenceman isn't on the level as other recent Cup winners then we can at least make sure our 2 through 6 guys can match up better.

See, except I think this is where we run into the different ways you and I are looking at this building process. To my mind, Plan B is patience. It's sticking around the bottom of the league until you find a player like that and making moves to help it along. Much like how if the Leafs hadn't won the lottery, there shouldn't have been a "hey, can we win without a #1 C?" plan B.

Because absence that patience, trying to cobble together an alternative that doesn't have much in the way of successful precedent seems like a perfect recipe for building a team like St. Louis or the Islanders where you can reach a certain level before the cap forces you to start looking around and wondering how you can take the next step.

Signing Kadri, keeping JVR, trading for Andersen...all of those decisions are risks where the team very well might be prolonging the issue. Earlier in the year when we talked about timetables for the rebuild I didn't make mine longer than yours because I'm a pessimist or because I secretly want to watch the Leafs stink for five years, it's because when I look at really successful teams I do see a sort of pattern in terms of how long it really took them to build what they wanted while allowing for the occasional Thomas Hickey or Cam Barker(or, conversely, Duncan Keith and Jake Muzzin).

Like I said, not going all in on this would be a risk. A calculated one maybe but personally it's not something I'd flirt with.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Frank E on August 09, 2016, 03:03:35 PM
Obviously I'd love to draft Liljegren next year and see him become a legitimate top-15 defenceman in the league but given how rare those opportunities are the team needs to have some type of back-up plan ready. If our number 1 defenceman isn't on the level as other recent Cup winners then we can at least make sure our 2 through 6 guys can match up better.

See, except I think this is where we run into the different ways you and I are looking at this building process. To my mind, Plan B is patience. It's sticking around the bottom of the league until you find a player like that and making moves to help it along. Much like how if the Leafs hadn't won the lottery, there shouldn't have been a "hey, can we win without a #1 C?" plan B.

Because absence that patience, trying to cobble together an alternative that doesn't have much in the way of successful precedent seems like a perfect recipe for building a team like St. Louis or the Islanders where you can reach a certain level before the cap forces you to start looking around and wondering how you can take the next step.

Signing Kadri, keeping JVR, trading for Andersen...all of those decisions are risks where the team very well might be prolonging the issue. Earlier in the year when we talked about timetables for the rebuild I didn't make mine longer than yours because I'm a pessimist or because I secretly want to watch the Leafs stink for five years, it's because when I look at really successful teams I do see a sort of pattern in terms of how long it really took them to build what they wanted while allowing for the occasional Thomas Hickey or Cam Barker(or, conversely, Duncan Keith and Jake Muzzin).

Like I said, not going all in on this would be a risk. A calculated one maybe but personally it's not something I'd flirt with.

I honestly don't even know what the template is anymore...the basics seem to be 3 legit elite forwards, and at least one 30 minute defenseman that can do everything.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on August 09, 2016, 03:27:04 PM
See, except I think this is where we run into the different ways you and I are looking at this building process. To my mind, Plan B is patience. It's sticking around the bottom of the league until you find a player like that and making moves to help it along. Much like how if the Leafs hadn't won the lottery, there shouldn't have been a "hey, can we win without a #1 C?" plan B.

What's the cut-off point, i.e. when we begin 'wasting' Matthews/Nylander/Marner/Rielly? Presumably their peak (if history holds true) is around the 24-26 year old mark, so that's around 4-6 years from now for the forwards, coinciding with Rielly's later peak as a defenseman. The best bang for the buck years comes earlier than that though.

At some point, I think we do have to play the cards we're dealt and try to nab a 1RHD (or whatever) at full retail price, or heavily pad the depth talent, if drafting duds out or is too slow.

If we still didn't have Matthews, this would probably be a full patience build.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: CarltonTheBear on August 09, 2016, 03:40:18 PM
See, except I think this is where we run into the different ways you and I are looking at this building process. To my mind, Plan B is patience. It's sticking around the bottom of the league until you find a player like that and making moves to help it along. Much like how if the Leafs hadn't won the lottery, there shouldn't have been a "hey, can we win without a #1 C?" plan B.

Well, just to clarify I don't think I'm saying "can we win without a #1 D?", I'm saying "can we win with a #1 D who isn't on a Keith/Doughty/Letang level?". If I felt that Rielly topped out as a 2nd pairing guy then this would be a different story. And if next season shows that he tops out as a 2nd pairing guy then we'll very likely be in lottery contention again so that balances out a little bit.

And of course had we lost the lottery then it'd be a different story as well. But that gave us a potential top-10 centre and a potential 1-2-3 punch as good as anyone else in the league. That makes me feel like we'd be less reliant on a top-10 defenceman.

Because absence that patience, trying to cobble together an alternative that doesn't have much in the way of successful precedent seems like a perfect recipe for building a team like St. Louis or the Islanders where you can reach a certain level before the cap forces you to start looking around and wondering how you can take the next step.

Signing Kadri, keeping JVR, trading for Andersen...all of those decisions are risks where the team very well might be prolonging the issue. Earlier in the year when we talked about timetables for the rebuild I didn't make mine longer than yours because I'm a pessimist or because I secretly want to watch the Leafs stink for five years, it's because when I look at really successful teams I do see a sort of pattern in terms of how long it really took them to build what they wanted while allowing for the occasional Thomas Hickey or Cam Barker(or, conversely, Duncan Keith and Jake Muzzin).

Like I said, not going all in on this would be a risk. A calculated one maybe but personally it's not something I'd flirt with.

Now don't get me wrong though, I do love your plan in theory. I would absolutely take another 2 or 3 seasons at the bottom of the standings if it meant we got to continue accumulating high draft picks and high-potential prospects. I just never felt that was realistic, or something other teams have done successfully before. Teams like PIT/CHI/LA were bad for the right amount of time, and got very lucky with their draft selections, and they allowed their group to improve naturally over time. I don't really think they actively tried to make their team worse every offseason to remain in the bottom of the standings.

Now like I said it does sound like a good plan in theory and if that option was on the table I would have definitely considered it. But it would have probably required the Leafs to remove at least 2 of JVR, Kadri, and Gardiner. That hasn't happened. It would have also helped if the Leafs went into this season with below-average goaltending, and the team actively went out to improve their goaltending situation this summer. So to me those decisions signal that the team isn't really going to follow that plan. So we may as well consider the other options.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Significantly Insignificant on August 09, 2016, 08:38:25 PM

I think if we're talking about how the Leafs need to improve to become contenders then the quality of their depth defensemen is pretty low on the list. Not in the sense that it shouldn't be a high priority(although that's probably true too) but in the sense that there's really not much of a gap between the Leafs and the better teams in the league.

The Penguins won the cup with Ian Cole and Justin Schultz(and occasionally Maata or Pouliot) on their bottom pairing. The Sharks made the final with Polak and somebody named Brenden Dillon in that role. Marincin, Carrick and Hunwick seem roughly of that general quality and Polak is actually here so that seems pretty settled.

The really big question going forward is in the top 4. Whether or not Rielly can become a #1, will Gardiner continue to improve and just what, if anything, Zaitsev becomes. There weren't really any quick fixes for the top four available this year and even drafting where the Leafs did(outside of Matthews) would have yielded longshots.

Right now this year is probably going to be another developmental one with a bottom 10 finish. With any luck they can do well in the lottery and hopefully add a high end defensive prospect next summer.

That's a very good point.

The Penguins winning defense had some caveats, right? They had a true #1 in Letang chugging up 30ish minutes a night. Sports radio pundits were generally concerned about the sustainability of that (pretty much from preseason and on), but their corps were bolstered as well by premiere goaltending and (eventually) a strategy that sheltered them with strong forward support.

Have there been any (established/projected) top-2 defensemen of the caliber and age we covet hitting the market since the lockout? Seth Jones? The Hall-Larsson trade hopefully is not a price-setting precedent.

Just to add to the Penguins argument, if you look at the Blackhawks last cup win, the defence was really powered by Duncan Keith playing 30 minutes a night.  It seems that you need to have that #1 d-man that can play 30 minutes a night, and then a couple of pretty good d-men to round out a top 3 so to speak.  I think that Reilly and Gardiner fall in to that really good category, but they are still lacking that defenceman that can log heavy minutes in all situations.     
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Nik the Trik on August 09, 2016, 11:17:31 PM
What's the cut-off point, i.e. when we begin 'wasting' Matthews/Nylander/Marner/Rielly? Presumably their peak (if history holds true) is around the 24-26 year old mark, so that's around 4-6 years from now for the forwards, coinciding with Rielly's later peak as a defenseman. The best bang for the buck years comes earlier than that though.

I'm excited about all four of those players and think they all have the potential to become players who make you think about things like taking full advantage of their peak years but none of them, not even collectively, are more important than the Leafs doing this properly.

I watched the Quinn years. They were fun, with a lot of great moments but I don't think there's anything aspirational about building a team of also-rans without real options for taking the next step.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Nik the Trik on August 09, 2016, 11:46:52 PM
Now don't get me wrong though, I do love your plan in theory. I would absolutely take another 2 or 3 seasons at the bottom of the standings if it meant we got to continue accumulating high draft picks and high-potential prospects. I just never felt that was realistic, or something other teams have done successfully before. Teams like PIT/CHI/LA were bad for the right amount of time, and got very lucky with their draft selections, and they allowed their group to improve naturally over time. I don't really think they actively tried to make their team worse every offseason to remain in the bottom of the standings.

See, I don't think those teams did get particularly lucky with their draft selections and I think that you're underestimating how long they were bad for. Each of those teams has someone like Barker on their resume as they muddled through the bottom of the league. I mentioned Barker and Hickey, for Pittsburgh it's Whitney. Pittsburgh had five straight years of top 5 picks and those picks yielded two superstars, two decent but unspectacular players and one not very good player. The Kings 2004-2008 draft history is also one with just as many misses on first rounders as it is hits.

So to me those teams aren't really stories about how "good" teams only have to rebuild for a year or two, it's that when patience(or incompetence, both might apply) begins to pay off it can pay off in a hurry. You're right that those teams weren't playing with house money the way this Leafs' team is and a lot of their success was borne out of necessity rather than strategy but I don't think that changes that they only took off once the right pieces were in place.

So, sure, the Leafs didn't have to trade JVR or Kadri the way the bankrupt Penguins had to shed everything they had but I don't think that luxury makes half-measures any better a strategy.

Now like I said it does sound like a good plan in theory and if that option was on the table I would have definitely considered it. But it would have probably required the Leafs to remove at least 2 of JVR, Kadri, and Gardiner. That hasn't happened. It would have also helped if the Leafs went into this season with below-average goaltending, and the team actively went out to improve their goaltending situation this summer. So to me those decisions signal that the team isn't really going to follow that plan. So we may as well consider the other options.

Sure, and I am. And it really is only after careful consideration that I've arrived at "You probably need a real legit top 15 #1 D and they're almost impossible to find outside of the draft, ergo, be bad for a few more years and use more high draft picks on high ceiling defensemen and fewer on 37 year old Russian forwards and trading for goalies". 

Short of that, their best hope is to develop multiple top level forwards and peel one off and try to make a trade for as good as a defenseman as you can find. The Hall trade calls that into question as a good value proposition maybe but I still think that was exacerbated by Edmonton's particular handicaps. I think if signing free agents was less of a problem for Edmonton then Hall would have at least turned into Shattenkirk.

I'm really not trying to sound dogmatic or didactic here. I just think it's important to maintain that the option to proceed at the bottom for a while wass available to this group(and still is! JVR's still ripe for a tradin') and that their seemingly choosing not to take it is probably a bad decision on their part.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on August 10, 2016, 09:25:14 AM
I'm excited about all four of those players and think they all have the potential to become players who make you think about things like taking full advantage of their peak years but none of them, not even collectively, are more important than the Leafs doing this properly.

I watched the Quinn years. They were fun, with a lot of great moments but I don't think there's anything aspirational about building a team of also-rans without real options for taking the next step.

That's a good point about the Quinn years. I loved (most of) that team and those playoff series against Ottawa (ha) made me a fan for life, but never once did I believe they had what it took to take it all the way. I hated the way they sold the farm and piled on name players to push them over the top, when really they were just adding more players that were over the hill.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on August 11, 2016, 10:33:37 AM
http://theleafsnation.com/2016/8/10/on-handedness-and-the-maple-leafs-defence-corps

Quote
As Galamini has pointed out in his written work, shot handedness on the point is one of those things that has a proven value. Back in March, he wrote a piece on Hockey-Graphs (https://hockey-graphs.com/2016/03/04/quantifying-the-importance-of-handedness/) where he mapped out the value of playing on your natural side.

His findings were as follows.

Quote
It turns out that an unsuitably handed defenseman must have a CorsiRel that is greater than or equal to 6.83 Corsi events / 60 better than a suitably handed alternative in order to be the better option to pair with a partner-less defenseman on the roster."

That's an incredibly steep number, considering that any +6.83 relative Corsi defenceman would be praised as being near the top of their class. For those who are more interested in the "eye test" than the numbers, there's a lot of logic backing the end result of this.

Curious as to what kind of impact this made on the Leafs, I took a look at how they did this year when deploying two left-handed defencemen compared to using a left-handed player with a right-handed one.

SituationCFCACF%CF%RelTOICF60CA60
Left+Left2105210050.06-1.292114.1359.7559.6
Left+Right1441136051.450.111486.7358.1654.89
The gap is pretty decent; not quite as big as the one that Dominic saw while using the league-wide, 8-year data, but you can see that the Leafs do a better job of suppressing shots when they have a right-handed player (Roman Polak, Connor Carrick, or Frank Corrado) on the right side. I wondered what could be keeping the left-handed shooters this close, especially when you consider that Hunwick/Rielly was the team's de-facto first pair.

SituationCFCACF%CF%RelTOICF60CA60
Jake Gardiner + Left   83271853.682.34777.8364.1855.39
Jake Gardiner + Right47545351.19-0.16500.9856.8954.26
But then it hit me. Jake Gardiner breaks everything. The 26-year-old was the one sent out to make Dion Phaneuf look good, and it worked in spades; the two put up a 52.9% CF over 572 minutes before the former captain was traded to Ottawa. He also made basically everyone he played with better on both sides of the ice. It blows my mind that this fanbase still questions the kid; he is objectively the cheat code of this defensive corps.

So Rielly has been our defacto 1D kid, but he's still quite raw. Gardiner, however, is magic and we need to bottle whatever he's doing.

Of the three big trade chips (JvR, Kadri, Gardiner), Gardiner was the one I wanted to keep the most. Do you think we can re-sign him to a friendly contract due to his suppressed box stats?
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Nik the Trik on August 11, 2016, 10:42:14 AM

It's funny, the LHD/RHD stuff makes a ton of sense but it's still hard to absorb given how little it was talked about back in the day.

And I'm guessing Gardiner will be in line for a pretty healthy raise if the team improves.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on August 12, 2016, 09:25:52 AM
More Jake vs Morgan has hit the pipeline!

http://akiblog.org/taking-closer-look-morgan-riellys-defensive-game/
via /r/leafs

I don't know this blog, but this is some pretty good stuff!
Quote
Gardiner doesnt find himself in [the situation of giving an opponent a tonne of room] very often because he steps up on the opposition as they cross the blue line. By stepping up, I dont necessarily mean to make a hit, I just mean he puts pressure on the opponent and limits his options by directing him to the outside using body and stick positioning, like this.

(http://i0.wp.com/akiblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Screen-Shot-2016-08-11-at-3.26.42-PM.png?resize=300%2C277)

(http://i0.wp.com/akiblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Screen-Shot-2016-08-11-at-3.55.21-PM.png?resize=296%2C241)

Once again, the back pressure from Komarov is a huge help here, but Gardiner pivots with Shaw and gives him only one place to go. Shaw ends up blindly throwing the puck across the ice and into the far corner, where Polak picks the puck up (shudder) and the threat is over.

He refers to the gap control/speed-matching and body positioning that I originally felt was readily coachable (further up thread), but there are clearly innate skills involved in judging incoming speeds and instincts around body angles and stick disruption.

The Rielly screenshots show a player who is still a bit tentative about making defensive mistakes (lack of trust?), and thus backs up on plays when he should be aggressive instead.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Bullfrog on August 12, 2016, 09:32:31 AM
http://theleafsnation.com/2016/8/10/on-handedness-and-the-maple-leafs-defence-corps

So Rielly has been our defacto 1D kid, but he's still quite raw. Gardiner, however, is magic and we need to bottle whatever he's doing.

Of the three big trade chips (JvR, Kadri, Gardiner), Gardiner was the one I wanted to keep the most. Do you think we can re-sign him to a friendly contract due to his suppressed box stats?

