Author Topic: Zaitsev's extension made official  (Read 3283 times)

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Offline bustaheims

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Re: Zaitsev's extension made official
« Reply #30 on: May 03, 2017, 07:53:43 PM »
I could also argue that those sacrificed draft picks could have been the difference between the Leafs making it past Washington or not.  One of them could have turned out to be a legitimate player.  I remember the first round pick they sacrificed was projected to turn out to be quite a good forward.

That would be an incredibly weak argument. The odds that the 30th overall pick from this past draft would be a good enough player to provide more than the players the Leafs had in the lineup are exceptionally slim. Only 1 player drafted outside the top 10 even played in the NHL this season, and none outside the top 16. That "quite good" forward you're thinking of - that was someone they passed on to trade down in 2015, not to trade for Andersen. He also put up 28 points in 70 games for the Flyers this season. He may not have even made the Leafs' roster this season.
"Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Offline Nik the Trik

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Re: Zaitsev's extension made official
« Reply #31 on: May 03, 2017, 10:49:39 PM »
That would be an incredibly weak argument. The odds that the 30th overall pick from this past draft would be a good enough player to provide more than the players the Leafs had in the lineup are exceptionally slim. Only 1 player drafted outside the top 10 even played in the NHL this season, and none outside the top 16. That "quite good" forward you're thinking of - that was someone they passed on to trade down in 2015, not to trade for Andersen. He also put up 28 points in 70 games for the Flyers this season. He may not have even made the Leafs' roster this season.

I think he's referring to Steel, not Konecny. Although there's really no chance Steel would have made the roster.
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Offline bustaheims

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Re: Zaitsev's extension made official
« Reply #32 on: May 04, 2017, 10:35:57 AM »
I think he's referring to Steel, not Konecny. Although there's really no chance Steel would have made the roster.

Possibly. Either way, the argument that the player the Leafs may have chosen with the #30 pick in the 2016 draft contributing enough to push the Leafs past the Caps is an extremely thin one.
"Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Offline CarltonTheBear

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Re: Zaitsev's extension made official
« Reply #33 on: May 04, 2017, 12:52:08 PM »
A pretty comprehensive article here looking at a number of ways that Zaitsev struggled from an analytical perspective:

https://theleafsnation.com/2017/05/04/the-nikita-zaitsev-contract-is-bad-and-the-leafs-will-probably-regret-signing-it/

Basically: Zaitsev was bad at preventing players from crossing the blue line, was bad at getting the puck out of the defensive zone, iced the puck the a lot, was just ok at carrying the puck over the opposing blue line, and doesn't seem to individually create that much in the offensive zone.


Online herman

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Re: Zaitsev's extension made official
« Reply #35 on: May 04, 2017, 01:53:11 PM »
A pretty comprehensive article here looking at a number of ways that Zaitsev struggled from an analytical perspective:

https://theleafsnation.com/2017/05/04/the-nikita-zaitsev-contract-is-bad-and-the-leafs-will-probably-regret-signing-it/

Basically: Zaitsev was bad at preventing players from crossing the blue line, was bad at getting the puck out of the defensive zone, iced the puck the a lot, was just ok at carrying the puck over the opposing blue line, and doesn't seem to individually create that much in the offensive zone.

PPP's Con take on the extension.
http://www.pensionplanpuppets.com/2017/5/3/15523688/toronto-maple-leafs-nikita-zaitsev-player-analysis-salary-cap-roster-contracts-nhl-khl

Honestly, the numbers don't look great.

Personally, based on the way he looked on the ice and what I saw from him with Team Russia and on YouTube, he was playing a different game here and missing a good deal of confidence in his decisions. So putting up rookie-esque numbers is not really all that surprising to me.

I know I'm repeating myself, but a lot of Zaitsev's issues are very fixable and come down to more experience with the country, the league, the language, the media, the system. Ugh, intangibles: he took a huge pay cut to come here, transplanted his very young family (now expecting a second child) into a new culture, and was the only defenseman on the team to have never played Babcock's system before. Hitting middle ground on most of the stats with all of that in mind is not really a downside to me.

Offline bustaheims

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Re: Zaitsev's extension made official
« Reply #36 on: May 04, 2017, 02:09:07 PM »
Personally, based on the way he looked on the ice and what I saw from him with Team Russia and on YouTube, he was playing a different game here and missing a good deal of confidence in his decisions. So putting up rookie-esque numbers is not really all that surprising to me.

I know I'm repeating myself, but a lot of Zaitsev's issues are very fixable and come down to more experience with the country, the league, the language, the media, the system. Ugh, intangibles: he took a huge pay cut to come here, transplanted his very young family (now expecting a second child) into a new culture, and was the only defenseman on the team to have never played Babcock's system before. Hitting middle ground on most of the stats with all of that in mind is not really a downside to me.

Agreed. There's a learning curve to playing in the NHL, even for experienced international players. The quality of competition is higher, the ice is smaller, the strategies and systems are different, etc. While he definitely looked like he struggled at times, there's enough there to be encouraged about his potential to improve, and to at least perform on par with his comparables at $4.5M per.
"Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Online herman

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Re: Zaitsev's extension made official
« Reply #37 on: May 04, 2017, 02:57:43 PM »
Agreed. There's a learning curve to playing in the NHL, even for experienced international players. The quality of competition is higher, the ice is smaller, the strategies and systems are different, etc. While he definitely looked like he struggled at times, there's enough there to be encouraged about his potential to improve, and to at least perform on par with his comparables at $4.5M per.

