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Messages - cw

#1
Among all forwards in the playoffs since 2016-17 to the present with 30 or more playoff games, Marner is 8th in assists per game. Here's the 7 who did better:
Connor McDavid
Nikita Kucherov
Leon Draisaitl
Mikko Rantanen
Sidney Crosby
Blake Wheeler
Nathan MacKinnon

I don't understand the disdain for this player and this stuff about his inability to pass in the playoffs or whatever the heck that is. Nor this stuff about him being primarily at fault for the team's lower playoff scoring when he's their leading playoff scorer. It doesn't seem to jive with the facts that have no opinion.
#2
Quote from: CarltonTheBear on July 12, 2024, 09:59:33 AM
Quote from: cw on July 12, 2024, 09:29:59 AMMcMann (he came up as a center)

I'm not certain this is true. I'm almost 100% sure he never played centre with the Marlies. In general I just don't ever recall hearing that he did and it's somewhat easy to scan through old Marlies line-up notes throughout the years and in every season he played I can only find him lining up on the wing. There aren't as many line-up notes from his NCAA days but again the only ones I can find have him listed as a winger in them.

Also I mean even if he played a bit of C in college, everything about his game just screams winger to me.

He did. But how much I'm not sure. Didn't see them enough.
He centered the 3rd line when he first arrived under coach Moore. Moore increased his usage there. He then bounced to the ECHL and back.

I remember him centering lines with Der-Arguchintsev as one winger, Abramov as another winger on another line and Ellis as a winger on another line. It's been a while so I'm fuzzy. He did some PK too and took some draws.

He was between wing and center at Colgate. How much again, I'm not sure. I also don't know what he did in the ECHL.

He's won 58% of his draws in the NHL - a miniscule sample size. But he's not getting killed in the faceoff circle. His size and strength helps him there.
He likes the middle of the ice. He scores a lot from there and around the net.
He has a defensive conscience - he works in both ends of the ice.
He skates well - one of the faster players on the team so he can cover a bunch of ice defensively.
He has a lot of ingredients to play the position defensively and score some while he's at it - which is a 3C requirement in today's NHL.
The raw attributes seem as good or better than anyone else for that role.

Here's my concern with him in that role: He made progress last year but he still seemed to be figuring out the NHL game mentally. His reads and reaction and where he should be going sometimes seemed a little hesitant or uncertain. I do not recall that when I saw him in the AHL. I saw it more than once last season so I think there is something going on there. It is probably pretty common among call ups and should dissipate with experience. We'll soon find out.

With Marner & Nylander being physical lightweights, there's certainly a case to be made for Knies and McMann to help offset that in the top 6.

I had hoped that Hakanpaa's addition might free up Liljegren to be traded for a 3rd line center. That doesn't look like it is going to happen anytime soon.

I don't think Nylander will ever be interested defensively - his head doesn't seem into it. He doesn't seem into shot blocking or hitting anyone. Jarnkrok has the smarts but doesn't seem as physically strong. Domi is not always mindful with what he does with the puck and for that, seems safer on the wing. Holmberg seems to have his limits. Kampf has proven he isn't up to it. Dewar's a 4th liner. Robertson is having trouble sticking in a NHL lineup. Minten will take time before he can flourish in that role. They all have flaws.

So out of a flawed group, I'd take a look at McMann & Jarnkrok. If one of them could do the job, it would be a heck of a lot easier to add a winger.
#3
Quote from: CarltonTheBear on July 11, 2024, 10:39:59 AM
Quote from: princedpw on July 11, 2024, 10:29:47 AMWhat about Jarnkrok?  Something like

Knies - Matthews - Domi
McMann - Tavares - Marner
Robertson/Holmberg - Jarnkrok - Nylander
Dewar - Kampf - Holmberg/Reaves

Basically Holmberg/Jarnkrok can rotate at center in the D zone.  Nylander could also take some faceoffs.

Yeah I'd play Jarnkrok at 3C before a lot of other options. I know he's played C at numerous times throughout his career, but was almost never really seen as a C option as a Leaf (which was always a little surprising to me). The fact that they rotated through a bunch of mediocre options last season without giving him a shot kinda says something. But again, new perspective with Berube coming in so it's not entirely off the table sure.