A lot can happen in three years, but even if he simply maintains what he does now, I suspect he'll be getting an increase.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on August 23, 2016, 02:31:49 PM
https://mapleleafshotstove.com/2016/08/23/toronto-maple-leafs-system-analysis-the-power-play/

More great MLHS content. Analysis of the Leafs' PP breakout and zone entry strategy shows the heavy reliance on our back-end mobility.

Quote
The two-punch drop pass game plan is what the Leafs primarily build their breakout around. Either, a) Rielly/Gardiner is able to back off the forecheck with speed before dropping it to a forward to skate in, or b) the opponent plays the drop pass and Rielly/Gardiner try to skate it in clean, or c) Rielly/Gardiner skates it in as far as he can before passing to one of the wingers on the wall. Everyone has a role.

It is not overly complicated, but it doesnt have to be. Some teams implement a minimum of five different breakouts and never use the same one twice in the same power play play. For Toronto, with this punch and counter-punch combo, its largely unnecessary. Teams cant play both, and the penalty killers gaps cant make up the difference for the speed of the quarterbacks and the drop pass; when the breakout breaks down is when the player leading the rush makes the wrong read. I suspect the staff will add more layers to their breakout over time, as their group matures.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on August 24, 2016, 09:47:37 AM
http://theleafsnation.com/2016/8/23/will-roman-polak-play-for-the-marlies-this-season

This would assuage my trepidations greatly.

Quote
Let's get back to my earlier question: why would the Leafs give a $2.25M contract to a player they expect to be a healthy scratch for most of the season?  Well, if that's what they expected it would be very strange.  But what if that's not the plan?  What if the plan is for him to play for the Marlies?

In that case, the $2.25M kind of makes sense.  In order to play for the Marlies, Roman Polak would have to pass through waivers.  At a low contract value (say, $1M) there's a reasonable chance that a team would claim him.  By the beginning of the NHL season, there will almost certainly be some NHL team that has injuries on defence and could use a cheap replacement.  But $2.25M is a very high cap hit for a waiver claim, especially if it's a player who you only see as a temporary injury replacement.  So by giving Polak a higher cap hit than his roster spot would seem to suggest he should have, you can protect him from waiver claims.

Polak in the minors recoups 950k on the cap, which pays for Zaitsev and change. On top of that, there is a dearth of RHD on the Marlies at the moment and Polak has the best chances between him, Corrado, and Carrick of passing through waivers.

NHL teams could still pick him up at the deadline on the cheap for depth on their playoff drives, knowing he can at least hold down a 5/6 position and play a simple game.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Bullfrog on August 24, 2016, 11:20:33 AM
I suppose it's possible, but that seems like a stretch to me.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: CarltonTheBear on August 24, 2016, 11:26:20 AM
There's a few reason I doubt that's plausible, but the biggest one for me is that I really can't see Polak agreeing to it. And I doubt the Leafs would have signed him for that role without talking to him about it.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Tigger on August 24, 2016, 11:34:08 AM
Even the author admits it's pretty unlikely.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on August 24, 2016, 12:43:19 PM
In ascending order of how mad I would be if these things happened:
;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D: Polak and Hunwick traded for Ristolainen/Lindholm
;D: Polak or Hunwick traded for late picks
8): Polak or Hunwick sent to minors
:o: Zaitsev is a bust and sent to minors
:(: Corrado lost on waivers
>:(: Marincin lost on waivers
>:( >:( >:( >:( >:( :'(: Carrick lost on waivers
So Furious (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFRTka15Kq4): Gardiner or Rielly lost on waivers
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: hockeyfan1 on August 25, 2016, 11:50:42 AM
In ascending order of how mad I would be if these things happened:
;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D: Polak and Hunwick traded for Ristolainen/Lindholm
;D: Polak or Hunwick traded for late picks
8): Polak or Hunwick sent to minors
:o: Zaitsev is a bust and sent to minors
:(: Corrado lost on waivers
>:(: Marincin lost on waivers
>:( >:( >:( >:( >:( :'(: Carrick lost on waivers
So Furious (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFRTka15Kq4): Gardiner or Rielly lost on waivers


That's something I don't see happening.  :D
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on August 25, 2016, 12:51:55 PM
That's something I don't see happening.  :D

That's a logjam I'd be happy for the Leafs to have.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on September 06, 2016, 11:00:45 AM
We should love Gardiner more.

http://theleafsnation.com/2016/9/6/jake-gardiner-is-really-good-defensively

Quote
If you were to ask people around the NHL what Jake Gardiner is good at, you'd probably hear a lot of things related to his offensive abilities.  Earlier this year James Reimer said that Gardiner has a rare aptitude for passing.  Writing for the Canadian Press last fall, Stephen Whyno described Gardiner as a "young, smooth-skating, offensive-minded" defenceman but added that he "could be an adventure in the defensive zone."  I think those comments are representative of the general opinion about Jake: he's a talented skater who's got great vision, but he hurts his team when he doesn't have the puck.

Conventional wisdom on Gardiner, however, is wrong.  While he struggled a bit early on in his NHL career, over the past few seasons Gardiner has been one of the most reliable players in the league at reducing the burden faced by his team's goalie.  The same skills that Gardiner uses to generate offence, like his skating and his vision, help him keep the puck away from his own net.

Is Gardiner the #1LHD we've had all along? Or is he merely the Kadri of the defense corps who elevates everyone else's play and has steady very good but sub-elite production?
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Nik the Trik on September 06, 2016, 01:04:17 PM

I know we've beaten this to death already but every time I see one of these "You think Gardiner isn't good defensively? Well look at these possession/shot analytics!" arguments it's like watching a political panel on US cable news with two partisans yelling at each other.

Like, I get the point but the people making these cases are smart. They know that's not what's being argued or, at least, they really should.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: hockeyfan1 on September 07, 2016, 04:31:01 AM
We should love Gardiner more.

http://theleafsnation.com/2016/9/6/jake-gardiner-is-really-good-defensively

Quote
If you were to ask people around the NHL what Jake Gardiner is good at, you'd probably hear a lot of things related to his offensive abilities.  Earlier this year James Reimer said that Gardiner has a rare aptitude for passing.  Writing for the Canadian Press last fall, Stephen Whyno described Gardiner as a "young, smooth-skating, offensive-minded" defenceman but added that he "could be an adventure in the defensive zone."  I think those comments are representative of the general opinion about Jake: he's a talented skater who's got great vision, but he hurts his team when he doesn't have the puck.

Conventional wisdom on Gardiner, however, is wrong.  While he struggled a bit early on in his NHL career, over the past few seasons Gardiner has been one of the most reliable players in the league at reducing the burden faced by his team's goalie.  The same skills that Gardiner uses to generate offence, like his skating and his vision, help him keep the puck away from his own net.

Is Gardiner the #1LHD we've had all along? Or is he merely the Kadri of the defense corps who elevates everyone else's play and has steady very good but sub-elite production?


He is a little bit of both.

(As for the bolder quote), perhaps it (his skillset) or he, is a little bit unique that regard -- his 'strengths' helping his 'weaknesses' or vice versa.
Unique once again, and diverse. 
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Significantly Insignificant on September 07, 2016, 08:54:44 AM
Jake Gardiner reminds me of Bret Hedican.  Probably a little more offensively gifted than Hedican, but still similar in terms of probable career arc.  He's a top four d-man in the NHL, which is a really good thing to have.  Going down the path of trying to make him something that he is not is probably not going to end well for the Leafs.

It's funny that the minute a d-man is tabbed as being "smooth skating", it's instantly assumed that they are going to put up close to PPG numbers. 
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on September 07, 2016, 09:32:13 AM
My earlier impressions of Gardiner were that he had all the physical tools to excel as an offensive defenseman, but sometimes it looked like the game outpaced his thinking. I've since come to see it was both a game-speed adaptation and a byproduct of the systems he played under, where defensemen were routinely hung out to dry in extended DZ shifts.

These past couple of seasons has shown me he is now out-thinking the game; i.e. not merely reacting to the play, but creating through the incoming flow. I think he still needs to work on speeding up his shot release from the point, and maybe start playing a little less deferentially (Kaberle-esque).

He hasn't quite reached 1D ice time yet, but it'll be interesting to see how they deploy him (and how he fares) now that Phaneuf is no longer anchoring him (down). I think he can routinely hit 24+ min at this point the way he plays the game but I have no substantiation for that.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Highlander on September 07, 2016, 10:49:32 AM
Its hard to believe but 4 years have passed since I attended a Tampa Game which Leafs won 3-1. Gardiner was a revelation in that game, I believe he scored a goal and set up Lombardi with a beaut as well and looked like a great player all night. Then a lot of year passed and I still really like Gardiner but the potential we saw that night has never really materialized. Perhaps his muse was on that game and we have seen a lot of wonderful things from him, but that night he looked like a superstar.  Hope he can step into the skates again on a far more frequent basis.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on October 03, 2016, 11:59:19 AM
It's only halfway through preseason but here are a few things from the backend that are immediately clear to me:
1) Rielly is going to go beast mode. It will be amazeballs.
2) Gardiner is awesome as usual. Carry on.
3) Hunwick and Polak are not good even in sheltered roles, as they have no puck poise at all and provide the opposite of veteran stability. I would much rather have some younger players learning the game and taking their lumps. I dearly hope they do not lose a Carrick/Corrado/Marincin because of these two.
4) Zaitsev comes as advertised. Is there still much of a growth curve for a 25 year old? I think so, for defensemen at least.
5) Carrick. I think Babcock giving Carrick what he gave Rielly last year would be very good for his development. We know he can play well with the puck, so let's see him improve without it.
6) Corrado. I think last season's rest and recovery and strengthening have done a world of good for him. I wish he had more time in the AHL, but he will still be a very good 6/7 option. He's got more offensive instincts than he's given credit for.
7) Marincin. Quietly good. Ironing out some skating quirks and building confidence in his shot will round out his game nicely.
8 ) Valiev and Loov need more AHL seasoning. I know Valiev is better than he has shown so far.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: louisstamos on October 03, 2016, 12:08:06 PM
It's only halfway through preseason but here are a few things from the backend that are immediately clear to me:
1) Rielly is going to go beast mode. It will be amazeballs.
2) Gardiner is awesome as usual. Carry on.
3) Hunwick and Polak are not good even in sheltered roles, as they have no puck poise at all and provide the opposite of veteran stability. I would much rather have some younger players learning the game and taking their lumps. I dearly hope they do not lose a Carrick/Corrado/Marincin because of these two.
4) Zaitsev comes as advertised. Is there still much of a growth curve for a 25 year old? I think so, for defensemen at least.
5) Carrick. I think Babcock giving Carrick what he gave Rielly last year would be very good for his development. We know he can play well with the puck, so let's see him improve without it.
6) Corrado. I think last season's rest and recovery and strengthening have done a world of good for him. I wish he had more time in the AHL, but he will still be a very good 6/7 option. He's got more offensive instincts than he's given credit for.
7) Marincin. Quietly good. Ironing out some skating quirks and building confidence in his shot will round out his game nicely.
8 ) Valiev and Loov need more AHL seasoning. I know Valiev is better than he has shown so far.

Yeah, the Polak move to me is still a headscratcher, but I guess they wanted the depth just in case (and Babcock certainly loved him last year).  Hunwick had a very good start to last year, but tapered off - to the point where I think Marincin allowed Rielly to have better numbers than he did.  But considering the points he's putting in this preseason, you have to think he'll still make the team.

It'll be interesting to see what happens next week.  Think the team carries 8 defensemen?
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Frank E on October 03, 2016, 12:08:13 PM
So it seems season starts a week from Wednesday...when do final rosters have to be set?
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Nik the Trik on October 03, 2016, 12:15:29 PM
Yeah, the Polak move to me is still a headscratcher, but I guess they wanted the depth just in case (and Babcock certainly loved him last year).  Hunwick had a very good start to last year, but tapered off - to the point where I think Marincin allowed Rielly to have better numbers than he did.  But considering the points he's putting in this preseason, you have to think he'll still make the team.

Polak makes a certain degree of sense if the team is planning another asset sell-off around the deadline. I suppose an argument could be made that his stock is significantly down from last year but I really do wonder in the long run if someone like Corrado is really more valuable than what Polak could fetch in a trade if he at least appears competent.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: bustaheims on October 04, 2016, 11:44:55 AM
So it seems season starts a week from Wednesday...when do final rosters have to be set?

Noon the day before the first game (to allow for players on waivers to clear).
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Frank E on October 04, 2016, 11:48:28 AM
So it seems season starts a week from Wednesday...when do final rosters have to be set?

Noon the day before the first game (to allow for players on waivers to clear).

Thanks busta...so 1 week from today.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on October 04, 2016, 09:36:18 PM
Babcock says Zaitsev will be paired with Hunwick, because Hunwick is his best teacher on the ice (better than a coach). Best teacher at how to cover for your partner, I guess.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: CarltonTheBear on October 04, 2016, 10:07:00 PM
Every coach has a blindspot.

Wonder what this means for Rielly. Back on the right side with Marincin, or does he get one of Carrick/Corrado/Polak?
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on October 04, 2016, 10:38:22 PM
Not sure exactly, but Zaitsev is playing with Rielly tonight.

Seems a bit like the lineup tonight is a trial run of a some more finalized ideas (Gardiner - Carrick).
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on October 14, 2016, 09:43:14 PM
Rielly not on PP lines (as previously discussed on the GdT):

http://www.tsn.ca/andersen-thankful-for-leafs-vote-of-confidence-1.585423
Quote
Rielly didn't have a role on the power play in Wednesday's opener and has not practised on the man advantage the last two days. Jake Gardiner and Nikita Zaitsev have been the quarterbacks on Babcock's four-forward units. The coach was coy when asked whether, like last year, Rielly may get more power-play time later in the season.

"Yeah, (smiles) sure," Babcock said. Is he worried about overworking Rielly, who played a team-high 25:45 against the Senators? "I guess, how would I say this, Riels and I have talked," Babcock said with a grin. "How's that."

In the past, the left-handed Rielly has been asked to play on the right side, but it appears that will not happen as much this season.

"I like Rielly on the left way better and so that's why we're trying to play him there as much as we can," Babcock said. That means that lefty Martin Marincin will have to play primarily on the right unless Babcock makes a change in pairings or personnel.

If we are going to run Rielly on the left, why trot out Marincin at all in a sub-optimal position when Corrado is languishing in the press box?
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on October 18, 2016, 01:34:48 PM

Queue the 4-goal outburst from Roman Polak this next game (maybe).
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Highlander on October 18, 2016, 04:17:05 PM
When with Roman do as the Matthews does.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Kaberle15 on October 18, 2016, 04:20:40 PM
When with Roman do as the Matthews does.
Probably the next in line to score 4 goals in one game...
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: cabber24 on October 18, 2016, 04:34:21 PM
Rielly not on PP lines (as previously discussed on the GdT):

http://www.tsn.ca/andersen-thankful-for-leafs-vote-of-confidence-1.585423
Quote
Rielly didn't have a role on the power play in Wednesday's opener and has not practised on the man advantage the last two days. Jake Gardiner and Nikita Zaitsev have been the quarterbacks on Babcock's four-forward units. The coach was coy when asked whether, like last year, Rielly may get more power-play time later in the season.

"Yeah, (smiles) sure," Babcock said. Is he worried about overworking Rielly, who played a team-high 25:45 against the Senators? "I guess, how would I say this, Riels and I have talked," Babcock said with a grin. "How's that."

In the past, the left-handed Rielly has been asked to play on the right side, but it appears that will not happen as much this season.

"I like Rielly on the left way better and so that's why we're trying to play him there as much as we can," Babcock said. That means that lefty Martin Marincin will have to play primarily on the right unless Babcock makes a change in pairings or personnel.

If we are going to run Rielly on the left, why trot out Marincin at all in a sub-optimal position when Corrado is languishing in the press box?
Play him on the damn PP! Reilly is our guy, if he's not, add 4 years to the rebuild.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on October 20, 2016, 04:35:38 PM
Quote
The isolation of Hunwick is already underway. Safe to bet this will continue to get worse. #Leafs
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CvOexTUXEAAh4wz.jpg)
Sean Tierney (@SeanTierneyTss) October 20, 2016
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Crake on October 20, 2016, 04:50:28 PM
Quote
The isolation of Hunwick is already underway. Safe to bet this will continue to get worse. #Leafs
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CvOexTUXEAAh4wz.jpg)
Sean Tierney (@SeanTierneyTss) October 20, 2016
So how does one read this chart? Is Zaitsev bad but fun or fun and just not as good as Gardiner? Is Gardiner good and dull?
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Highlander on October 20, 2016, 04:52:10 PM
On the Lupul scale, Zaitzev is 10 out of 10 on fun, 2 out of 10 on English. Gardiner 7 on fun, 1 on baseball and who is on first. I dunno.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on October 20, 2016, 04:58:27 PM
So how does one read this chart? Is Zaitsev bad but fun or fun and just not as good as Gardiner? Is Gardiner good and dull?

