Author Topic: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion  (Read 17505 times)

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Offline bustaheims

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #315 on: November 09, 2017, 09:46:41 AM »
Geez surprised by these factual stats but my eyeballs have a hard time agreeing.

"Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Offline cabber24

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #316 on: November 09, 2017, 09:53:33 AM »

This is pretty surprising to hear. Dominic Moore has scored as many goals as Nylander has. Borgman has more goals than Marner.

Nylander's still on pace for over 60 points so it's not like he's struggling, but he's definitely been snake-bit when it comes to goals.
Shooting percentages are generally fairly predictable. I am fully confident that that their shooting percentages will balance out and the goals will come. Thank goodness for the depth on the team. As a fantasy hockey junky I like to look at shooting percentages to pluck someone off the waiver wire who is over do or snake bitten.

Hopefully it doesn't last a whole season like 15-16 Kadri who shot at 6.5% versus career average of 11.6%.

My case study is Torey Krug, based on the number of shots he takes and his peers shooting percentages he should be able to score closer to 20 then the under 10 he has been getting.
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Offline WhatIfGodWasALeaf

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #317 on: November 09, 2017, 09:56:27 AM »
Geez surprised by these factual stats but my eyeballs have a hard time agreeing.



Just to add to this, Kyle Dubas gave a good talk about analytics and how your eyes can be liars a lot of the time.

It's an interesting insight from the Leafs AGM, the Marlies GM and the Leafs future GM.

It's approximately 20 minutes long and well worth watching.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlVp7xYHc8w&t=675s

Offline CarltonTheBear

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #318 on: November 09, 2017, 10:01:35 AM »
Geez surprised by these factual stats but my eyeballs have a hard time agreeing.

I looked at Rielly's stats a little more and found that the +9.6% Corsi Rel stat is for all-situations not just 5-on-5. Not sure if that was a simple mistake on his part or if he meant to use it like that. His Corsi Rel stat at 5-on-5 is 4.36, which is still very good (9th among defencemen with 250 minutes). For those who aren't a fan of relative stats, his raw counts are even better as his 53.64% CF puts him 5th among defencemen with 250 5-on-5 minutes. This is all while still playing difficult minutes (albeit not as difficult as last years)

I know what you mean though, I'm not sure he's playing at the "elite 1D territory" level that was brought up, but I also don't really expect that from him. I was starting to question though whether he was capable of putting up those types of offensive numbers and those types of possession numbers, so I'm very happy to see that.

Offline bustaheims

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #319 on: November 09, 2017, 10:06:58 AM »
Just to add to this, Kyle Dubas gave a good talk about analytics and how your eyes can be liars a lot of the time.

Our eyes and our brains quite literally dumb things down for us. They take in and process way more information than our conscious minds are able to handle, so they only fill that part of our cognitive process in on what it needs for us to be able to understand and react appropriately.

I mean, that's why things like optical illusions exist.
"Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Offline Significantly Insignificant

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #320 on: November 09, 2017, 10:25:40 AM »
Just to add to this, Kyle Dubas gave a good talk about analytics and how your eyes can be liars a lot of the time.

Our eyes and our brains quite literally dumb things down for us. They take in and process way more information than our conscious minds are able to handle, so they only fill that part of our cognitive process in on what it needs for us to be able to understand and react appropriately.

I mean, that's why things like optical illusions exist.

Also, there are games where Reilly just seems to want to take over, especially when they are trailing late.  I think he has been better this year than he was last.  The problems in their own zone aren't all on the defense.
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Offline cabber24

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #321 on: November 09, 2017, 10:39:22 AM »
Just to add to this, Kyle Dubas gave a good talk about analytics and how your eyes can be liars a lot of the time.

Our eyes and our brains quite literally dumb things down for us. They take in and process way more information than our conscious minds are able to handle, so they only fill that part of our cognitive process in on what it needs for us to be able to understand and react appropriately.

I mean, that's why things like optical illusions exist.