And he got saddled with the highest competition the Leafs faced on a regular basis, played all situations, and made it the full season as a hard hitter. I can only imagine how our season would have turned out if he was actually sheltered and Polak absorbed more minutes...

For what it's worth, Zaitsev's Goals Above Replacement numbers actually look pretty good in DTMAboutHeart's model, with no negatives in the contributing factors. I don't know enough about the minutae of this aggregate stat to say one way or the other, but looking at the component scores (at least on the Leafs, and at the top of the table), it matches my general sense for the most part. Because of his smaller sample size of historical information, he might have received a friendly skewing.

PlayerOVERALL
JAKE.GARDINER7.4
NIKITA.ZAITSEV5.8
MORGAN.RIELLY4.5
MATT.HUNWICK2.5
CONNOR.CARRICK2
MARTIN.MARINCIN1.3
ROMAN.POLAK-1
« Last Edit: May 04, 2017, 02:59:26 PM by herman »

Offline sickbeast

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Re: Zaitsev's extension made official
« Reply #38 on: May 04, 2017, 06:12:51 PM »
I guess my biggest issue with this deal is the length of the contract.  Why not give him a "show me" deal like what they did with Kadri?  That way they could cut bait in two years if things don't pan out.  In two years the Leafs are going to have to start paying some of their young players good money and things will be tight with the cap.  I'm just concerned that this contract could really come back to haunt them.  Like I said, Zaitsev could wind up on Robidas Island.

As for Andersen, you guys make some valid arguments.  He is clearly more durable than Reimer.  That hit to the head that Andersen took in the playoffs probably would have knocked Reimer out completely for a period of time.  I just really didn't like sacrificing two high draft picks just to sign a free agent.  It didn't sit well with me, and to a large extent it still doesn't now even though Andersen panned out quite nicely.

Offline Bender

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Re: Zaitsev's extension made official
« Reply #39 on: May 04, 2017, 07:48:04 PM »
I agree with Don Cherry.  Brutal +/-.  Horrible defensively.  Invisible in the playoffs and on the ice for a whole bunch of goals against versus Washington.

Invisible? Came off a fresh concussion and tossed into the playoff fire. Completely off by his own admission, didn't feel himself until near the end, which were several 2-1 games. "Horrible", that's a big stretch. Plus/minus? Reilly -20, Zaitsev -22. Like Morgan, relied on heavily during this season to play against other team's best. Not an accurate stat I believe for a team that played bad team defense and got better as the season progressed. And apparently, Leaf management disagrees with you.
That's fine.  I was wrong about Andersen and I could be wrong again.  In fairness, Reimer had almost identical stats to Andersen this past season, so in a sense I was "right" about that.  The Leafs could have signed Reimer without sacrificing any draft picks.

I will say that Zeitsev is very slick with the puck and he is a great passer.  I'm not saying he's a bad player.  I'm saying he by no means deserves a 7 year contract at $4+ million per season.  It could turn out to be a real albatross and he might wind up as a resident of Robidas Island.
He can be sent packing to KHL  with no cap hit when he outlives his usefulness

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Offline Nik the Trik

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Re: Zaitsev's extension made official
« Reply #40 on: May 04, 2017, 08:16:18 PM »
Why not give him a "show me" deal like what they did with Kadri?  That way they could cut bait in two years if things don't pan out. 

Zaitsev has a year until he's a UFA. If he didn't get a deal with long term security he could just sign a one year deal in the KHL and then explore free agency.

The Leafs don't have any good or obvious paths to replacing him so unless they were willing to go without him next year they had to effectively deal with him as if he were a free agent.
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Offline Nik the Trik

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Re: Zaitsev's extension made official
« Reply #41 on: May 04, 2017, 08:34:47 PM »

Here's what I don't get about not liking this deal primarily because of the length:

Imagine if the Leafs defense were as it's currently constituted only without Zaitsev. Now imagine that a 28 year old defenseman of Zaitsev's ability were available as a UFA for 5 years/22.5 million. Would you want the Leafs to sign that player?

If the answer is no then surely the issue with Zaitsev is how comfortable you are with him being a long term part of the top 4 regardless of his contract. If the answer is yes, then how can it be worse that the Leafs get his age 26 and 27 years as well?
Give a man the reputation of an early riser and he can sleep 'til noon
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Offline Bullfrog

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Re: Zaitsev's extension made official
« Reply #42 on: May 05, 2017, 07:57:47 AM »
He can be sent packing to KHL  with no cap hit when he outlives his usefulness

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No, he can't be sent there. He can choose to go there.

Online herman

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Re: Zaitsev's extension made official
« Reply #43 on: May 05, 2017, 08:43:26 AM »
The deal CSKA had on the table for him was rumoured to be 12M USD over two years. It would have made him eligible for the Olympics as well.

For reference, Kovalchuk and Datsyuk are in the 4-5M AAV tier.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2017, 08:47:27 AM by herman »

Offline CarltonTheBear

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Re: Zaitsev's extension made official
« Reply #44 on: May 05, 2017, 09:16:49 AM »
I don't know enough about the minutae of this aggregate stat to say one way or the other, but looking at the component scores (at least on the Leafs, and at the top of the table), it matches my general sense for the most part.

Just a very minor tidbit, but I'm guessing you didn't look much at the Leafs' forward section of this stat ;)

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Re: Zaitsev's extension made official
« Reply #44 on: May 05, 2017, 09:16:49 AM »