The x-axis measure Chances Against/60, while the y-axis measures Chances For/60.

Good = Higher chances for + Lower chances against
Fun = High chances for + High chances against
Dull = Low chances for + Low chances against
Bad = Low chances for + High chances against

Good: Carrick, Gardiner
Good Fun: Rielly
Fun: Marincin, Zaitsev
Dull: No one
Bad: Hunwick
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Significantly Insignificant on October 20, 2016, 05:00:36 PM
So how does one read this chart? Is Zaitsev bad but fun or fun and just not as good as Gardiner? Is Gardiner good and dull?

The x-axis measure Chances Against/60, while the y-axis measures Chances For/60.

Good = Higher chances for + Lower chances against
Fun = High chances for + High chances against
Dull = Low chances for + Low chances against
Bad = Low chances for + High chances against

Good: Carrick, Gardiner
Good Fun: Rielly
Fun: Marincin, Zaitsev
Dull: No one
Bad: Hunwick

Leafs could have used some dull in the third last night.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on October 21, 2016, 12:11:26 PM
(http://hockeyviz.com/static/img/player/wowy/1617/TOR/wowy-1617-TOR-hunwima85-shots.png)

The chart shows the player #s With or Without You CF60/CA60 relative to Hunwick. See previous post for determining what Good, Fun, Dull, and Bad mean.

Black boxes show when they are playing with Hunwick, Red is when they're not with Hunwick, and Blue is what Hunwick's numbers are with each player. The table on the right shows the number of minutes played with and without our good buddy Hunwick.

I hate to dump on a player (especially in small sample sizes), but this is a problem. Only Rielly and Gardiner are doing okay with him, but that's because they've only spent 3 minutes (~10 shifts) with him. Poor Zaitsev...
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: TBLeafer on October 21, 2016, 12:21:59 PM
Play him on the damn PP! Reilly is our guy, if he's not, add 4 years to the rebuild.

I've heard and seen much chatter with fans and media over Rielly not being used on the PP right now and all of the hockey world is like, "what"?

I have little doubt in my mind that he will be QB'ing the 1PP soon. Babs knows he's more than capable like the rest of us.

What I see happening is the 10 game regular season "audition" to see who the next best D option(s) are. Is it Gards? Zaitsev? Carrick? Will the 1PP run with 4 forwards and the 2PP with three forwards?

Discoveries are happening. Give it time. Things are bound to change when November hits and the roster solidifies.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: WhatIfGodWasALeaf on October 21, 2016, 12:54:30 PM
(http://hockeyviz.com/static/img/player/wowy/1617/TOR/wowy-1617-TOR-hunwima85-shots.png)

The chart shows the player #s With or Without You CF60/CA60 relative to Hunwick. See previous post for determining what Good, Fun, Dull, and Bad mean.

Black boxes show when they are playing with Hunwick, Red is when they're not with Hunwick, and Blue is what Hunwick's numbers are with each player. The table on the right shows the number of minutes played with and without our good buddy Hunwick.

I hate to dump on a player (especially in small sample sizes), but this is a problem. Only Rielly and Gardiner are doing okay with him, but that's because they've only spent 3 minutes (~10 shifts) with him. Poor Zaitsev...

Thanks for posting herman, it's definitely a case of the eyeball test matching the numbers.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on October 21, 2016, 01:37:09 PM
Babcock on Polak from last night's post-game:
Quote
I thought he was real steady, played real hard, and we know what he is. He played for us last yea, he competes hard for us, he's a real good penalty killer, he's a real good man, a team leader, and as hard as it is on him, you know, we're trying to figure out what we got here and he knows that.
Full video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3BR2A8DImU). Transcription is by me, so if there are errors, that's my bad.

Jibes with off-season comments that Polak was brought in as a depth defenseman, rather than the primary 5/6 option (that I initially feared).

I think he will be cycling in with Corrado for Carrick and if necessary Zaitsev to distribute the load. Makes sense to me, since we were coming into the season with 3 psuedo rookies on the right side.

Unfortunately we don't have that kind of flexibility on Hunwick's side, especially with Marincin sort of out.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on October 31, 2016, 03:27:46 PM
Hunwick has downgraded from day-to-day to being placed on the IR.

Tuesday would be a good day to (finally) play Corrado, as we're more likely to be outsped at times, rather than outsized/outmuscled.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Kaberle15 on October 31, 2016, 04:27:14 PM
Hunwick has downgraded from day-to-day to being placed on the IR.

So anytime now he could end up on Robida's Island...  ;D
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on November 22, 2016, 11:38:45 AM
Okay, y'all need to see all of these, because hockeyviz.com is a wonderful tool for processing shot/possession data. 18 game sample size (for most), so it might be a bit spiky still. I'm choosing the WOWYs because no player acts in a vacuum so possession statistics make more sense in context.

Same as the above, these are score-adjusted projections per 60 min.

Rielly:
(http://hockeyviz.com/static/img/player/wowy/1617/TOR/wowy-1617-TOR-riellmo94-shots.png)
Tasked with the shutdown role again this year to develop his defensive game, Rielly is starting the year much the same as last year: largely dependable, but high event in both directions. Gardiner was also a high event player up until 2014 (6 years after being drafted in 2008). This could be the year he turns the corner under a stable defensive system and partner. See that number 34 in the top right corner too?

Zaitsev: (no data)
You can extrapolate Zaitsev a bit from where he shows up on his teammates' charts. He has worked well with Rielly, and during his stint with Marincin, but is not Gardiner enough to prop up Hunwick. So glad that experiment is over with.

Gardiner: <3 <3 <3
(http://hockeyviz.com/static/img/player/wowy/1617/TOR/wowy-1617-TOR-gardija90-shots.png)
Viewers might pick on those moments that Gardiner coughs up the puck at the offensive blueline trying to thread a pass, or when he gets turned around at the red line and the puck skips over to a wide open trailer for a tap in, but the numbers don't lie. Gardiner is a CORSI-god. Everyone is better with him, even bad players, and worse without. This may be a function of the cushy minutes Babcock gives him against secondary opposition, but he was doing this against top lines last year with Phaneuf too. He does this by being able to hang onto the puck for precious extra seconds to make better decisions (most of the time), and his skating allows him to generate more options.

He hasn't broken 40 pts in his career, so if we can keep him on a Rielly-esque deal, I can't argue with that.

Carrick: <3 <3 <3
(http://hockeyviz.com/static/img/player/wowy/1617/TOR/wowy-1617-TOR-carrico94-shots.png)
I loved Winnik, and I love him even more for helping us land Carrick. Don't ever split him and Gardiner up, unless we get a Trouba+ to bump Zaitsev down. Like Gardiner, he is a great skater and puck handler, but with a more offense-oriented style. He plays bigger than he is, and probably more physically engaged than he needs to be (checking means it takes more time to get back to position). Like the rest of our top 4, he has the intelligence to process and contribute in the more dynamic style the Leafs are playing this season (and going forward forever and ever I hope).

Polak:
(http://hockeyviz.com/static/img/player/wowy/1617/TOR/wowy-1617-TOR-polakro86-shots.png)
Opposite of Gardiner/Carrick. Do you know why his numbers are so bad, even though he always seems to be the one taking long bomb shots from the line every time? Because the puck on his stick is treated like a bomb. Polak's lack of lateral agility means he can't skate out of trouble. His game style is too straight forward to hold the puck for longer than 1 second, and he has to chip out (and turn the puck over) at the first sign of forecheck.

Marincin:
(http://hockeyviz.com/static/img/player/wowy/1617/TOR/wowy-1617-TOR-marinma92-shots.png)
Marincin has regressed from last year, where even his shot suppression ability appears to be on the fritz. There's more panic to his game now. I suspect it's the fact that his outlets are more dynamic this year than last year, so he's may be overthinking. His reactions are not as instinctive as before once the puck crosses the blueline. Still very good at disrupting incursions, but once it gets through, he's stuck.

Hunwick:
(http://hockeyviz.com/static/img/player/wowy/1617/TOR/wowy-1617-TOR-hunwima85-shots.png)
Hunwick has reached meme status for both routinely obstructing his goaltender and not obstructing opposing forwards at all. He's a standstill defender and has further lost a step both on his skates and in processing game flow since last season. Still pretty good on the PK with Polak, since all that requires is blocking and icing the puck. Like Polak, he has a lot of difficulty with the E-W game that the league is shifting back towards.

Corrado: No data
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate on November 22, 2016, 02:00:27 PM
Thanks for that mass of data, herman.  What does it all translate to?  Do you think the team is better defensively this year, and if so has it translated into nonadvanced stats like GA?
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on November 22, 2016, 02:32:24 PM
Thanks for that mass of data, herman.  What does it all translate to?  Do you think the team is better defensively this year, and if so has it translated into nonadvanced stats like GA?

It's still early. These stats are more descriptive than predictive at this stage, and it's hard to say how deployment will be affected going forward.  Barring injury, I think Babcock is going to ride Rielly/Zaitsev, Gardiner/Carrick, Hunwick-Polak until something breaks.

This year, we're giving up way more chances than last year; Andersen's pre-season injury and lack of training camp made that wonderfully apparent on the scoreboard. Half of our defense is good to great offensively and serviceable/growing defensively. The other half is a tire fire burning in every direction. As much as we like to harp on Phaneuf, he was a stabilizing presence in the early part of last season and moving him out technically hurts us as a group in the short term.

Translating this all into a GA prediction is not something I'm equipped to handle, other than to say lower CA/60 logically leads to lower GA. Goals are such a percentage driven event that it's not really something teams have a direct control over, despite what the lay viewer believes. For example, can you say Auston Matthews is sucking because he hasn't scored in a dozen games?

What the team can control, however, are positioning, using the system to open up options with the puck, using the system reduce opponent options when we don't have the puck. What the players can do to fulfill those directives is always skate (edge work, conditioning, shift length discipline), and develop their individual puck skills (handling, shooting, passing). All of those things lead to preventing chances, generating our own chances.

We're a young team on the upswing with crappy veteran-anchors and every one is still learning what appears to be, according to Stephen Desrocher's experience with Rookie camps, an ever-evolving system. Overall, while our defense is slightly worse, our goaltending and offense are both (significantly) better.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate on November 22, 2016, 08:30:29 PM
Thanks man, you do impressive work.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: LuncheonMeat on November 23, 2016, 12:58:16 AM
Herman, I always appreciate your insight, thanks for that!
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on November 23, 2016, 08:59:20 AM
Thanks Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate and LuncheonMeat! The way I watch and enjoy the game has drastically changed (and improved I'd say) since participating in your discussions here, thanks to the community pool of knowledge, experience, and wisdom.

I found Corsi/Fenwick and all those percentages pretty intimidating a couple of years ago, but visualizations like HERO/WARRIOR charts, and these hockeyviz graphics (http://hockeyviz.com/howto) give the numbers the right kind of digestability for me to understand what they mean.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: TBLeafer on November 29, 2016, 11:57:05 AM
Thanks Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate and LuncheonMeat! The way I watch and enjoy the game has drastically changed (and improved I'd say) since participating in your discussions here, thanks to the community pool of knowledge, experience, and wisdom.

I found Corsi/Fenwick and all those percentages pretty intimidating a couple of years ago, but visualizations like HERO/WARRIOR charts, and these hockeyviz graphics (http://hockeyviz.com/howto) give the numbers the right kind of digestability for me to understand what they mean.

True dat, even when you're sotally tober!
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on December 01, 2016, 01:09:52 PM
https://hockeypdocast.com/2016/11/17/episode-116-keeping-up-or-get-left-behind/

Bret Hedican dropped by the HockeyPDOCast a couple of weeks ago to talk about how the game has changed for defensemen (this is shortly after Brent Burns signed his extension).

Defense is notoriously difficult to accurately assess statistically. Compounded with a shifting metagame of mixed philosophies, finding the right players is even harder now in a much faster game. Hedican gives a solid breakdown of what makeup of defenseman has become the new baseline in the first block of this podcast. A really good point he makes is that all the kids coming into the league now have never seen, let alone experienced, the clutch and grab era prior to the '04 lockout.

In other news, Samuel Girard has put up 33 pts (3/30) in 20 games so far with Shawinigan (QMJHL). He was drafted by the Predators 47th this past draft after leading the CHL in points for a defenseman last season (i.e. even more offense-driving than Rielly at his age). I hope we get to see him at the World Juniors on Team Canada this year.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: WhatIfGodWasALeaf on December 01, 2016, 01:35:01 PM
https://hockeypdocast.com/2016/11/17/episode-116-keeping-up-or-get-left-behind/

Bret Hedican dropped by the HockeyPDOCast a couple of weeks ago to talk about how the game has changed for defensemen (this is shortly after Brent Burns signed his extension).

Defense is notoriously difficult to accurately assess statistically. Compounded with a shifting metagame of mixed philosophies, finding the right players is even harder now in a much faster game. Hedican gives a solid breakdown of what makeup of defenseman has become the new baseline in the first block of this podcast. A really good point he makes is that all the kids coming into the league now have never seen, let alone experienced, the clutch and grab era prior to the '04 lockout.

In other news, Samuel Girard has put up 33 pts (3/30) in 20 games so far with Shawinigan (QMJHL). He was drafted by the Predators 47th this past draft after leading the CHL in points for a defenseman last season (i.e. even more offense-driving than Rielly at his age). I hope we get to see him at the World Juniors on Team Canada this year.

A bit unfair considering Rielly was hurt in his draft year.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on December 01, 2016, 01:48:17 PM
A bit unfair considering Rielly was hurt in his draft year.

Haha, I should have specified that I didn't mean his exact age. More like junior year they each played in general. Granted there are QMJHL and WHL differences in scoring rates.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Nik the Trik on December 01, 2016, 01:55:45 PM

Man, if only we had some sort of widely respected, urbane poster here urging the team to take Girard.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Frank E on December 01, 2016, 02:23:07 PM

Man, if only we had some sort of widely respected, urbane poster here urging the team to take Girard.

I'd probably just tell that poster that good Q point production doesn't necessarily translate to the NHL.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: CarltonTheBear on December 01, 2016, 02:56:52 PM

Man, if only we had some sort of widely respected, urbane poster here urging the team to take Girard.

Nashville's draft made me so jealous of them. 3 solid D picks to already add to one of the best defence groups in the league.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Nik the Trik on December 01, 2016, 06:22:38 PM
Nashville's draft made me so jealous of them. 3 solid D picks to already add to one of the best defence groups in the league.

If nothing else you wonder if the premium on good young defensemen these days makes it a particularly smart strategy to load up on them just in the hopes that you have solid trade bait.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on December 01, 2016, 06:24:32 PM
Nashville's draft made me so jealous of them. 3 solid D picks to already add to one of the best defence groups in the league.

If nothing else you wonder if the premium on good young defensemen these days makes it a particularly smart strategy to load up on them just in the hopes that you have solid trade bait.

Mobile RHD are the Leftie Pitchers of hockey.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: WhatIfGodWasALeaf on December 01, 2016, 06:26:21 PM
Nashville's draft made me so jealous of them. 3 solid D picks to already add to one of the best defence groups in the league.

If nothing else you wonder if the premium on good young defensemen these days makes it a particularly smart strategy to load up on them just in the hopes that you have solid trade bait.

Mobile RHD are the Leftie Pitchers of hockey.

#FreeCorrado
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Nik the Trik on December 01, 2016, 06:29:03 PM
Nashville's draft made me so jealous of them. 3 solid D picks to already add to one of the best defence groups in the league.

If nothing else you wonder if the premium on good young defensemen these days makes it a particularly smart strategy to load up on them just in the hopes that you have solid trade bait.

Mobile RHD are the Leftie Pitchers of hockey.

Pffft. We'll show them. 22 year old forwards are the real gems of the draft.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on December 14, 2016, 09:21:16 AM
It's not out yet, but Jack Han of the One Minute Tactics systems analysis videos is due to post up a breakdown of the Leafs' defensive zone coverage scheme on The Athletic some time today.

Invalid Tweet IDwww.twitter.com/ml_han/status/808816584986861569

The Leafs breakout scheme is pretty good. Our puck retrieval needs work and has resulted in the us having the 6th highest dump out rate (20.7%) this year, per SPORTLOGIQ (www.twitter.com/SPORTLOGiQ/status/808716542452125698).

I don't have an exact reference for this, other than Jack mentioning it on the latest TSN Hockey Analytics show, but most goals are generated within 6 seconds from controlled entries, or failed exits.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on December 14, 2016, 12:39:45 PM
https://theathletic.com/29885/2016/12/14/the-video-room-why-has-a-babcock-led-leafs-team-struggled-defensively/

Quote
The Leafs did not look sound defensively in several of the clips above, getting hemmed into their zone and giving up quality chances. A lot of the miscommunications shown would have been prevented had they played a more traditional, conservation coverage scheme. But I would argue that playing defence this way is precisely what the Leafs should be doing.