Also, there are games where Reilly just seems to want to take over, especially when they are trailing late.  I think he has been better this year than he was last.  The problems in their own zone aren't all on the defense.
I had hard time and still do understanding the approach towards him last year. Absolutely deterring any offensive play for the benefit of defensive improvement? After the world cup last year I thought he was going to score up a storm. Did it work? Is he playing more responsible D while contributing offensively? Indications are it did work.
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Offline Coco-puffs

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #322 on: November 09, 2017, 12:10:13 PM »
Geez surprised by these factual stats but my eyeballs have a hard time agreeing.

I looked at Rielly's stats a little more and found that the +9.6% Corsi Rel stat is for all-situations not just 5-on-5. Not sure if that was a simple mistake on his part or if he meant to use it like that. His Corsi Rel stat at 5-on-5 is 4.36, which is still very good (9th among defencemen with 250 minutes). For those who aren't a fan of relative stats, his raw counts are even better as his 53.64% CF puts him 5th among defencemen with 250 5-on-5 minutes. This is all while still playing difficult minutes (albeit not as difficult as last years)

I know what you mean though, I'm not sure he's playing at the "elite 1D territory" level that was brought up, but I also don't really expect that from him. I was starting to question though whether he was capable of putting up those types of offensive numbers and those types of possession numbers, so I'm very happy to see that.

The interesting thing is all of his improvement is coming from asserting himself offensively.  His CA/60 is down slightly (59.9 -> 57.8 ) while his CF/60 is up much more (60.5 -> 66.2).  How much of the CA/60 improvement is simply slightly easier usage or a change in partner I'm not sure.  It certainly looks like he's been more active offensively and I think he's gotta play to that strength.  Ultimately, I don't think he's quite good enough defensively to ever be considered an elite 1D.  However, I think he SHOULD be one of the best offensive defensemen in the league and the point totals are starting to match my expectations.  I get that Babcock wanted him to focus on improving defensively last year, but there is no way I'd ever keep him off a PP.

On the other side of the coin (only showing regulars from both years)

Gardiner's CF/60: 61.4 -> 52.8
Gardiner's CA/60:  56.9 -> 58.2
Zaitsev CF/60: 58.8 -> 54.0
Zaitsev CA/60: 60.5 -> 60.7
Carrick CF/60: 63.2 -> 54.4
Carrick CA/60: 56.0 -> 49.6

No matter who Zaitsev plays with, it seems he's on the ice for alot of shot attempts against.  I've seen some analysis online showing he allows too many controlled entries on his side of the ice.  Gardiner is- to some degree- being dragged down by Zaitsev on the defensive side of the puck. 

Gardiner doesn't look like himself when he has the puck.  He seems to be struggling to move it up ice and its showing in his CF/60.  I don't think Zaitsev is any different than Carrick in terms of offensive ability/transition so I do think Gardiner is just having a rough start to the year.

Carrick has gone from sheltered to heavily sheltered.  Him and Borgman do a pretty good job suppressing offense (but Quality of Competition probably has a bit to do with it- 3rd/4th lines generally generate less).  Offensively I think he's the same as last year- but he doesn't have Gardiner beside him driving play.


Offline herman

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #323 on: November 09, 2017, 12:24:09 PM »
I think everyone knew Rielly had the skills and wherewithal to rack up points.

I really didn't mind that he was given the two-year training program on defense only. All through junior and under, Rielly was usually the best guy on his side of the ice, and if you watch his highlights, he was basically a 4th forward. He didn't really have to play defense.

If you subscribe to player development being a function of in-game touches with the puck, then it made sense to load him up with those events while the team wasn't expected to require his scoring. Kadri got the same treatment and has since looked quite good.

Offline Coco-puffs

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #324 on: November 09, 2017, 02:40:37 PM »
Of course, two hours after my post Dom at the Athletic does an even deeper dive, focusing on Gardiner-Zaitsev

https://theathletic.com/151165/2017/11/09/by-the-numbers-why-the-leafs-pair-of-jake-gardiner-and-nikita-zaitsev-is-struggling/

Much of what he states pretty much backs up what I said about Gardiner/Zaitsev:

Quote
Last season, Gardiner was the Leafs best defencemen at moving the puck out of the zone, both with and without control, with an exit percentage of 79.8 per cent and a controlled exit percentage of 40.8 per cent. This year, he’s dropped to 70.7 per cent and 32.6 per cent respectively, relatively poor numbers for a premier puck-moving defenceman.
  (Note:  Zaitsev improved in this dept from last year, but he was never a stalwart)

Quote
On the other side of the blue line, Zaitsev was also the Leafs worst defender at defending controlled entries into the zone last season (Gardiner was one of the best) and he’s been even worse at that this year. In tracked games, he’s allowed a carry-in rate of 81 per cent (!) up from 71 per cent last season. For context to how absurd that number is, Auston Matthews’s carry-in percentage this season is also 81 per cent. Gardiner’s numbers haven’t changed in this regard, and he’s still the Leafs best defender at defending entries and breaking them up.

Quote
Zaitsev has been the hockey equivalent of an automatic door at the blue line, allowing any living soul to gain entry into the Leafs zone with control (teams take more shots when they carry it in as opposed to dumping it in). Once in the zone, Gardiner has had a much tougher time getting the puck out compared to where he was last season.

The rest of the article does into further details regarding how each defensive pairing is doing with different forward lines.  What stands out the most is that Gardiner-Zaitsev is decent with most lines, except for when they've been on the ice with Kadri's line.  They sport a 40% CF, which isn't helped by a ludicrous 28% Zone Start ratio and the fact they are probably out against the oppositions best.  They've been outscored 5-0 together- and that's in pretty limited minutes (only 22% of Gardiner's minutes are with Kadri.  43% is with Matthews).

Anyways, I'm suprised Zaitsev is not improving at breaking up zone entries.  He skates well enough that being more aggressive at the blueline still allows him to recover.  I'm sure having Gardiner on the other side of the ice means the opposition is targeting him even more on zone entries because they have such little luck against Gardiner, but still.  You can skate and your partner is pretty good too- be more aggressive and trust each other.

Offline herman

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #325 on: November 09, 2017, 03:19:09 PM »
Anyways, I'm suprised Zaitsev is not improving at breaking up zone entries.  He skates well enough that being more aggressive at the blueline still allows him to recover.

I'm not that surprised. He's still clearly adjusting to the North American game (bank angles, NHL attack speed) and it shows in his decision making at the blueline. So he pretty much opts for the 'safe' play of sagging back for fear of getting beaten wide. Rielly hasn't really improved greatly on them either but he's doing better overall this year with Hainsey who is forcing dump-ins and letting Rielly wheel back out with speed.

Unfortunately, letting the attackers over the blueline means they start taking East-West routes that cross Zaitsev and Gardiner up on assignments. Gardiner's also a much better player when in motion and really struggles once they're standing in defensive formation.

Offline WhatIfGodWasALeaf

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #326 on: November 09, 2017, 03:43:30 PM »
Gardiner-Carrick
Borgman-Zaitsev

Give them a more equitable share of the zone starts and allow the bottom pair to build a bit more confidence.

Bottom line though is Zaitsev's zone entries aside, the team is shockingly bad at team defense and until they stop cheating for offense they will consistently be nearly men.

When the forwards get lower in the defensive zone and they have consistent structured breakouts, the team's defense will improve and so will the results.

Offline herman

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #327 on: November 09, 2017, 05:13:24 PM »
Gardiner-Carrick
Borgman-Zaitsev

Give them a more equitable share of the zone starts and allow the bottom pair to build a bit more confidence.

Bottom line though is Zaitsev's zone entries aside, the team is shockingly bad at team defense and until they stop cheating for offense they will consistently be nearly men.

When the forwards get lower in the defensive zone and they have consistent structured breakouts, the team's defense will improve and so will the results.

Funny thing: forwards coming back low in the defensive zone was what caused problems for the Carlyle-Leafs.
https://www.pensionplanpuppets.com/2016/3/10/11184956/leafs-d-zone-winger-positioning

If you'll recall, Horachek preached moving as a five-man-unit in every zone, and while their shots against went down, their offense dried up.

What Millen noticed in the Leafs blowing the zone early is by design; they're merely not executing well enough. And to a degree, more teams are catching on to what offensive teams are doing (thanks to the Penguins' prominence), so a lot of them have teched against it.

