Author Topic: The Defensive Logjam  (Read 18977 times)

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Offline sickbeast

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Re: The Defensive Logjam
« Reply #30 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.

Offline herman

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Re: The Defensive Logjam
« Reply #31 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 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?
« Last Edit: August 08, 2016, 03:08:56 PM by herman »

Offline sickbeast

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Re: The Defensive Logjam
« Reply #32 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 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.

Offline bustaheims

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Re: The Defensive Logjam
« Reply #33 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.
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Offline herman

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Re: The Defensive Logjam
« Reply #34 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.

Offline sickbeast

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Re: The Defensive Logjam
« Reply #35 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.

Offline WhatIfGodWasALeaf

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Re: The Defensive Logjam
« Reply #36 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.


Offline sickbeast

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Re: The Defensive Logjam
« Reply #37 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

Offline pnjunction

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Re: The Defensive Logjam
« Reply #38 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.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2016, 09:26:46 PM by pnjunction »

Offline Tigger

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Re: The Defensive Logjam
« Reply #39 on: August 08, 2016, 10:26:01 PM »
Luke would've been for depth, though SchadenSchennfreude, I mean, c'mon.
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Offline herman

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Re: The Defensive Logjam
« Reply #40 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.

Offline Nik the Trik

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Re: The Defensive Logjam
« Reply #41 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.
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Offline CarltonTheBear

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Re: The Defensive Logjam
« Reply #42 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.

Offline herman

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Re: The Defensive Logjam
« Reply #43 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.

Offline herman

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Re: The Defensive Logjam
« Reply #44 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


Like most charts about the Leafs, you can identify the section where you want to be by finding Jake Gardiner.

TMLfans.ca

Re: The Defensive Logjam
« Reply #44 on: August 09, 2016, 09:52:17 AM »