When Babcock a coach known for having coached some very strong defensive teams in Anaheim and Detroit arrived in Toronto, he stressed the importance of building a program, a team with a distinct identity, one that does not depend on specific players and that solidifies itself over time.

The front office that hired Babcock had already started amassing young, cheap, fast, skilled and small players to play a certain brand of hockey (think: William Nylander and Mitch Marner). When we put those two things together, we can see that these are not the late-Carlyle-era Leafs attempting to graft a swarm system onto an ill-fitting roster. Instead, there is a vision for how this team wants to play long term and a willingness to sacrifice present wins for future gains.

tl:dr;

The Leafs defensive scheme is a modified Swarm that relies on out-numbering the opponent in select areas to generate turnovers and exits. It is more complex than a traditional zone-D and requires players to be both positionally sound and attentive to their teammates and the developing play, requiring multiple reads and a lot of communication. It allows our smaller team to play bigger by committee.

It sort of explains why Polak and Hunwick, more traditional defenders, have difficulty with an active/roving soccer-like scheme. Part of the growing pains were evident in Andersen's first few games where the backdoor was left wide open because defenders attempted to stack one side, or there were indecisive moments behind the net leaving Andersen with no one to pass to.

The game is moving away from big hits and physical crease-clearing defense, and it's more about stripping the puck away with control and support.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on December 14, 2016, 01:18:35 PM
In light of the above, what's the point in casting traditionals in the bottom of the line up?

The defensive scheme, like the offensive tiki-taka breakouts/transitions and 'Total Hockey' pinch pressure points, seems to be all about calculated risks with support, taking numerical advantage where the evidence says the percentages are in your favour in the long run. I can see why they ponied up for a starting goalie (that gave Babcock comfort and security in Big Positional and Athletic Butterfly) in light of the changes up front (safety net).

What I can't see is why we wouldn't go all in on the process and develop more of the youth to ingraining the quick read and rote-decision making habits, instead opting to shoe-horn in players that play a more traditional, simplified chip-in/chip-out game. Are they too a safety net for when the more skilled players falter or work through the growing pains?
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: WhatIfGodWasALeaf on December 14, 2016, 02:07:38 PM
While I agree with you herman, that's how I'd go too, I wonder if they don't think they had the horses for the PK.

PK seems like the one area right now that requires a more traditional approach, I wonder if they are throwing Polak and Hunwick to the wolves a little in that regard while the rest learn and develop into physical specimens that can play PK and embrace the grind so to speak.

Again, it wouldn't be my approach, but it looks like it might be Babcock's for now.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on December 14, 2016, 02:19:06 PM
While I agree with you herman, that's how I'd go too, I wonder if they don't think they had the horses for the PK.

PK seems like the one area right now that requires a more traditional approach, I wonder if they are throwing Polak and Hunwick to the wolves a little in that regard while the rest learn and develop into physical specimens that can play PK and embrace the grind so to speak.

Again, it wouldn't be my approach, but it looks like it might be Babcock's for now.

I'd say you have a really good point there. The DZC scheme uses numbers to overcome any size/strength disadvantage, and obviously that'd be far less possible on the PK. Not quite knowing what he had in the rookies at the start, it makes sense to have some options in the vets.

Side note: Jonas Siegel posited another interesting reason for hanging on to some of these players a few Leafs Reports ago: guys like Hunwick and Smith (and I guess Polak) are not just real good pros, but total gym rats. "They are riippped..." according to Siegel.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Nik the Trik on December 14, 2016, 02:23:25 PM
Side note: Jonas Siegel posited another interesting reason for hanging on to some of these players a few Leafs Reports ago: guys like Hunwick and Smith (and I guess Polak) are not just real good pros, but total gym rats. "They are riippped..." according to Siegel.

I don't know how that dynamic specifically plays out but it does bring up the scourge of the analytic community. Either we give guys like Babcock some measure of rope in thinking that interpersonal dynamics have an effect or we don't.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on December 14, 2016, 04:39:01 PM
I don't know how that dynamic specifically plays out but it does bring up the scourge of the analytic community. Either we give guys like Babcock some measure of rope in thinking that interpersonal dynamics have an effect or we don't.

Let me clarify that it was Siegel spitballing ideas why Babcock might want to keep those guys around.

That being said, I'm not fully sure what you said, even though I understood the words.  ;D
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Highlander on December 14, 2016, 07:41:48 PM
I said Hey what?  ???
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: CarltonTheBear on December 15, 2016, 11:44:30 AM
So Babcock's thoughts on Hunlack, via Chris Johnson:

(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CzuwrCsXUAETA6K.jpg)

Babcock's a goals over corsi guy, we've already talked a bit about that so whatever. I'm most interested about his "they're the best PKers" line. Hunwick has the highest GA/60 on the team at 4v5. He's just a tad higher than Rielly, who admittedly I also don't think should really be on the PK as much as he is.

Also, apparently Marincin has yet to be on the ice for a 4v5 goal against this season, and prior to his injury Hunwick basically took his spot away on the bottom pairing.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on December 15, 2016, 11:55:56 AM
I would facepalm, but whatever. Hunlak is a limited time 'feature' and this year doesn't matter as long as the kids are being developed.

Dubas and co. should point out Hunwick's PDO of 103, which will likely regress to the mean hard at some point. And also if you preach 'shoot the puck lots' on offense, the same principle ought to apply in reverse on defense.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: McGarnagle on December 15, 2016, 07:13:21 PM
I  Either we give guys like Babcock some measure of rope in thinking that interpersonal dynamics have an effect or we don't.

I think this bears repeating, because it really boils down to either accepting an element of first hand knowledge to a situation that can't be reconciled on the surface, or letting a stats program run the lineup.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Arn on December 15, 2016, 07:18:31 PM
So basically what it all boils down to is we don't have a defensive logjam cos we really only have a couple of decent defensemen?
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: McGarnagle on December 15, 2016, 07:21:16 PM
So basically what it all boils down to is we don't have a defensive logjam cos we really only have a couple of decent defensemen?

No, because the definition of a logjam doesn't involve quantifying the quality of the logs within the jam. Just that there's a lot of logs. And they're jammed.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Bill_Berg on December 15, 2016, 07:28:10 PM
So basically what it all boils down to is we don't have a defensive logjam cos we really only have a couple of decent defensemen?

No, because the definition of a logjam doesn't involve quantifying the quality of the logs within the jam. Just that there's a lot of logs. And they're jammed.

That's what my toilet said the other day.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Tigger on December 15, 2016, 07:30:26 PM
So basically what it all boils down to is we don't have a defensive logjam cos we really only have a couple of decent defensemen?

No, because the definition of a logjam doesn't involve quantifying the quality of the logs within the jam. Just that there's a lot of logs. And they're jammed.

Mmmmm, softwood jam, lagalagalaga.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Arn on December 15, 2016, 08:20:25 PM
Fair. But it's the kind of logjam you can easily clear out the dead wood of which there is more than the finest teak? Right?
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: WhatIfGodWasALeaf on December 15, 2016, 08:31:44 PM
This reminds me, I need to have a vegetable juice in the morning.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: bustaheims on December 15, 2016, 08:47:53 PM
Are we having another semantic discussion, or are we pushing the limit of the metaphor instead?
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Highlander on December 16, 2016, 10:58:50 AM
This reminds me, I need to have a vegetable juice in the morning.
Fibre Ben, Fibre :o
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on December 17, 2016, 11:29:29 AM
Invalid Tweet ID
This conversation is catching some fire with recent defences of Hunwick, Polak, Russell, etc.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on December 20, 2016, 05:48:19 PM
https://theathletic.com/30638/2016/12/19/charting-hockey-the-numbers-arent-kind-to-roman-polak-matt-hunwick/

Prompted by this:
Invalid Tweet IDwww.twitter.com/hockeyanalysis/status/808726972541059072

I like that the Athletic goes into the numbers and the video as a general rule.

Hunlak's CF% have bumped up to above 50% in our last segment of games likely due to deployment changes: their minutes have been scaled down and they largely see their ice time split between line 4 and Kadri's shutdown line which has more recently been matched against secondary offense with the no-duh emergence of Matthews.

Their GA% (which is pretty much a fancy way of saying +/-) has been fueled by their 103ish PDO. Defenders cannot directly influence save percentage to any significant degree, but Hunlak certainly is doing something that reduces high danger scoring chances. However, what they reduce in quality of chances against, is sort of made moot by the volume of chances against, coupled with generating very little going the other way.

PlayerTOICF60CA60CF%
Polak35558.1865.8646.90
Hunwick32655.9061.3147.69
Marincin23363.5960.6951.16
Rielly53770.6160.2553.96
Zaitsev53465.8959.1752.69
Gardiner50767.7859.1253.41
Carrick39864.7157.8152.82

The linked article demonstrates some of the behaviour in our zone that contributes to Hunlak having difficulty clearing our zone under control. For Polak, it's his grenade-handling style anytime the puck comes anywhere near him. For Hunwick, it looks like he has a lost a significant step and pretty consistently tries moves he cannot pull off.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Nik the Trik on December 20, 2016, 07:00:48 PM

Quiet you. They're good and tough and definitely worth 2nd round picks.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: McGarnagle on December 20, 2016, 07:09:29 PM
How are hunwick and polak vs other teams' worst pairings? Is that a more relevant discussion?
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on December 30, 2016, 10:55:40 AM
How are hunwick and polak vs other teams' worst pairings? Is that a more relevant discussion?

Per Game Score depth charts (https://gamescorecharts.wordpress.com/2016/12/27/depth-charts/), that Coco-Puff linked to in the Panthers GDT, you can get a good comparison with the 5/6 D that teams are currently deploying, measured with the same, while still developing, stick.

Here is Toronto's bottom pairing compared to the top 5 teams in CA60adj, which are theoretically the good defensive teams:
TeamLDGSRDGSTotal
TMLHunwick0.18Polak0.130.31
LAKGravel0.22Greene0.140.36
STLGunnarsson0.12Parayko0.690.81
BOSK. Miller0.24C. Miller0.410.65
WSHOrpik0.22Schmidt0.270.49
FLADemers0.49Kindl0.260.75

This is not a complete comparison. If I had more time, I would take into account ATOI as a percentage of the team's, and the pairing's total Game Score as a percentage of the team's total, and see if a pattern arises. Defense (as defined in CA) is really a total team measure though. Quantifying a defenseman's value probably has to dig into forced missed shots vs shot attempts

Interesting to note is St. Louis' defense. All really strong on the right side, and very much weaker on the left.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on December 30, 2016, 10:59:33 AM
https://jenlc13.wordpress.com/2016/04/25/the-vicious-cycle-of-conservative-defensive-structure/

This is a great post about defense systems by someone I stumbled upon googling about micro-stats.

Quote
The Vicious Cycle of Conservative Defensive Structure

Building fail safes into the defensive zone system turns what is often viewed as a reckless abandoning of defensive position to make a play for the puck into a systematic approach to puck recovery and helps avoid players being caught drastically out of position. When this systematic approach is not used, teams often start to think they need to tighten up their defensive zone coverage because these reckless plays are resulting in players being caught out of position and the attacking team taking advantage of that to get a better shot on net. This essentially creates a vicious cycle of more and more conservative play in the defensive zone.

(https://jenlc13.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/conservative-dz-structure.png?w=615)
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate on December 30, 2016, 11:09:18 AM
I just want to remark that the title of this thread is misleading.  A "logjam" implies that we have too many good options on defense and that something needs to give so that everything starts "flowing" again.  We don't have a logjam.  I wish we did.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on December 30, 2016, 02:18:06 PM
I just want to remark that the title of this thread is misleading.  A "logjam" implies that we have too many good options on defense and that something needs to give so that everything starts "flowing" again.  We don't have a logjam.  I wish we did.

See page 2, response 27 (http://www.tmlfans.ca/community/index.php?topic=4021.msg272056#msg272056)
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate on December 30, 2016, 08:02:16 PM
I just want to remark that the title of this thread is misleading.  A "logjam" implies that we have too many good options on defense and that something needs to give so that everything starts "flowing" again.  We don't have a logjam.  I wish we did.

See page 2, response 27 (http://www.tmlfans.ca/community/index.php?topic=4021.msg272056#msg272056)

No.  "Logjam" is never used to refer to a deficiency.  And our defense is deficient, right now.  Sickbeast was right.  But it's hardly worth arguing about.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: sickbeast on December 30, 2016, 08:07:46 PM
I just want to remark that the title of this thread is misleading.  A "logjam" implies that we have too many good options on defense and that something needs to give so that everything starts "flowing" again.  We don't have a logjam.  I wish we did.

See page 2, response 27 (http://www.tmlfans.ca/community/index.php?topic=4021.msg272056#msg272056)

No.  "Logjam" is never used to refer to a deficiency.  And our defense is deficient, right now.  Sickbeast was right.  But it's hardly worth arguing about.
Yes.  We both agree.  Defense is the real main need of the Leafs' team right now.  However the OP does not appear to be concerned with semantics or the proper use of the English language. ;)
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: McGarnagle on December 30, 2016, 08:41:11 PM
I'll bet Herman has a logjam of expletives at the ready. But only the good kind of expletives, of course, or else they apparently couldn't be at a logjam. 
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: sickbeast on December 30, 2016, 09:10:12 PM
I'll bet Herman has a logjam of expletives at the ready. But only the good kind of expletives, of course, or else they apparently couldn't be at a logjam.
Don't worry, I'm cool with Herman.  I'm just joking around with you guys anyways. :)
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: louisstamos on December 31, 2016, 12:30:24 AM
I'll bet Herman has a logjam of expletives at the ready. But only the good kind of expletives, of course, or else they apparently couldn't be at a logjam.

Are there any bad expletives?
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on December 31, 2016, 12:31:48 AM
In the defense of an argument, or as it is in this case, the definition (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/logjam) of a word, I've found expletives to be about as useful as hits when playing in the defensive zone: loud, showy, but weakens the overall strength of position.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Nik the Trik on December 31, 2016, 01:22:55 AM

Yeah, I'm with everyone else. Logs would make terrible jam.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate on December 31, 2016, 11:30:59 AM
Years ago I used to have a job at a recording studio outside LA where I had to keep track of session times for billing.  Whenever we booked a jazz group, we called the paperwork "jamlogs."
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: princedpw on December 31, 2016, 12:32:07 PM
I found this article rather interesting:

http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/top-four-nhl-defencemen-easier-acquire-think/

A lot of #2, #3 and #4 defenseman are acquired via trade or free agency.

It would be nice if the leafs could jump on the right trade option. 
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: sickbeast on December 31, 2016, 01:24:00 PM
(https://i.imgflip.com/1gvk0d.jpg) (https://imgflip.com/i/1gvk0d)via Imgflip Meme Generator (https://imgflip.com/memegenerator)
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Heroic Shrimp on December 31, 2016, 05:48:08 PM
(https://i.imgflip.com/1gvk0d.jpg) (https://imgflip.com/i/1gvk0d)via Imgflip Meme Generator (https://imgflip.com/memegenerator)

sickbeast is not using

memes correctly.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: freer on December 31, 2016, 06:38:41 PM
(https://i.imgflip.com/1gvk0d.jpg) (https://imgflip.com/i/1gvk0d)via Imgflip Meme Generator (https://imgflip.com/memegenerator)

sickbeast is not using

memes correctly.

Well I am quite glad that "Mr Herman" is tutoring others. Mr Herman I miss our classes. LOL

We still don't have a defensive logjam.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on December 31, 2016, 09:18:16 PM
Were you in one of my classes?
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: freer on December 31, 2016, 10:11:26 PM
Just here online
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on December 31, 2016, 10:24:54 PM
I thought you might have been one of my grade niners but I see now that would've made no sense with our respective ages.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on January 10, 2017, 10:04:44 AM
http://theleafsnation.com/2017/1/10/reimagining-how-we-approach-the-leafs-defence

Jeff gets me.
www.twitter.com/JeffVeillette/status/791803356230582273

Synopsis:

I think this team almost has the horses to play a fluid, rather than stationary, defense the way they currently play fluid offense, mostly because it's dependent on the forwards, i.e. roles are basically your default position, but your duties are dependent on your proximity to the puck and direction of flow.

Invalid Tweet IDwww.twitter.com/ml_han/status/818548916975190017

We've already seen this up front with Babcock experimenting with dual centres, offensive zone auto-pinch with high forward support. The Leafs run a modified swarm in the defensive zone to always try to outnumber the puck carrier. This usually leaves at least someone more open than usual.

Carlyle got it right when he didn't mind receiving shots from certain areas; the only flaw (other than lack of talent) was he played it too conservatively (off the glass and out), which led to repeated attempts with rapidly diminishing defensive effectiveness.

