Author Topic: Nik's Blazing Hot Morning After Goaltending Take  (Read 4475 times)

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Offline slapshot

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Re: Nik's Blazing Hot Morning After Goaltending Take
« Reply #90 on: April 27, 2017, 07:15:31 PM »

So now that the season is over and we've all enjoyed the unexpected playoff run and night-in, night-out competitiveness of this young team there's something I want to say. Something I've been sitting on for a while that I didn't want to be a point of contention while we were all having so much fun. Here goes:

I still don't like the Andersen trade.

I know, it seems crazy. Andersen is going to win the MotM standings and had what I would definitely agree was a good, even very good, year. Some people will probably say that his very good year was crucial to this team making the playoffs(I sort of agree) and that making the playoffs is going to be huge for this team's development(I mainly disagree).

But let's consider a few things:

1. Andersen was good, he wasn't great. Among goalies who played 50 games, he finished 10th in save percentage. Among the same group he was 13th in SV% at even strength. He deserves a ton of credit for durability and showed occasional brilliance but he also showed some real areas of weakness(those shootout points will really matter one day) and struggled with consistency(he basically had 3 great months and 3 bad ones)

2. I think we're overvaluing his individual contribution because of the swing from going from getting bad goaltending in one year to getting good goaltending the next. That's a huge shift and will drastically impact a team's fortunes but it doesn't make good great. I don't think Andersen's performance made Matthews or Marner or Nylander exciting players. I don't think it made Kadri have a better season. I think a lot of what we liked about this season would have happened anyway, especially because...

3. You know who else had a good but not great season? Jonathan Bernier. Bernier was better than he showed last year. Perfectly capable of, with a better team in front of him, delivering the kind of goaltending we saw him give the Ducks this year. Bernier's save percentage was .003 behind Bernier for the year but actually a point ahead at even strength. He's a good goalie and he has been for most of his career. The three point difference between Bernier and Andersen this year is identical to the difference between the two of them for their careers.

And after all of the fun of the playoff chase and the playoffs, now we're left with the genuinely difficult question. How do we take what was, to be perfectly blunt, an at times overwhelmed looking defence and turn them into a championship unit. We're already discussing how the free agent market looks bad. The trade market might be worse. The Leafs are probably going to be picking 18th. There really aren't any great avenues.

So while I had a lot of fun this year and Andersen's relative ability was a part of that, I'm still leaning on the side of the Leafs being better off keeping their picks(Sam Steel!) and seeing what Bernier could have given them. While we can debate the value of the experience making the playoffs might or might not give the players, I can say with some confidence that I didn't see anything from Andersen this year that made me think that his availability was something that needed urgent seeing to. I think goalies capable of playing roughly at that level do get moved with some degree of frequency these days.

Making that move once the team had some clearer picture of how to put together their defense still seems like the better decision to me.

I think it's a little early to be judging the Anderson deal. I think his overall stats are a bit skewed by his slow start, and yes he did have a bit of slump mid-way through the season. However, he was very solid down the stretch and in the playoffs when the pressure was really on. Bernier was also playing behind one of the deepest defensive squads in the entire league.

There are many things I like about Anderson. He's pretty calm and structured in the net. He's got a pretty nice glove for the most part. He handles the puck really well. Also many of the saves he made in the playoffs were very high quality chances, dead in the slot type of saves.
This was also his first year adjusting to a new team and adjusting to a heavier workload.  He's also a lot bigger in the net than Bernier.

I think we'll have a better feel on the deal after next year now that he had time to adjust and the Leafs will likely improve their defense further on the back-end over the off-season, and all those rookies will have a year under their belt playing to the Babcock structure. But obviously making your assessment you only had this year so far to go on.

I think, given the reasons explained above, Anderson could have an exceptional year next year, if he doesn't get injured of course.

Just my thoughts.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2017, 10:28:32 PM by slapshot »

Offline Nik the Trik

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Re: Nik's Blazing Hot Morning After Goaltending Take
« Reply #91 on: April 27, 2017, 10:12:09 PM »
But, for now, I don't know what you saw when you looked at Buffalo, but here's what I see:

I think at a quick glance the answer to the difference between how we approached this question is that I'm not comfortable with saying "Player X had a better season than Player Y in 2016-2017 therefore we can say he's much more talented and definitively better".
Give a man the reputation of an early riser and he can sleep 'til noon
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Offline Nik the Trik

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Re: Nik's Blazing Hot Morning After Goaltending Take
« Reply #92 on: April 27, 2017, 10:15:47 PM »
So, I'd guess that the Leafs have as many high picks who are in/approaching their peaks as just about anyone (Edmonton strikes me as one with more... but can't think of many others. Arizona?).

Ok, but the issue was just whether or not they'd had some sort of unusually high number of top 10 picks. They haven't.
Give a man the reputation of an early riser and he can sleep 'til noon
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Offline mr grieves

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Re: Nik's Blazing Hot Morning After Goaltending Take
« Reply #93 on: April 28, 2017, 02:55:22 AM »
So, I'd guess that the Leafs have as many high picks who are in/approaching their peaks as just about anyone (Edmonton strikes me as one with more... but can't think of many others. Arizona?).

Ok, but the issue was just whether or not they'd had some sort of unusually high number of top 10 picks. They haven't.