This is what Babcock likes to do with his system:
https://www.thescore.com/nhl/news/627042-mike-babcock-explains-why-the-defensive-role-of-wingers-has-had-to-change

This is a bit old now as Babcock has changed things slightly since 3 years ago, but the concept is the same. He uses the wingers to push or pull the area of play to change pace and space.
DZ: Keep it small when you don't have the puck; that way you're defending against 1-2, instead of 4-5.
NZ: Stretch it big in transition so the defenders need to spread out, opening lanes
OZ: Bring it in tight from the walls to the net in cycles (including D)

Blowing the zone 'early' pushes the defense back. Flipping the puck out gives you a chance to track it down (facing forward) while the defense is facing backwards. We're just not doing it well enough yet, and haven't adjusted to some of the defensively oriented counter-attack systems (Boucher).

Offline WhatIfGodWasALeaf

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #328 on: November 09, 2017, 10:06:34 PM »
That's a great post herman and I understand most of that, but it's simplistic.

It implies you can play that system all the time, and as we know professional hockey isn't played the same way everytime and in every situation, it's a chess match where you need to be able to adapt in-game.

Teams aren't sleeping on the Leafs anymore and clearly have an excellent pre-scout breakdown on Babcock's Leafs system, so often times they are adapting to a trap type system that nullifies the long bomb if you try for it constantly.

The way the Leafs need to adapt is to get at least one forward back to give the dmen an angled out at all times, Marleau hinted at this today in his interview.

The system the Leafs have in transition involves F1 coming with speed through the neutral zone to get the tip/apply pressure on the opposition Dmen going back to get the tip by Leafs F2 who has received some kind of long bomb from D1 or D2.

Part of the problem as I see it is often the guy who is F3 is competing with F1 because he wants to get in on offense and be the guy applying pressure, when in reality F3 needs to be closer to the dmen to provide support and an out when they are forechecked aggressively, at this point he can still pass to F2 for a tip.

Currently the Leafs D are often being left alone deep in the D zone without a skating route out or an easy outlet pass.

It's pretty basic cheating for offense or just not being switched on defensively when the opposition presents you with a roadblock that you need to play through.

When commentators/analysts often talk loosly about the cliche of "they found a way to win" the detailed version of that cliche is that they usually adjusted their system/tried another system when the opposition initially had their number.

The whole work hard, do the right thing, be a good pro is Babcock dumbed down media speak, don't believe for a second that the Leafs only know one system to play and they need to get better at adapting/executing.

Offline herman

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #329 on: November 09, 2017, 10:50:29 PM »
-snip-

Fantastic observations. They certainly can't play the 'system' every moment, just like forwards can't always be in their assigned lanes of attack. The way the Leafs play is harder to learn because everyone is basically playing their assigned role + two other potential options based on where they are relative to the puck. It's why we saw last year, and continue to see this year, missed assignments when the puck moves East/West in our zone.

For reference, this is the Marleau post-practice interview WIGWAL mentioned.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OivUohFUQYU
Such a strong Coach Taylor vibe.

Marleau is talking about the difference between playing wing and centre, and how the centre's responsibility is to be that support forward for both the defense (as an easy outlet) and the wingers in supporting the attack and bail out turnovers.

While they're already adjusting, the reasons I believe they are largely sticking with it at the moment:
1) When it works, it's worth it. Plays all over the ice become isolated battles where talent can stack the probabilities in our favour. The main problem is sloppy execution/mental stuff in the plays that cause us to have to break out more often: taking loops instead of stop/starts, fringing puck battles rather than asserting position, etc.

2) The Leafs want to dictate play and force the other team to adjust (and they are). Their style gives up chances by design in order to gain more attempts at net, where their prodigious shooting talent should swing the pendulum in their favour over the long run.

3) We've got a lot of UFAs. There's some natural selection happening and coaching staff's priority is building the program, not doing whatever it takes to win exactly right now.

4) There's a window of opportunity in the schedule coming up to do some of the adjustment work, and plenty of video fuel to bring to bear on the problem.

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #329 on: November 09, 2017, 10:50:29 PM »