Babcock's system also doesn't mind shots from low-risk areas, but is far more aggressive (think Hyman, Brown, Soshnikov, Marner on D), and plays to the percentages of puck retrieval with numbers. Some players are still calibrating because it's quite different than traditional defense where you either mind your zone, or take your man. This aggressive swarm defense requires a lot of support from teammates. Those wide open breakdowns we saw very early in the season, and lately are generally communication issues. Individually, the process is relatively straight-forward. Making sure everyone is doing it at the same time is trickier. It's very Soccer/Basketball.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: hobarth on January 12, 2017, 02:21:50 PM
I love the way TO is PKing, very aggressive but it seems strange that 5v5 defending isn't as effective late in games.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Coco-puffs on January 17, 2017, 09:57:24 AM
Great article about the Leafs defensemen from theAthleticTO (not surprising):

https://theathletic.com/34148/2017/01/17/charting-hockey-leafs-blueline-better-than-advertised-but-they-need-a-new-third-pair/

The summary:

Quote
As usual, Gardiner and Rielly plot in the good category they create zone exits with possession at a greater rate than league average. Zaitsev, Carrick, and Marincin settle into a middle tier, each hanging around league average for break-ups while falling below average in zone exits.

Two names pop off this chart. First is Hunwick, who has managed above average work in zone exits and break-up percentage. This suggests theres a little more to his game than we might notice at first glance.

The other name that catches the eye is Roman Polak. Polak falls below average in break-up percentage, which is notable. However, the real story is Polaks intense struggles exiting the zone with control.

I think the main takeaway from this is Hunwick himself isn't as bad as some have been saying.  He's really being dragged down by Polak who needs to be replaced in the lineup, despite his supposed success on the PK.  Last I checked Marincin was pretty good on the PK and would be a big improvement 5-on-5 for the bottom pairing.  I really hope he gets a shot with Hunwick once he's healthy. 

I've pretty much given up hope Babcock will insert Corrado in the lineup unless we have a couple of injuries, unfortunately, but now would be the time to do it while Marincin is still healing and Polak continues to drag the team down.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: CarltonTheBear on January 17, 2017, 10:30:35 AM
I think the main takeaway from this is Hunwick himself isn't as bad as some have been saying.  He's really being dragged down by Polak who needs to be replaced in the lineup, despite his supposed success on the PK.  Last I checked Marincin was pretty good on the PK and would be a big improvement 5-on-5 for the bottom pairing.  I really hope he gets a shot with Hunwick once he's healthy.

The downside to that though is that it puts one of those two defencemen, typically Marincin, on their weak side. And Marincin has generally seemed to struggle playing the right side, it just doesn't suit his style. It also might surprise people to see that a Marincin-Polak pairing actually produced pretty good results last season: they had a 55.1% CF on the ice together then.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Arn on January 17, 2017, 10:33:11 AM
That was something I actually meant to mention that I picked up from the game last week, while obviously recognising one game is a very small sample size. Hunwick actually looked relatively comfortable out there, but Polak was the panicker.

The leafs have quite a good effective method of getting the puck out of the zone - I've seen it referenced elsewhere on this site and in some reports lately - which basically comes to small deflections on the blueline or use of the boards. Polak however doesn't seem to have the more gentle touch needed for this type of play and almost seems to panic and just throw the puck down the ice. It was quite noticeable even in one game.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Coco-puffs on January 17, 2017, 10:35:56 AM
I think the main takeaway from this is Hunwick himself isn't as bad as some have been saying.  He's really being dragged down by Polak who needs to be replaced in the lineup, despite his supposed success on the PK.  Last I checked Marincin was pretty good on the PK and would be a big improvement 5-on-5 for the bottom pairing.  I really hope he gets a shot with Hunwick once he's healthy.

The downside to that though is that it puts one of those two defencemen, typically Marincin, on their weak side. And Marincin has generally seemed to struggle playing the right side, it just doesn't suit his style. It also might surprise people to see that a Marincin-Polak pairing actually produced pretty good results last season: they had a 55.1% CF on the ice together then.

I agree Marincin hasn't looked good on his weak side (right) in the limited time we've seen him there.  I'm not sure it could get worse than what Polak is doing so far though.

I was not aware of their (Marincin-Polak) numbers together last year.  What kind of sample size was that?
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: CarltonTheBear on January 17, 2017, 10:42:08 AM
I was not aware of their (Marincin-Polak) numbers together last year.  What kind of sample size was that?

342 minutes of Marincin's 909. They were each their most frequent defence partners, although they both played with a lot of different defencemen. Still, Polak wasn't over 50% with any other Leafs D. Not even Gardiner (49.2% in 179 minutes) or Rielly (48.6% in 117 minutes).
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Coco-puffs on January 17, 2017, 10:48:22 AM
I was not aware of their (Marincin-Polak) numbers together last year.  What kind of sample size was that?

342 minutes of Marincin's 909. They were each their most frequent defence partners, although they both played with a lot of different defencemen. Still, Polak wasn't over 50% with any other Leafs D. Not even Gardiner (49.2% in 179 minutes) or Rielly (48.6% in 117 minutes).

Thanks for the numbers.  Quality of Competition probably comes into play- in the Top 4 with Reilly or Gardiner), bottom pairing with Marincin.  But still, that is interesting and might be the only hope we'd have for Polak actually being effective enough to stay in the lineup (other than the supposed good work he's doing on the PK).
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on January 23, 2017, 08:56:55 AM
Invalid Tweet IDwww.twitter.com/ml_han/status/823372674613280769

Our PK structure emphasizes aggressively outmanning the puck carrier. It does mean a lot of the time a powerplayer is left wide open, but the likelihood of a pass going through cleanly to that player is greatly decreased by the maze of legs and sticks in the shooting and passing lanes.

Sticking with the chemistry metaphor, to generate good pressure against the powerplay, this structure of play requires a good deal of speed and agility. Guys like Brown, Hyman, and Soshnikov are perfect for this style. Kapanen will be a great addition next season, with his faster-than-Grabner speed.

This video is an addendum to this podcast:
http://www.pensionplanpuppets.com/2017/1/23/14352138/ppp-podcast-tactics

Quote
  • Do the Leafs have trouble disrupting opponents cycle game?
  • The Leafs D can be really porous at their own blue line when defending the rush. Why?
  • Player usage on the power play
  • The penalty kill. How important is mobility?
  • Is it a good idea to have a puck retrieval player on each line? i.e. a Zach Hyman type

The Jack Han tea analogy is gold.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: slapshot on January 28, 2017, 07:20:55 PM
I think Marincin has played a lot better since coming back from injury and being used regularly with higher minutes since Rielly's been out. Seems to have helped his confidence. It seems entirely likely the Leafs might move a couple of d-men out at the trade deadline for picks, Polak, Hunwick and Corrado being likely candidates. If Hunwick is moved that would likely solidify Marincin in the 3 D pairing for now. Of course, it would be nice to a a second pairing right d and move Carrick to the 5 spot, which would make more sense.
I kind of scanned the rosters to see who might a fit in that second pairing right d-spot. Just going to through some names out to see what people might think?

.Of course there is Shattenkirk, the obvious one.
What about Erik Johnson of Colorado if (and may be a big if) the Avalanche were willing to retain say $1 million of his salary. He may thrive under Babcock. I look for the Avs to shake-things up. Johnson is only 28 and is under contract until he is 34, not that old.
Connor Murphy of the Coyotes is another decent sized right hand d-man, not as much offense as Johnson, but a cheaper price tag. The Yotes also have a decent prospect in lumbering 6'5" Kyle Wood having a real good year in the AHl, if the Leafs were looking for someone who might grow into a top 4 guy.
EriK Gudbranson with Canucks becomes a RFA and might be interesting. Then of course there is still Jacob Trouba out there.
I suspect the Leafs will just tinker at the trade deadline, and leave any big moves to the off-season. Big priority should be getting Zaitsev signed to a long term deal. I figure the Robidas money pretty much gets flipped to Zaitsev. Any other names any one has looked at or considered?
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: sickbeast on January 30, 2017, 10:40:51 PM
(https://i.imgflip.com/1io3sv.jpg) (https://imgflip.com/i/1io3sv)via Imgflip Meme Generator (https://imgflip.com/memegenerator)
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: TBLeafer on January 31, 2017, 02:00:41 PM
I think Marincin has played a lot better since coming back from injury and being used regularly with higher minutes since Rielly's been out. Seems to have helped his confidence. It seems entirely likely the Leafs might move a couple of d-men out at the trade deadline for picks, Polak, Hunwick and Corrado being likely candidates. If Hunwick is moved that would likely solidify Marincin in the 3 D pairing for now. Of course, it would be nice to a a second pairing right d and move Carrick to the 5 spot, which would make more sense.
I kind of scanned the rosters to see who might a fit in that second pairing right d-spot. Just going to through some names out to see what people might think?

.Of course there is Shattenkirk, the obvious one.
What about Erik Johnson of Colorado if (and may be a big if) the Avalanche were willing to retain say $1 million of his salary. He may thrive under Babcock. I look for the Avs to shake-things up. Johnson is only 28 and is under contract until he is 34, not that old.
Connor Murphy of the Coyotes is another decent sized right hand d-man, not as much offense as Johnson, but a cheaper price tag. The Yotes also have a decent prospect in lumbering 6'5" Kyle Wood having a real good year in the AHl, if the Leafs were looking for someone who might grow into a top 4 guy.
EriK Gudbranson with Canucks becomes a RFA and might be interesting. Then of course there is still Jacob Trouba out there.
I suspect the Leafs will just tinker at the trade deadline, and leave any big moves to the off-season. Big priority should be getting Zaitsev signed to a long term deal. I figure the Robidas money pretty much gets flipped to Zaitsev. Any other names any one has looked at or considered?

Just thought I'd move that discussion here, because it would involve a trade.

I've brought up Johnson myself among various circles.  Taking a shot at him makes a lot of sense because we know Colorado is looking to blow it up and we have a plethora of top prospect futures.

I'd seriously consider a trade for him the looks something like the following:

To Colorado:

Kapanen
Nielsen
Polak
2018 1st (lottery protected)
Laich

To Toronto:
Johnson
2017 4th (Colorado's pick not the Rangers pick)

Thoughts?
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on January 31, 2017, 02:16:09 PM
http://theleafsnation.com/2017/1/31/examining-the-neutral-zone-play-of-the-leafs-defence-corps

I've been looking for Zone Exit and Entry numbers for the defense; it's a microstat that is not currently being tracked by the official stat counters, so sites like Corsica can't just scrape the databases. So Corey Sznajder has been tracking these things manually with a crazy team of nerds.

Even if you don't read the whole article, just take a gander at the difference between 2013/14 Gardiner/Rielly, vs this year.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate on February 01, 2017, 11:16:47 AM
I'll say it again, and last night was a stark reminder: you can't have a logjam when you have more twigs than logs.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Nik the Trik on February 01, 2017, 11:55:59 AM
I'll say it again, and last night was a stark reminder: you can't have a logjam when you have more twigs than logs.

I'll say it again, that's not how metaphors work.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Zee on February 01, 2017, 12:11:34 PM
I'll say it again, and last night was a stark reminder: you can't have a logjam when you have more twigs than logs.

Twigjam it is.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Andy on February 01, 2017, 12:11:37 PM




I've brought up Johnson myself among various circles.  Taking a shot at him makes a lot of sense because we know Colorado is looking to blow it up and we have a plethora of top prospect futures.

I'd seriously consider a trade for him the looks something like the following:

To Colorado:

Kapanen
Nielsen
Polak
2018 1st (lottery protected)
Laich

To Toronto:
Johnson
2017 4th (Colorado's pick not the Rangers pick)

Thoughts?

So essentially it boils down to Johnson for Nielson, Kapanen and a 1st? I don't know, that seems like an awful lot to give up for a guy who is going to be over 30 when the Leafs realistically begin to start contending. I'd either keep and develop those assets or trade them for a younger, higher ceiling player, which that package certainly should be able to yield.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Highlander on February 01, 2017, 12:23:51 PM
Me no likeyto much for an older dude
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: CarltonTheBear on February 01, 2017, 01:42:21 PM
The Habs placed Mark Barberio on waivers today, TLN makes a good case for picking him up: http://theleafsnation.com/2017/2/1/the-leafs-should-put-in-a-waiver-claim-on-mark-barberio

He's sort of like a Martin Marincin-type defenceman when it comes to the fancy stats. Which makes sense since maybe he could take Marincin's spot on the 3rd pairing next season if Marty is selected in the expansion draft.

In the mean-time though it presents a bit of a problem as it gives us 9 defencemen on the roster and a glut of left-handed ones. In that case though I would just waive Corrado. It's clear even if there's an injury Babcock still doesn't really trust him with minutes. It creates an imbalance with the lefties/righties but Babs has used Marincin on the right side before if necessary so it's not that big of a deal. What I think would happen is we would see:

Rielly-Zaitsev
Gardiner-Carrick
Marincin-Polak
Hunwick-Barberio

Barberio basically just improves our #7 defenceman slot and gives us a bit more usable depth.

But in terms of what I personally would do would be to slide Rielly back to the right-side and knock the other righties down a peg into a spot they're likely more suited for:

Gardiner-Rielly
Marincin-Zaitsev
Barberio-Carrick/Polak
Hunwick-Polak/Carrick

I'm basically hoping for Babcock to come to terms with 2 things after Rielly's injury: 1) Babcock sees something he really likes in the Marincin-Zaitsev pairing. Their WOWYs have them at a 56.9% CF together this season, most if not all of which would have come in that span of time. Small sample size, sure, but they've looked good as a 2nd pairing unit. I like Zaitsev but that's probably more where belongs. And 2) Gardiner's ready for heavier minutes. A few brain cramps aside, Gardiner looked really good as the teams top defencemen since Rielly's injury. Start playing him like it. Yes, having Rielly on his off-wing isn't ideal but these two have shown in the past that they can put up fantastic results together. Let's give our top-2 defencemen a chance to play together.

I'm leaving a Polak option open on the 3rd pairing if Babcock needs him to play on the penalty kill. It's not ideal, but it's a sacrifice I'd make if it means getting that top-4 in place.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Zee on February 01, 2017, 01:49:11 PM
What's the record for waiver claims in a season?  Leafs want to challenge that if we grab him.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on February 02, 2017, 03:17:26 PM
Barberio has been claimed by Colorado.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Bates on February 04, 2017, 12:15:16 PM
Frankie just might be free!!!!
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Zee on February 04, 2017, 06:11:31 PM
It would be hilarious if he cleared waivers and went to the Marlies. We'll, not hilarious for him.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Deebo on February 04, 2017, 06:16:39 PM
It would be hilarious if he cleared waivers and went to the Marlies. We'll, not hilarious for him.

Hilarious would be going down to the Marlies and then being a healthy scratch down there too.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: slapshot on February 05, 2017, 10:26:11 AM
I guess I spoke too soon about Marincin playing better after injury. He had a couple of decent games, but quickly went down hill, especially last night. It seems consistency is what has plagued his career so far.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate on February 05, 2017, 10:35:06 AM
I guess I spoke too soon about Marincin playing better after injury. He had a couple of decent games, but quickly went down hill, especially last night. It seems consistency is what has plagued his career so far.

I'm a fan but he was the terribilist of terrible lot last night.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: CarltonTheBear on February 05, 2017, 10:51:06 AM
It would be hilarious if he cleared waivers and went to the Marlies. We'll, not hilarious for him.

I wouldn't be entirely surprised. I mean there's a large percentage of teams that won't be able to use a roster spot on him and give him the opportunity he'll need to build his game back up a little to a point where he'll actually be useful this season. We'll see soon enough I guess.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: dekedastardly on February 07, 2017, 11:07:52 AM
So when do we think Marchenko might get a chance? With as porous as the defense is, does the slow footed Polak get a turn to sit a couple out?
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on February 07, 2017, 11:32:39 AM
So when do we think Marchenko might get a chance? With as porous as the defense is, does the slow footed Polak get a turn to sit a couple out?

Probably a couple of spot starts leading up to the Trade Deadline, and then full time after that. Polak has to pull in those 2nds (which makes Hunwick worth a 1st rder, right?).
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on February 13, 2017, 02:16:48 PM
How to Fix the Leafs Defense

In broad strokes, the way to do this is simple: Let the team grow and develop. Our current Defense core is still very young both in age and in terms of games played. The parts that are not young are not here for the long haul anyway, as they're designated d-zone starts/PK sponges.

Gardiner is on his second year with a coach that actually trusts him and lets him play to his strengths. Rielly is on his first season with a full-time competent partner while playing his strong side. Zaitsev is new to the NHL, but has quietly, and steadily started to contribute beyond playing a sound game on the top pairing. Carrick has a huge brain for the game, and he's starting to accrue the NHL-level experience that all defensemen require. Marincin and Marchenko are basically the same type of player: big, mobile, defense-first, not overly physical (and therefore usually in position), but they're also still at the front edge of their respective learning curves.