No, the issue was whether the Leafs might already have too much high end talent on the roster to drop down to a top-5 pick. Framing it in terms of overall number of picks in the top ten probably wasn't as relevant as how many top-6/top-4 players they've got out of the top. They've had no real busts, Russians leaving the league, or even serious under-performers, and they've not bailed on anyone looking for quick fixes or to change the culture.

Offline Nik the Trik

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Re: Nik's Blazing Hot Morning After Goaltending Take
« Reply #94 on: April 28, 2017, 07:35:51 AM »
No, the issue was whether the Leafs might already have too much high end talent on the roster to drop down to a top-5 pick. Framing it in terms of overall number of picks in the top ten probably wasn't as relevant as how many top-6/top-4 players they've got out of the top. They've had no real busts, Russians leaving the league, or even serious under-performers, and they've not bailed on anyone looking for quick fixes or to change the culture.

Well, no, you're confusing the two branches we've gone down. The first was you saying the Leafs have had an especially high number of top 10 picks in recent years. They haven't. Again, 6 of the 150 top 10 picks and 1 of the 45 top 3 picks. That's a wholly separate issue from the talent level on the team as nobody would say Dallas is less talented because Jamie Benn isn't a top 10 pick.

The second branch was Buffalo vs. Toronto and the respective talent levels(this is the "Toronto is just too talented to be a bottom 5 team") but in addition to where we might disagree on the talent of various players based on a season or two I think you're missing the obvious here. When you are adding up the "talent" on the roster compared to Buffalo you're including guys like JVR and Andersen when, really, in light of the whole premise of this discussion you should see why that's such a circular argument. Again, I have conceded that JVR and Andersen being around this year made a top 5 pick less likely that's why I don't think they should have been here.

The Leafs not being in the running for a bottom 5 pick this year is a result of the decisions they made to bring on guys like Andersen and not deal someone like JVR. When you compare the talent level of Buffalo or Dallas to the guys on the Leafs who absolutely had to be here this year(the three super rookies, Rielly and so on) that's where your case falls apart.
Give a man the reputation of an early riser and he can sleep 'til noon
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Offline mr grieves

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Re: Nik's Blazing Hot Morning After Goaltending Take
« Reply #95 on: April 28, 2017, 02:06:50 PM »
No, the issue was whether the Leafs might already have too much high end talent on the roster to drop down to a top-5 pick. Framing it in terms of overall number of picks in the top ten probably wasn't as relevant as how many top-6/top-4 players they've got out of the top. They've had no real busts, Russians leaving the league, or even serious under-performers, and they've not bailed on anyone looking for quick fixes or to change the culture.

Well, no, you're confusing the two branches we've gone down. The first was you saying the Leafs have had an especially high number of top 10 picks in recent years. They haven't. Again, 6 of the 150 top 10 picks and 1 of the 45 top 3 picks. That's a wholly separate issue from the talent level on the team as nobody would say Dallas is less talented because Jamie Benn isn't a top 10 pick.

Right. I'd look at Dallas's line-up beyond Seguin and Benn and say that.

The Leafs have more regulars in their top-6/ top-4 than other teams that've drafted as many players in the top ten.


The second branch was Buffalo vs. Toronto and the respective talent levels(this is the "Toronto is just too talented to be a bottom 5 team") but in addition to where we might disagree on the talent of various players based on a season or two I think you're missing the obvious here.


We have enough NHL seasons of Bogosian and Kulikov to say Buffalo's defense is absolutely worse than Toronto's.


When you are adding up the "talent" on the roster compared to Buffalo you're including guys like JVR and Andersen when, really, in light of the whole premise of this discussion you should see why that's such a circular argument. Again, I have conceded that JVR and Andersen being around this year made a top 5 pick less likely that's why I don't think they should have been here.

I said above, as did Frank, that the reason the Leafs were successful this year was their youth. JvR and Andersen aren't the difference between this team and a bottom five finish. Not when you're also adding Marner, Matthews, Nylander; not when they played relatively well last year but had a terrible shooting percentage that was bound to bounce back.


The Leafs not being in the running for a bottom 5 pick this year is a result of the decisions they made to bring on guys like Andersen and not deal someone like JVR.

So, we disagree. Choices like not dealing JvR and bringing in Andersen are why they're in the playoffs, not why they aren't in the basement. I don't think Andersen was markedly better than other options, and I don't think JvR really insulated the youth so effectively that they wouldn't've had great seasons without him.

Offline Nik the Trik

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Re: Nik's Blazing Hot Morning After Goaltending Take
« Reply #96 on: April 28, 2017, 03:03:10 PM »
Right. I'd look at Dallas's line-up beyond Seguin and Benn and say that.

Absolutely. Ignore all of the Stars' talent and they really don't have very much talent.

Give a man the reputation of an early riser and he can sleep 'til noon
-Mark Twain

Offline sickbeast

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Re: Nik's Blazing Hot Morning After Goaltending Take
« Reply #97 on: April 29, 2017, 03:34:52 PM »
Wow this is the most annoying thread I have seen in at least six months.  ::)

Offline Guilt Trip

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Re: Nik's Blazing Hot Morning After Goaltending Take
« Reply #98 on: April 29, 2017, 04:35:25 PM »
Wow this is the most annoying thread I have seen in at least six months.  ::)
Agreed.

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Re: Nik's Blazing Hot Morning After Goaltending Take
« Reply #98 on: April 29, 2017, 04:35:25 PM »