The addition by subtraction of Hunwick and Polak will have a positive effect on general shot metrics, though we might suffer slightly on the penalty kill. Babcock really likes having a sacrificial pairing (and 4th line to submarine), and Marincin/Marchenko might do the trick.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: disco on February 14, 2017, 02:36:03 AM
How to fix the Leafs defence IMHO:
1) Keep drafting defensemen.
2) Trade forwards for defensemen (see Edmonton).
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on February 14, 2017, 07:53:21 AM
How to fix the Leafs defence IMHO:
1) Keep drafting defensemen.
2) Trade forwards for defensemen Draft McDavid (see Edmonton).

Fixed it for you.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate on February 20, 2017, 10:39:56 PM
Interesting article.  The takeaways are (1) that Rielly is an enigma and, perhaps, a disappointment, except that (2) he could still blossom with the right partner.

http://www.tsn.ca/talent/rielly-and-the-future-of-the-leafs-defence-1.676421 (http://www.tsn.ca/talent/rielly-and-the-future-of-the-leafs-defence-1.676421)
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on February 21, 2017, 09:43:11 AM
Interesting article.  The takeaways are (1) that Rielly is an enigma and, perhaps, a disappointment, except that (2) he could still blossom with the right partner.

http://www.tsn.ca/talent/rielly-and-the-future-of-the-leafs-defence-1.676421 (http://www.tsn.ca/talent/rielly-and-the-future-of-the-leafs-defence-1.676421)

My position on Rielly remains the same: wait and see.

It's his first season playing on his strong side with a stable partner that's not an anchor (and not Gardiner). He had a lost D-0 season to that leg injury, and the bulk of his development was under the Carlyle system. Of course his shot suppression is poor.

This season, his shot suppression is trending towards average, without a dip in offense (even though he is playing fewer offensive/PP minutes). He has a stable partner who is playing his first year in the NHL. His shot metrics for are similar to Gardiner currently, but he is 4 years younger. He's still 22 games shy of the 300 games played mark.

If we had to redo the 2012 draft again, knowing what we know now, it's not like I would choose too differently (arguments to be made for Lindholm and Trouba, but they've developed in arguably stronger systems).
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Coco-puffs on February 21, 2017, 10:58:44 AM
An interesting look at WOWY and Rielly:

Player_Name   TOI   GF   GA   GF60   GA60   GF%   Sh%   Sv%   PDO   CF   CA   CF60   CA60   CF%   NZFO   DZFO   OZFO   NZFO%   DZFO%   OZFO%   OZone%
Together   83:26   0   8   0.00   5.75   0.0   0.00   84.31   84.3   85   82   61.13   58.97   50.9   36   30   26   39.1   32.6   28.3   46.4
MORGAN RIELLY*   817:27   38   38   2.79   2.79   50.0   8.46   91.16   99.6   829   820   60.85   60.19   50.3   361   315   274   38.0   33.2   28.8   46.5
JHONAS ENROTH*   132:42   4   9   1.81   4.07   30.8   7.02   85.71   92.7   124   110   56.07   49.74   53.0   35   37   45   29.9   31.6   38.5   54.9


Not sure if the formatting shows up well enough, but:  In games without Enroth, Rielly has an even GF% (2.79 GF60 & GA60), and a decent SV% (91.16) backing him up.  With Enroth, 8 GA on 82 shot attempts.  That's AWFUL.

I also took a look at our centermen and Rielly.  Numbers that stick out:

Matthews & Rielly:  219 min  GF60 3.00 GA60 2.73 PDO 95.9 CF60 68.74 CA60 50.73 CF% 57.5
Kadri & Rielly: 391 min GF60 1.91 GA60 2.91 PDO 96.8 CF60 61.94 CA60 59.95 CF% 50.8
Bozak & Rielly:  192 min GF60 3.12 GA60 4.67 PDO 95.8 CF60 64.2 CA60 57.35 CF% 52.8
Smith & Rielly:  80 min GF60 1.49 GA60 3.73 PDO 98.2 CF60 41.02 CA60 77.56 CF% 34.6

- Rielly has had some pretty shitty luck with everyone.. those PDO's can't be sustainable
- Rielly and Matthews is the best combination on the Leafs.  Gardiner only has a 53% CF% with Matthews. Hunwick 50.5%. 
- Rielly and Kadri together get the toughest assignments.  Ok Shot Attempts, shitty luck (6% Sh%)
- Rielly and Bozak, despite good shot attempts is AWFUL in the goals against department. 
- Rielly and Smith is an absolute tire fire. 

Not surprisingly, a STILL young defenseman playing with an older rookie dman getting shitty defensive centers equals awful GA60. 

Seriously, don't play Rielly with the Bozak or Smith lines and he's fine.  He really helps drive the Matthews line offense, more than Gardiner does.  Gardiner gets GF%: 54.5 and CF%: 54.4 with Bozak, with a sustainable PDO. 

More on deployment:

Gardiner and Smith have ZERO goals against at 5 on 5 this season (also, Zero goals for, but less worrisome to me) and a 49.5% CF%.  And that's with 110 mins together (30% of Smith's mins this season).  Hunwick and Smith have an even GF% and a not so nice CF% of 46.4, but much better than with Rielly. 

1.  Kadri line should be with Rielly for the most part.  Gardiner gets the remainder. (Those should be the toughest mins anyways.)
2.  Matthews line should see more Rielly.  Hunlack gets the rest (GF% 56.3%, PDO 100.0, CF% 50.5%)
3.  Play Gardiner with the Bozak line alot.  GF% of 54.4, PDO  100.4, CF% of 54.4.
4.  Give Gardiner as much of Smiths ice-time as possible too.  Let Hunlack take the rest of Smith's minutes.

Assuming approx 48 mins 5on5:

14-15 min Matthews: Rielly 7-8, Hunlack 6-7
14-15 mins Kadri: Rielly 11-12, Gardiner 3-4
12-13 mins Bozak: Gardiner 11-12, Hunlack 2
6 mins Smith: Gardiner 4-5, Hunlack 1-2

Rielly-Zaitsev 18-20
Gardiner-Carrick 18-20
Hunlack 9-10

 
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on February 21, 2017, 11:23:49 AM
Thanks for pulling up the numbers, Coco-puffs.

I'm struggling to read it because the alignment didn't come through for you.
If you have the time/software, would you mind throwing it into Excel and converting to a BBCode table (http://theenemy.dk/table/)?
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: CarltonTheBear on February 22, 2017, 10:01:49 AM
Defencemen stats from the past 11 games since Rielly returned from his injury:

Defenceman   CF/60     CA/60     CF%     GA     GF%     
Rielly66.2460.3652.31640.7
Zaitsev69.562.8452.51739.3
Gardiner64.9957.2553.2572.2
Carrick66.3256.7953.9566.7
Hunwick55.0950.6552.1271.4
Polak60.8952.6753.6277.9

I've mentioned in the past few GDT's that the Rielly-Zaitsev pairing was basically on the ice in all the goals against in those games. They've been on the ice for all 8 non-empty net goals in the past 3 games. That includes two powerplay goals against. In the 11 games since Rielly returned from his injury the Rielly-Zaitsev pairing has been on the ice for 16 of the 24 5-on-5 goals the team has given up.

Figured I'd see what the other defencemen looked like during this time, and was obviously pretty surprised to see Hunlack's numbers. I knew that their goals against were low, but didn't expect their CF% to be roughly the same as everyone elses. Is Hunlack actually good?
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on February 22, 2017, 10:07:05 AM
Can you slot in their PDOs?

Edit: usage for Gardiner/Carrick and Hunlak are also pretty sheltered, other than Hunwick on PK (as Polak is usually in the box).
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate on February 22, 2017, 10:07:47 AM
Hunwick has been our best defender recently.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Coco-puffs on February 22, 2017, 10:22:18 AM
Defencemen stats from the past 11 games since Rielly returned from his injury:

Defenceman   CF/60     CA/60     CF%     GA     GF%     
Rielly66.2460.3652.31640.7
Zaitsev69.562.8452.51739.3
Gardiner64.9957.2553.2572.2
Carrick66.3256.7953.9566.7
Hunwick55.0950.6552.1271.4
Polak60.8952.6753.6277.9

I've mentioned in the past few GDT's that the Rielly-Zaitsev pairing was basically on the ice in all the goals against in those games. They've been on the ice for all 8 non-empty net goals in the past 3 games. That includes two powerplay goals against. In the 11 games since Rielly returned from his injury the Rielly-Zaitsev pairing has been on the ice for 16 of the 24 5-on-5 goals the team has given up.

Figured I'd see what the other defencemen looked like during this time, and was obviously pretty surprised to see Hunlack's numbers. I knew that their goals against were low, but didn't expect their CF% to be roughly the same as everyone elses. Is Hunlack actually good?

Last nights game was such a screwy one. Rielly and Zaitsev had CF60 rates around 100 and CA60 rates close to 35.  3 GA on 10/11 shot attempts. 

In terms of shot share, their worst game out of the last three was the Carolina game.  Both below 50% with CA60 in the mid-60's and CF60 below 50. 

Against Ottawa they again DROVE offense (at both ends of the ice) at CF60 rates in the mid 80's and CA60 in the mid 60's.  On for 3 GA and 2 GF at 5-on-5.

Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: CarltonTheBear on February 22, 2017, 10:24:48 AM
Can you slot in their PDOs?

As you can imagine, it's terrible for 2 of them and sky-high for the other 4. I didn't mean to suggest that these results are sustainable or anything like that. It's obviously a small sample size too. But I also don't think that's enough to brush them off.

Edit: usage for Gardiner/Carrick and Hunlak are also pretty sheltered, other than Hunwick on PK (as Polak is usually in the box).

Gardiner leads the team in 5-on-5 ice time during that stretch (Although he, Rielly, and Zaitsev are basically neck and neck). Rielly and Zaitsev get the toughest matchup yes, but Jake's still playing a ton of minutes so it's hard to say he's being sheltered. But even if that is the case, it still goes back to something I've been saying since last season: Babs isn't using our defencemen properly. It's too easy to say "well Rielly-Zaitsev are getting tuned up because they're getting the toughest match-ups". That doesn't happen to every top pairing. We have other options there and Babs hasn't made much of an effort to find one that works.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: CarltonTheBear on February 22, 2017, 10:33:59 AM
Last nights game was such a screwy one. Rielly and Zaitsev had CF60 rates around 100 and CA60 rates close to 35.  3 GA on 10/11 shot attempts. 

In terms of shot share, their worst game out of the last three was the Carolina game.  Both below 50% with CA60 in the mid-60's and CF60 below 50. 

Against Ottawa they again DROVE offense (at both ends of the ice) at CF60 rates in the mid 80's and CA60 in the mid 60's.  On for 3 GA and 2 GF at 5-on-5.

Yeah those Ottawa and Winnipeg games were definitely strange. A big chunk of their GA came in them and yet their possession numbers were solid. If you looked at their numbers prior to those games the goals against shares are: Zaitsev 11, Rielly 10, Gardiner/Carrick 5, Polak/Hunwick 2. Rielly and Zaitsev both also see their CF% fall just a smidge below 50%.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on February 22, 2017, 10:42:45 AM
I've been saying since last season: Babs isn't using our defencemen properly. It's too easy to say "well Rielly-Zaitsev are getting tuned up because they're getting the toughest match-ups". That doesn't happen to every top pairing. We have other options there and Babs hasn't made much of an effort to find one that works.

I not sure why he's been so hesitant to unleash Gardiner against top pairs. I know he wants to shelter Carrick, and he and Gardiner give each other a boost.

I am pretty comfortable with saying that Babcock is not fully optimizing his lineups right now (for development reasons).

Anyway, I'm also curious to see how the pairings shake out in Fenwick/60 and Expected-Goals/60, to give a bit more context to what they're doing.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: CarltonTheBear on February 22, 2017, 11:35:36 AM
Anyway, I'm also curious to see how the pairings shake out in Fenwick/60 and Expected-Goals/60, to give a bit more context to what they're doing.

Their Fenwick stats look a lot like their Corsi ones, as they're often known to do. I believe the analytics community has basically moved away from that stat because of that.

I didn't use expected goals because quite frankly I don't know too much about them or how much they should be trusted. It'd definitely be an awesome stat to have if they are accurate. Here's those expected + actual stats for the past 11 games:

Defenceman   xGF/60   GF/60   xGA/60   GA/60   xGF%   GF%   
Rielly3.383.42.974.9553.2240.7
Zaitsev3.583.493.025.3954.2539.3
Gardiner2.734.022.551.5551.7572.2
Carrick2.573.532.431.7651.4466.7
Hunwick2.922.222.490.8953.9671.4
Polak3.342.612.460.7557.677.9

The expected numbers paint a better picture, although those xGA numbers are still high for Rielly/Zaitsev. The top-10 worst defencemen league wide in xGA/60 hover around 3.00 (Zaitsev and Rielly rank 8-9 in that stat).
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on February 22, 2017, 11:50:49 AM
The Expected numbers I use as shorthand for whether or not they're generating or giving up prime opportunities, taking into account shooting location, shot type, situation leading up to the shot, all with league averaged shooting/save percentage, so I usually compare them against CF/FF (not SCF which I don't know who determines that). I don't think it's perfectly accurate in that it still needs manual data logging of shot locations, etc. but it's better than raw Corsi for context.

xGA/60 vs GA/60 shows they're getting a ridiculously low level of goaltending luck for some reason. It could be a ridiculous amount of miscommunication leading to blown coverage and tap-ins, or it could really just be spiky data. Rielly and Zaitsev's xGA/60 is not that far off from the rest of the (sheltered) pairings, but clearly Andersen having trouble stopping shots with them in front, vs Hunlak. Their baddish xGA60 doesn't account for their out of control tire fire GA60.

This is where I'd scope out the Fenwick stats too, because Hunwick and Polak tend to throw themselves at the shooter. I know Fenwick has fallen a little out of favour, but it still has value in providing context (and in special teams analysis).

Babcock line matches pretty hard too, so I'm trying to remember who Rielly and Zaitsev are backing (either Kadri or Matthews, I assume). Our defensive structure is pretty reliant on forward support, and sagging into home plate to outnumber down low. We got killed on point shots + deflections/rebounds these past few games.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Coco-puffs on February 22, 2017, 12:12:25 PM
Brent Burns, who will win the Norris trophy, has an xGA60 of 2.94 (8th worst).  Zaitsev is 2.90 (13th) and Rielly is 2.89 (15th) on the season (all stats min. 300 mins).

On the xGF60 side:

LEAGUE WIDE RANKING (min 300 mins)
1.  Marincin 3.3
3.  Gardiner 3.16
9.  Polak 3.01
12.  Rielly 2.98
22.  Carrick 2.89
24.  Zaitsev 2.87

The Leafs as a whole are simply a high-event team.  Oddly enough for Rielly, the damage they've sustained on the defensive end has come while on the ice with the Bozak and Smith lines- our supposed veterans.  And no matter who they've been on the ice with, their luck hasn't been good.  (Look at their "together" PDO's I posted yesterday)

Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: dekedastardly on February 22, 2017, 12:26:28 PM
I guess with Carrick down we'll probably see Marchenko take his place
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: CarltonTheBear on February 22, 2017, 01:14:10 PM
Brent Burns, who will win the Norris trophy, has an xGA60 of 2.94 (8th worst).

His actually GA/60 is 1.86, one of the best in the league among top pairing guys. So I'm not really sure what to make of that.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Coco-puffs on February 22, 2017, 01:15:58 PM
Brent Burns, who will win the Norris trophy, has an xGA60 of 2.94 (8th worst).

His actually GA/60 is 1.86, one of the best in the league among top pairing guys. So I'm not really sure what to make of that.

I guess I should have checked that before using him as an example.  LOL.

Maaaybe xG needs some refinement :S
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on February 22, 2017, 01:40:39 PM
Brent Burns, who will win the Norris trophy, has an xGA60 of 2.94 (8th worst).

His actually GA/60 is 1.86, one of the best in the league among top pairing guys. So I'm not really sure what to make of that.

I guess I should have checked that before using him as an example.  LOL.

Maaaybe xG needs some refinement :S

xG is just an approximation of what a perfectly average player would achieve in those same spots and shots. This is also an on-ice stat, so it's not 100% attributable to a single player, and San Jose's system will have some effect.

There are also 2 xG algorithms: Corsica's (descriptive) and DTMAboutHeart's (more predictive).

Brent Burns' PDO (5v5 adj) of 103+ explains the differential between xGA60 (3.03) and GA60 (2.04).
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: AvroArrow on February 22, 2017, 06:21:49 PM
I... Uh... What???
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on February 22, 2017, 07:13:53 PM
I... Uh... What???

Do you have a specific question that I can try to help with?

Also, Gardchenko tomorrow!
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Zee on February 23, 2017, 08:47:40 AM
I... Uh... What???

Do you have a specific question that I can try to help with?

Also, Gardchenko tomorrow!

I really hope Marchenko is an upgrade over Hunlak.  Just make the safe plays, clear the zone, don't be responsible for a goal against, that's all I ask.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: disco on February 23, 2017, 11:48:17 AM
Berger makes his case for defense.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Coco-puffs on February 27, 2017, 02:09:43 PM

I believe she has the order wrong here.  If Gardiner is with Zaitsev, I'm thinking Babcock has seen enough of the Rielly-Zaitsev top pair and wants to shake it up a bit.  I'm all for Gardiner playing the heavier minutes to see how it goes.  I still hold hope for Rielly to develop into a better defenseman, but at this point Gardiner is better.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on February 27, 2017, 02:36:20 PM
www.twitter.com/markhmasters/status/836297295368900609

Polak putting in some Russ Tyler reps after figuring out Fulton Reed was the wrong role model.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: wnc096 on February 27, 2017, 03:12:09 PM

  I still hold hope for Rielly to develop into a better defenseman, but at this point Gardiner is better.

I don't think Gardiner is better than Rielly.  Gardiner plays sheltered minutes.  When he plays against the other teams #1 lines he gets eaten alive...which was evident when Reilly was hurt.  I do agree that Reilly has been pretty bad lately tho
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: gunnar36 on February 27, 2017, 09:38:39 PM
Hadn't checked the stats in a while, but Gardiner is a +23! Marchenko is 2nd highest at +9.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: slapshot on March 06, 2017, 04:03:02 PM
Wonder if the Leafs might consider Darren Raddysh as an undrafted overage prospect, leading OHL in scoring by d-man by a wide margin, 74 points to nearest 61. And, second leader among d-man played 6 more games. Ontario (Toronto area) kid. His brother Taylor is a top Tampa prospect. Darren has been invited to NHL camps the past three years. A right-handed shot 6'1" 200 pounds. Might be a late bloomer?
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: LuncheonMeat on March 06, 2017, 04:44:45 PM
Marchenko is 2nd highest at +9.

Further proof, arguably, that this is a meaningless stat. Marchenko hasn't exactly been a refreshing edition to the team so far.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: CarltonTheBear on March 06, 2017, 04:55:18 PM
Marchenko is 2nd highest at +9.

Further proof, arguably, that this is a meaningless stat. Marchenko hasn't exactly been a refreshing edition to the team so far.

I believe that stat was for Marchenko's entire season. As a Leaf he's a -1 in 5 games. Just for the record.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on March 08, 2017, 03:10:02 PM
The Video Room: How the Leafs can learn from the Canadiens when it comes to defensive zone coverage
https://theathletic.com/42820/2017/03/08/the-video-room-how-the-leafs-can-from-the-canadiens-when-it-comes-to-defensive-zone-coverage/

www.twitter.com/ArponBasu/status/837762063355293697

I can't be certain without reviewing more game footage, but I think the Leafs already started to do this (Marner, sort of!) with little soccer chips to open ice even in the defensive zone.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on March 31, 2017, 12:18:54 PM
Gardiner-Zaitsev sport at 43.8% CF% (46.25% SZV adj.) and a 37.5% GF% with a normal PDO of 99.  Small sample size of course, and granted they have led most of those games but overall, Rielly-Zaitsev looks like the better long term play based on CF% being more predictive of future success.

It's definitely too early to read into the GF% right now. The raw stats are just 3 for and 5 against, so really one good game could push them back up to 50% (or one bad could make it look significantly worse). All in all a 2.60 GA/60 together is actually pretty good. It's the GF side of the equation that needs some work. Rielly-Zaitsev was sporting a 5.35 GA/60 in February/March before the break-up.

As for CF%, yeah it's not great. Jake got absolutely shellacked in the games against TB, BOS, and NSH. If the pairing stayed together and we got more data would we see those as outliers eventually or are we predicting that he'll be under 27% in 3 out of every 8 games? I don't know, but I think it's definitely too early to make any definite statements about this.

https://theleafsnation.com/2017/03/31/morgan-rielly-jake-gardiner-and-the-importance-of-quality-of-competition/

TLN with a pretty good breakdown of the QoC and matchups the two have faced this season, so far.

I haven't read it all yet, but until someone clearly rises above, it looks like the way forward is to rotate them as 1A/1B LHD options and just go with whoever is looking hot and swap around whoever is not.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on April 05, 2017, 10:39:55 PM
http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/big-read-jake-gardiner-proves-risk-worth-reward/

He had a bad, bad bank pass last night where I cannot figure out what he was trying to do, but that's a small price to pay for all the little things he really does right, and better than most.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: slapshot on April 27, 2017, 10:43:57 PM
Like to see the Leafs invite Erie right-handed D-Man Darren Raddysh to a professional try-out this fall. Undrafted Toronto area kid, just named OHL overaged player of the year:
http://www.goerie.com/sports/20170427/otters-darren-raddysh-selected-ohl-overager-of-year
6.1 just over 200 pounds, has decent size. Set Erie records for d-man. Might be a late bloomer that would look decent in Leafs system. He's already been invited to some NHL camps in the past. Might be time for Leafs to move in and snag hometown kid. His brother, Taylor, is a second round Tampa pick.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: slapshot on May 12, 2017, 06:37:19 PM
Brought this up a couple of weeks ago and now its getting some traction...

http://www.pensionplanpuppets.com/2017/5/12/15605462/darren-raddysh-toronto-maple-leafs-depth-chart-free-agents-erie-otters-nhl-free-agency-ohl-finals
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Bullfrog on May 13, 2017, 11:19:48 AM
I say pass, mostly so that we don't have to see Highlander call him Horse.
 :-X
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: L K on May 13, 2017, 04:24:58 PM
I say pass, mostly so that we don't have to see Highlander call him Horse.
 :-X

Come on Bullfrog. I know you want to join the Raddish Patch Kids with me.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Highlander on May 14, 2017, 10:19:20 AM
I say pass, mostly so that we don't have to see Highlander call him Horse.
 :-X

LOL, i have been quite on he nicknames for a while now!
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: sickbeast on May 14, 2017, 08:10:47 PM
I am boycotting this thread until the Leafs have enough genuine talent on the blue line to constitute a "logjam".
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on May 14, 2017, 09:04:44 PM
I am boycotting this thread until the Leafs have enough genuine talent on the blue line to constitute a "logjam".

(https://media.giphy.com/media/hihn1UV6uxeTu/giphy.gif)
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: AtomicMapleLeaf on May 14, 2017, 09:27:20 PM
Watching tonight's game.  Wow lots of good defensemen on the ice.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: sickbeast on May 14, 2017, 10:07:11 PM
I am boycotting this thread until the Leafs have enough genuine talent on the blue line to constitute a "logjam".

(https://media.giphy.com/media/hihn1UV6uxeTu/giphy.gif)
It looks like you jammed the door.  That is a logjam of sorts.  You also seem to be distracted by your phone.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Heroic Shrimp on May 14, 2017, 11:09:00 PM
I am boycotting this thread until the Leafs have enough genuine talent on the blue line to constitute a "logjam".

I think a more widespread boycott would make a stronger statement.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on May 15, 2017, 10:49:26 AM
State of the Defense Corps
LD Cap Hit12.66RD Cap Hit6.70
Left DefenseCap Hit (M)ExpiryRight DefenseCap Hit (M)Expiry
Morgan Rielly5.002022 - UFANikita Zaitsev4.502024 - UFA
Jake Gardiner4.052019 - UFAAlexey Marchenko1.452018 - RFA
Martin Marincin1.252018 - RFAConnor Carrick0.752018 - RFA
Travis Dermott0.892019 - RFAJustin Holl--2017 - RFA
Rinat Valiev0.782018 - RFA
Andrew Nielsen0.692019 - RFA

Blue = Under contract beyond next season
Teal = ELC

Rumoured European UFA signings (at 1-year ELCs):
Calle Rosen
Philip Holm

Teams with Expansion Draft crunches at Defense that I just eyeballed so there are probably some less than useful listings here because I can't be bothered to research in-depth into all of them, highlighting names I have interest in for whatever reason, regardless of feasibility, even depth options:
ANA: Bieksa (NMC), Lindholm, Fowler, Vatanen, Manson
CBJ: Jones, Johnson, Savard, Murray
FLA: Yandle (NMC), Demers, Pysyk, Ekblad
LAK: Doughty, Martinez, Muzzin, McNabb
MIN: Suter (NMC), Spurgeon, Brodin, Scandella, Dumba
NAS: Subban, Josi, Ekholm, Ellis
NYI: Boychuk (NMC), Leddy, Hamonic, De Haan
PIT: Letang (NMC), Maatta, Cole, Schultz
STL: Pietrangelo, Bouwmeester, Gunnarsson, Bortuzzo
VAN: Edler, Tanev, Sbisa, Gudbranson
WSH: Niskanen, Carlson, Orlov, Schmidt
WIN: Byfuglien (NMC), Enstrom (NMC), Myers, Trouba

A lot of these are not going to shake loose.

Edit: Frickin' Olli Mtt's name.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: cabber24 on May 15, 2017, 11:58:20 AM
State of the Defense Corps
LD Cap Hit12.66RD Cap Hit6.70
Left DefenseCap Hit (M)ExpiryRight DefenseCap Hit (M)Expiry
Morgan Rielly5.002022 - UFANikita Zaitsev4.502024 - UFA
Jake Gardiner4.052019 - UFAAlexey Marchenko1.452018 - RFA
Martin Marincin1.252018 - RFAConnor Carrick0.752018 - RFA
Travis Dermott0.892019 - RFAJustin Holl--2017 - RFA
Rinat Valiev0.782018 - RFA
Andrew Nielsen0.692019 - RFA

Blue = Under contract beyond next season
Teal = ELC

Rumoured European UFA signings (at 1-year ELCs):
Calle Rosen
Philip Holm

Teams with Expansion Draft crunches at Defense that I just eyeballed so there are probably some less than useful listings here because I can't be bothered to research in-depth into all of them, highlighting names I have interest in for whatever reason, regardless of feasibility, even depth options:
ANA: Bieksa (NMC), Lindholm, Fowler, Vatanen, Manson
CBJ: Jones, Johnson, Savard, Murray
FLA: Yandle (NMC), Demers, Pysyk, Ekblad
LAK: Doughty, Martinez, Muzzin, McNabb
MIN: Suter (NMC), Spurgeon, Brodin, Scandella, Dumba
NAS: Subban, Josi, Ekholm, Ellis
NYI: Boychuk (NMC), Leddy, Hamonic, De Haan
PIT: Letang (NMC), Maata, Cole, Schultz
STL: Pietrangelo, Bouwmeester, Gunnarsson, Bortuzzo
VAN: Edler, Tanev, Sbisa, Gudbranson
WSH: Niskanen, Carlson, Orlov, Schmidt
WIN: Byfuglien (NMC), Enstrom (NMC), Myers, Trouba

A lot of these are not going to shake loose.
Give me one of those NAS guys please!

http://www.ontheforecheck.com/2016/12/5/13845918/2017-expansion-draft-who-should-nashville-protect (http://www.ontheforecheck.com/2016/12/5/13845918/2017-expansion-draft-who-should-nashville-protect)
I would imagine that NAS will likely be trading one of Arvidsson, Sissons or a Ellis since at least one of these 3 will likely be exposed in the expansion draft and are likely to be drafted by LV if available.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: CarltonTheBear on May 15, 2017, 12:04:34 PM
Give me one of those NAS guys please!

http://www.ontheforecheck.com/2016/12/5/13845918/2017-expansion-draft-who-should-nashville-protect (http://www.ontheforecheck.com/2016/12/5/13845918/2017-expansion-draft-who-should-nashville-protect)
I would imagine that NAS will likely be trading one of Arvidsson, Sissons or a Ellis since at least one of these 3 will likely be exposed in the expansion draft and are likely to be drafted by LV if available.

I think Nashville 100% protects/keeps all 4 of their big defencemen. At forward they'll protect Johansen, Neal, Forsberg, and Arvidsson.

That'll leave guys like Colin Wilson, Craig Smith, and Calle Jarnkrok available. All good 3rd line players but having to lose one of them won't be the end of the world.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: pmrules on May 15, 2017, 12:21:44 PM
Give me one of those NAS guys please!

http://www.ontheforecheck.com/2016/12/5/13845918/2017-expansion-draft-who-should-nashville-protect (http://www.ontheforecheck.com/2016/12/5/13845918/2017-expansion-draft-who-should-nashville-protect)
I would imagine that NAS will likely be trading one of Arvidsson, Sissons or a Ellis since at least one of these 3 will likely be exposed in the expansion draft and are likely to be drafted by LV if available.

I think Nashville 100% protects/keeps all 4 of their big defencemen. At forward they'll protect Johansen, Neal, Forsberg, and Arvidsson.

That'll leave guys like Colin Wilson, Craig Smith, and Calle Jarnkrok available. All good 3rd line players but having to lose one of them won't be the end of the world.

Exactly - I think Minnesota is in more trouble than Nashville.  And even that can be fixed with a deal directly with Las Vegas. 

Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: cabber24 on May 15, 2017, 01:13:02 PM
Give me one of those NAS guys please!

http://www.ontheforecheck.com/2016/12/5/13845918/2017-expansion-draft-who-should-nashville-protect (http://www.ontheforecheck.com/2016/12/5/13845918/2017-expansion-draft-who-should-nashville-protect)
I would imagine that NAS will likely be trading one of Arvidsson, Sissons or a Ellis since at least one of these 3 will likely be exposed in the expansion draft and are likely to be drafted by LV if available.

I think Nashville 100% protects/keeps all 4 of their big defencemen. At forward they'll protect Johansen, Neal, Forsberg, and Arvidsson.

That'll leave guys like Colin Wilson, Craig Smith, and Calle Jarnkrok available. All good 3rd line players but having to lose one of them won't be the end of the world.

Exactly - I think Minnesota is in more trouble than Nashville.  And even that can be fixed with a deal directly with Las Vegas.
I really like Sissons two way game and expect him to pickup the scoring next year.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: bustaheims on May 15, 2017, 02:19:54 PM
I really like Sissons two way game and expect him to pickup the scoring next year.

He's never really been a particularly prolific scorer at any level, so I doubt his output increases in any real significant way. He probably settles into the 10-12 goal a season range, with the occasional season at 15+.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on May 16, 2017, 11:41:36 AM
The Athletic has a nice piece out on the work that Robidas has been doing with the Marlies defense corps, especially Dermott, Nielsen, and Valiev.

https://theathletic.com/60329/2017/05/15/how-stephane-robidas-became-an-integral-member-of-the-toronto-marlies-staff-this-spring/

He comes off the books this off-season, but I hope he stays on in a coaching capacity. It's mentioned obliquely as well (and not for the first time), but there's another hint that this management group factors attitude into their initially mystifying personnel decisions.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Highlander on May 16, 2017, 03:32:02 PM
(Positive) attitude is almost everything, it surmounts many deficiencies, it reflects the best qualities, courage, optimism, perseverance, work ethic, and general humanity.  So in fact we are trying to develop the best humans that are available to us. Nice thought.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on May 16, 2017, 05:09:27 PM
State of the Defense Corps - May 16, 2017
LD Cap Hit12.66RD Cap Hit6.70
Left DefenseCap Hit (M)ExpiryRight DefenseCap Hit (M)Expiry
Morgan Rielly5.002022 - UFANikita Zaitsev4.502024 - UFA
Jake Gardiner4.052019 - UFAAlexey Marchenko1.452018 - RFA
Martin Marincin1.252018 - RFAConnor Carrick0.752018 - RFA
Travis Dermott0.892019 - RFAJustin Holl--2017 - RFA
Rinat Valiev0.782018 - RFA
Andrew Nielsen0.692019 - RFA
Calle Rosen?2019 - RFA
Andreas Borgman?2019 - RFA

Blue = Under contract beyond next season
Teal = ELC
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: cabber24 on May 23, 2017, 07:43:06 AM
I really like Sissons two way game and expect him to pickup the scoring next year.

He's never really been a particularly prolific scorer at any level, so I doubt his output increases in any real significant way. He probably settles into the 10-12 goal a season range, with the occasional season at 15+.
I think he's a little better then that, not a bad game last night. I still think if they think he will be unprotected that he could be traded or taken by Vegas.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on May 23, 2017, 07:49:28 AM
Score a hattie to win a playoff series and you're going to get (over)paid one way or another, whether that's a sustainable output or otherwise.

GMs dig goals.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: bustaheims on May 23, 2017, 08:58:52 AM
I think he's a little better then that, not a bad game last night. I still think if they think he will be unprotected that he could be traded or taken by Vegas.

He had a good game, yeas. Oddly enough, his second hat trick, despite only having a total of 18 goals in 135 career games (regular season and playoffs). Nevertheless, as I said, he wasn't a particularly prolific scorer at any level. He's very unlikely to become more than an okay goal scorer at the NHL level.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: sickbeast on June 25, 2017, 09:25:39 PM
Lots of defense taken by the Leafs in the draft, herman.  Little by little this is turning into a legitimate thread and a proper usage of the English language.  :o
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate on June 25, 2017, 10:14:25 PM
Thank God Hunter is leading the way to preserve the Queen's English.

Babcock's usage is deplorable.  Dubas is too young to know all the words yet.  And Lou is impossible to judge because he refuses to give us a minimum sample size.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on June 29, 2017, 12:55:54 PM
Let's talk (really early) about Gardiner: How much will he command? 6? 7?
Will Dermott/Rosen/Borgman/Nielsen/Tradepiece gain enough coaching confidence to make Gardiner expendable?

This thread on r/leafs threw me for a loop for a bit.
https://www.reddit.com/r/leafs/comments/6k39hk/gardiner_is_underrated/djj55eo/

If even by then, we cannot acquire a 1RD, I'm of the mind that Rielly would make a pretty good 1RD as the other lefty options rise in usage.

Gardiner - Rielly
Dermott - Zaitsev
Re-signedSwede - Liljegren
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: CarltonTheBear on June 29, 2017, 01:15:48 PM
There are 16 defencemen in the league with a cap hit higher than $6mil, and the only one of them who hasn't hit 50 points is Brent Seabrook (who has seasons of 48 and 49 points plus Cupzzz). Defencemen generally only get paid big bucks for putting up points, and Gardiner's only surpassed 40 points once in his career. I think if he puts up back-to-back seasons of 45 points then we can start talking about maybe doing $6mil, but I'd guess he's in the 5-5.9mil range. The talents that he brings to the table still aren't really being properly valued in the marketplace. The fact that he doesn't PK or play against top competition will also hurt him.

I mean, look at a guy like Shattenkirk. He does a lot of the same things that Gardiner does in terms of shot metrics, has a lot of the same perceived faults, and puts up a crap ton of more points (particularly on the PP) and I'm starting to wonder if he even hits the $7mil mark that he was apparently looking for.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on June 29, 2017, 02:45:17 PM
A la the Nylander/Marner cap hit discussion, how does the defensive pay-scale of those comparables look as percentage of the salary cap? I might chart this out when I have time.

I've been thinking about this a bit throughout the year too: the strategy used in offensive scenarios is not the traditional one from the past 4-5 seasons, and definitely differs from the one employed by the likes of Philadelphia, Nashville, Tampa, where point shots (and scoring from defensemen) are not leveraged as direct sources of scoring (even on the PP). Part of this is because of the makeup of our defense corps, and part of it is the prowess of our forward depth.

(http://hockeyviz.com/fixedImg/shotLocOff/1617/TOR/)
Our most similar shot chart is probably Pittsburgh (http://hockeyviz.com/fixedImg/shotLocOff/1617/PIT/wrap), but theirs is even better.

I wonder if another part of it is a deliberate suppression of defensemen points for the salary implications Carlton elucidated above. Sounds a bit contrived (this is a random musing after all), but it certainly becomes a side benefit to a deliberate on-ice strategy decision. It's not like our defensemen are completely lacking in offensive ability either: our top 4 were are all offensively inclined, and both Zaitsev and Gardiner have +shots from the blueline.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on September 20, 2017, 11:26:29 PM
Reviving this thread just to grind some certain people's gears.

The top 4 are filled, and we have some interesting options for the bottom 4.
Gardiner - Zaitsev
Rielly - Hainsey


Marincin, Dermott, Rosen, Borgman, Valiev, Nielsen
Carrick, Liljegren, Holl, Polak*

*PTO

I think we'll see Carrick, Marincin, and Rosen round out the defense, and then eventually Polak midseason when he's back up to 'speed'.

Dermott - Liljegren is destined to be a top 4 Marlies pairing that grows into the Leafs next season (or one more for Liljegren).

The nice thing about this season's defensive logjam is that Carrick and Marincin are the only real waiver risks, and neither are likely to be lost for free. Rosen and Borgman (and Dermott and Valiev) are easy callups to spell injuries.

Chris Johnston has a really nice profile piece on Calle Rosen (http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/calle-rosen-went-unknown-knocking-maple-leafs-door/). Apparently they used to call him Coffey. His footwork is quite slick.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Gilmour the Great on September 20, 2017, 11:57:25 PM
Reviving this thread just to grind some certain people's gears.

The top 4 are filled, and we have some interesting options for the bottom 4.
Gardiner - Zaitsev
Rielly - Hainsey

I think you're right for now, but Hainsey doesn't strike me as a guy guaranteed to play in the top 4 all year long. He's old and left handed and seems to struggle with a heavy workload, regardless of his willingness to handle it.

It makes you wonder what it would have taken to get Hamonic.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on September 21, 2017, 09:00:20 AM
Last year, Babcock declared that Zaitsev would receive his NHL training alongside Matt Hunwick, and that lasted almost two whole games :)
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on September 21, 2017, 02:28:01 PM
www.twitter.com/jonassiegel/status/910906178749784065

Womp womp
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: CarltonTheBear on September 21, 2017, 02:39:10 PM
www.twitter.com/jonassiegel/status/910906178749784065

Womp womp

You could say the same thing about Brown, he's yet to be on a line that we expect will make up one of the team top-4 forward lines (has been with Sosh/Leivo-Aaltonen). So I wouldn't reach much into that yet. Also he was originally paired with Borgman, and only switched to LoVerde once Zaitsev had to miss practice because of his kid we're assuming.

I'm still reasonable comfortable saying that he's a lock for at least a roster spot, and he has the inside track for the 3LD spot because of his penalty killing abilities. Especially now that it looks like Polak isn't a consideration.

If anything I think that Carrick is more at risk of losing a spot in the top-6 to one of the Swedes than Marincin is, handedness be damned.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on September 21, 2017, 08:22:54 PM
Im inclined to agree, re: Marincin. The ride down to Ricoh is free for the others, so theyd have to really blow the doors off to warrant a spot over the cheapo waiver-eligible options.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: gunnar36 on September 21, 2017, 09:30:23 PM
Valiev doesn't get seem to get any mention for those spots, but I really liked what I saw from him against the Sens. He has good size and reach, smooth skater with mobility, seems very poised with the puck and seems to make smart plays.  I hope he is given a fair chance as well since I see a lot more upside in his game over what Marincin has shown me for a couple seasons.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: hockeyfan1 on September 22, 2017, 04:00:09 AM
(via theathletic.com)

On Marincin:

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/640x480q90/922/yYXpZH.png)

Babcock not too favourable:

Quote
Hes never really grabbed hold of it yet, the coach said. And so what happens in the league if you dont eventually grab hold of it, youre not in the league anymore.

Obviously Babcock has so far been impressed with Travis Dermott, as quoted in an earlier pre-season tread.  Why?

Dermott was one of only two players Babcock singled out as having played well after the first game. (He finished at 67 per cent possession, albeit with favourable zone starts.)

He's got a real nice strength and determination about him, a blend of speed, skill and power.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on September 28, 2017, 02:21:20 PM
https://theathletic.com/110224/2017/09/28/wheeler-breaking-down-the-battle-for-the-maple-leafs-third-defence-pairing/

Wheeler breaks down the 4 players vying to round out our defense to open the season.

I too have noticed Carrick's return to form of dynamic offensive defense, compared to last season's play-it-safeism. He's starting to drive down to the circles to take his shots again with some heads up puck handling.


I think Marincin is still the perfect 7D option. You won't be miffed to sit him, and you will also like the presence he has on the PK. His shot is also very underrated (because he's not in position to use it as much as back in junior).

Rosn is my pick for the 6th to play with Carrick. Though he is not the most skilled with the puck, he has the speed and elusiveness to carry it to safety, no panic to his play, and (when it's on target) a heck of a shot.

Borgman and Dermott, I really like and will look forward to seeing them wreck the AHL with Liljegren. They're both tanks, but one goes through obstacles, while the other can dance around trouble. Like Carrick, these two are also crazy strong. Dermott in particular also has unusually high stamina. MLHS posted this Dermott shift from last night (https://streamable.com/hie1t) that showcases his strength, vision, and puck movement that will only get better with top minutes.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: WhatIfGodWasALeaf on September 28, 2017, 02:23:48 PM
I thought it was a great piece of writing from Scott, but it really bothered me that he didn't say who he would choose at number 6.
 
It felt like a weird cop-out.

Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Coco-puffs on September 28, 2017, 03:53:47 PM
I thought it was a great piece of writing from Scott, but it really bothered me that he didn't say who he would choose at number 6.
 
It felt like a weird cop-out.

Completely agree.  I was expecting him to choose one guy as the leader in his opinion.  He did say Dermott was probably leading until last night's game but didn't choose someone who took the lead (or if Dermott is still ahead)
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on February 01, 2018, 09:46:35 AM
(https://68.media.tumblr.com/9abe55cfd9f8f17132906e9e3311a2d9/tumblr_otjwriS9kJ1qd49gbo1_540.gif)
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate on February 01, 2018, 11:20:16 AM
Some of the twigs seem to be developing into mid-sized branches.  With careful forestry, they may become merchantable timber some day.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Highlander on February 01, 2018, 12:20:12 PM
"There will growth in the Spring"

Chaunce (the) Gardiner
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on February 01, 2018, 01:08:47 PM
Side benefit of losing Zaitsev for so long (other than gaining so much appreciation for Polak's trade value), is that he got to sit and just watch Leaf games and how opponents played, and how our system worked. We'll see if the microstats shake out with more games, but Zaitsev looked a lot more assertive with his gaps against the Islanders.

His main issue is really trying too hard to not make mistakes, and thus allowing too many entries and turning over the puck too easily on default chip outs.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: WhatIfGodWasALeaf on February 01, 2018, 01:15:09 PM
Yeah, Zaitsev looked fleet of foot last night, which was surprising given the injury he had and it being his first game back.

On the other side of the ledger, he filled the Polak icing the puck quota too, I counted 3 for sure and maybe 4.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on February 02, 2018, 11:16:27 AM
https://theathletic.com/229159/2018/02/02/travis-dermott-and-justin-holl-arent-making-life-easy-on-mike-babcock/

Rielly - Hainsey
Gardiner - Zaitsev
Dermott - Who?

If it were up to me, Borgman and Carrick. Trade Polak to give him a shot at playing time somewhere else after boosting his value half the season from negative to something (St. Louis? Calgary?). Bring Holl back up when the roster expands after the deadline for the grind he put in all these years to reward him and light a fire in the Marlies.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: CarltonTheBear on February 02, 2018, 11:30:46 AM
Obviously there's some recency bias coming into play here, but I'd try to keep Dermott-Holl up and together for as long as we can. Launch Polak into the sun somewhere and send Borgman down to the Marlies for awhile just to give Holl a longer audition period. Again, I can't stress how much Marlies folks have gushed about this guy for 2 years now. It's entirely possible that his play is for real (ok not goal-per-game for real, but still). If we could run a roster of 13 F-8 D by trading both Martin and Leivo then I'd keep Borgman up as well.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: mr grieves on February 02, 2018, 11:42:43 AM
What CtB said.

I'm still of the mind that the Leafs should be trying to give as many NHL-ready Marlies auditions as they can. I'm sure they have their own ways of evaluating internally, and there's a development cost to the yo-yoing that's (I guess) on to benefit my curiosity... but they should see who can do what in different game situations as they head into a pretty crucial off-season as far as surrounding the core talent goes.

So, yeah, Borgman down, Holl and Carrick rotate in and out. Ship Polak to STL. Heck, send JvR and Komarov with him and see what you've got in Johnsson and Soshnikov, bank the picks and prospects.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Kaberle15 on February 02, 2018, 12:01:50 PM
That is a real nice problem to have approaching the deadline...

But it is nice to know that in a deep playoff run, we have, you know, depth on D.

But with Rielly almost ready, Hansey not even on ER (day to day), and Polak ER status should be gone my monday (7 days minimum), they should try to do something

- JVR
- Komarov
- Polak
- Leivo
- Martin

Combine two and try to add depth at C/D

As an emergency call up, we know that Holl will be down as soon as they have a D ready to get in. Soch is a non factor for the next 2 weeks.

The real questions are:

Is Kapanen a real replacement for JVR's Spot ? (i think so, JVR has tons of talents, however he seens to be invisible most of the nights and could attract the most value for the Leafs)

Is Soch a real replacement for Komarov/Martin ?

Will the Leafs miss Polak roughness in the post season ? or the 10+ corse points will make up this roughness gap ?

will the bench miss Leivo ?

Can we get value for Martin ? Will the Leafs miss him in the post season ?

Can't wait for the Deadline...
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: princedpw on February 02, 2018, 12:21:59 PM
If they are going to be trading defensemen, I'd love to see them try to trade Zaitsev for an upgrade on right D.  Vastly easier said than done.

And yeah, the long term upside of trading JVR for picks and prospects vs the short term cost is too high for me to ignore right now.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: WhatIfGodWasALeaf on February 02, 2018, 12:33:02 PM
If they are going to be trading defensemen, I'd love to see them try to trade Zaitsev for an upgrade on right D.  Vastly easier said than done.

And yeah, the long term upside of trading JVR for picks and prospects vs the short term cost is too high for me to ignore right now.

I'm not sure you can move that contract and as their top right-handed dman it isn't the right time to move on from him yet.

He is still very young in his NHL and NA career, he skates well enough that I think he can be more effective as he learns to play a more aggressive gap.

If Liljegren establishes himself in a year or two I'd probably look at trade options for Zaitsev at that point.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: bustaheims on February 02, 2018, 12:37:31 PM
I'm not sure you can move that contract and as their top right-handed dman it isn't the right time to move on from him yet.

He is still very young in his NHL and NA career, he skates well enough that I think he can be more effective as he learns to play a more aggressive gap.

If Liljegren establishes himself in a year or two I'd probably look at trade options for Zaitsev at that point.

Agreed. I don't think there's much by way upgrade in terms of cost vs reward.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate on February 02, 2018, 12:40:14 PM
Everybody's giddy from a short winning streak but I'd focus on actually winning a playoff series first before starting to plan a deep run.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: mr grieves on February 02, 2018, 12:45:55 PM
And yeah, the long term upside of trading JVR for picks and prospects vs the short term cost is too high for me to ignore right now.

While Matthews and Andersen have accelerated the rebuild, and Marleau was a clear "let's see what we can do now" move, it's still the case that they're not winning a Cup this year -- some say having to go through Boston and Tampa means they've got the hardest road of any team in the league.

So... if they're not re-signing JvR, I'm not sure what the short term cost is. Stay the course, I say, and try to move some expiring UFAs to a team that thinks they've got a real shot -- NSH, STL,  maybe ANA or MIN -- for a top prospect that might turn into a JvR replacement.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on February 02, 2018, 12:47:52 PM
I'm not sure you can move that contract and as their top right-handed dman it isn't the right time to move on from him yet.

He is still very young in his NHL and NA career, he skates well enough that I think he can be more effective as he learns to play a more aggressive gap.

If Liljegren establishes himself in a year or two I'd probably look at trade options for Zaitsev at that point.

Zaitsev doesn't fill the same niche as Liljegren, so I'm not sure we move Zaitsev even then, barring a Karlsson/Doughty playing for the Leafs scenario. With Hainsey gone, you either fill the gap from the top or from the middle.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on February 06, 2018, 01:58:58 PM
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Zee on February 06, 2018, 02:13:49 PM

I don't mind "Borgy" being in the AHL and Dermott here, but I do mind Polak playing over Carrick.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: herman on February 06, 2018, 02:37:45 PM
I don't mind "Borgy" being in the AHL and Dermott here, but I do mind Polak playing over Carrick.

I mind Polak playing at all on this team, but assuming we need someone of Polak's playstyle, there isn't really another option in the organization.

In this configuration, our right side is guaranteed to flip out turnovers, while our left side is guaranteed to try to break the puck out with a stretch pass, or skate it out. Is that by design?
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Zee on February 06, 2018, 03:25:04 PM
I don't mind "Borgy" being in the AHL and Dermott here, but I do mind Polak playing over Carrick.

I mind Polak playing at all on this team, but assuming we need someone of Polak's playstyle, there isn't really another option in the organization.


I don't subscribe to this assumption.
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate on February 06, 2018, 09:04:28 PM
I don't mind "Borgy" being in the AHL and Dermott here, but I do mind Polak playing over Carrick.

My ? for Babs: Why "Borgy" and not "Dermy" and "Pohley" and, uh, "Carrie"?
Title: Re: The Defensive Logjam
Post by: Highlander on February 06, 2018, 11:25:08 PM
Austiny, Mitchy, Leovy, Andersony, Moorey, Kapany, Meaurly, Rielly, Zaitezy, Hainsey, Kadriy, etc etc.