I would definitely look at this:

Center:
Matthews
Tavares
McMann (he came up as a center)
Kampf

Right Wing:
Marner
Nylander
Jarnkrok
Dewar/Reaves

Left Wing:
Knies
Domi
(Robertson / trade)
Holmberg

Heck of a lot easier to find a left winger than it is a good 3rd line center.
You might get a top 6 left winger easier than a 3rd line center.
You'd miss McMann doing his power forward thing on the wing but you could have Knies, Tavares and McMann on separate lines - with each of them being good at going to the blue ice/front of the net.





#4
Quote from: bustaheims on July 10, 2024, 06:57:45 PM
Quote from: Frank E on July 10, 2024, 05:24:33 PMSure, but they need centremen.

Well, then it's a good thing Jarnkrok started in the league as a center!

Seriously, though, I don't get the push by some to move him. You're not getting a better player for that money and there's better options to move if you're just looking to clear space. His role on the team needs to be adjusted - and, hopefully, the new coaching staff will recognize that - but he provides good value, is a solid defensive presence, and can chip in offensively. He's not a cap dump guy.

I think he's one of the best Swiss Army Knives they have had.
#5
Quote from: herman on July 10, 2024, 08:16:03 AM
Quote from: cw on July 10, 2024, 06:41:55 AMThere's a reason why Keefe and Babcock gave the 'playmaker' the most ice time among the forwards. There's a reason why Auston Matthews has liked the 'playmaker' on his wing. He plays at a Selke-ish level in both ends of the ice. He doesn't just turn it  on 40% of the time in one end. There's more to his contribution than mere 'playmaking'

I think every team would love to have a Marner, but there is also a reason these two coaches couldn't get it done. Babcock for b-hole reasons (no one wanted to play for him, despite his tactical prowess). Keefe for over-believing in and over-reliance on his two top guys to the detriment of the team. Pairing Marner with Matthews made it extremely easy to neuter the Leafs' attack in the playoffs, especially when Marner was obviously just looking for the home run pass to Matthews every time.

Except for the 11 playoff goals Marner scored (4th on his team) mixed in with him leading his team in playoff scoring.

Every playoff team has their top scoring guys targeted defensively.
That's nothing special.
As the Leafs top playoff scorer, I guess Marner was the toughest to defend against because he had more to his game than just a shot. He was in on setting up Tavares, Nylander, etc too.
#6
Quote from: bustaheims on July 10, 2024, 08:08:30 AM
Quote from: cw on July 09, 2024, 04:48:43 PMSigned more than 8 days ago.
Still not on the roster.
I don't recall anything quite like it in the NHL ...

The longer this goes on, the more it feels like the information Simmons relayed is close to the truth. While it could just be a matter of difficulties with Hakanpaa being overseas or otherwise unable to get seen by the Leafs' medical team, you'd have to think that would have been resolved by now. The fact we haven't heard a peep about it - no leaks, nothing official, not even a whisper or suggestion he's even been in town - concerns me. Could easily be nothing, but could also easily be that things with his knees are potentially career threatening.

Imagine that there is and was nothing wrong with his knees for next season ...
Why would it take this long to get his name on the roster and why wouldn't the Leafs jump on it to shoot down the errant media report?
Actions speak louder than words.
#7
Quote from: Deebo on July 06, 2024, 09:05:08 AMCapFriendly are still selling premium subscriptions.

They've turned the lights out.

https://www.capfriendly.com/
"CapFriendly Premium users will receive a pro-rated refund for their remaining subscription term."
#8
Quote from: IJustLurkHere on July 09, 2024, 07:33:05 PM
Quote from: herman on July 09, 2024, 08:28:34 AMI think my idea at this point is, in analyzing the metagame of the playoffs, pure playmakers take a huge hit in productivity under playoff style play and officiating. In the KHL championship, this is likely not the case, but in the NHL's no-space playoffs, the game is won by whoever can get the puck off the walls and into the middle of the ice before defenses are set most often.

If we're going to get meta, I'd suggest taking it up a level further and not getting to attached to any sort of "playoff style" (and beyond that, I think you've got some legwork to do on your premise re: playmakers, but meta's the phrase i'm bumping on, so let's stay there).

Right now it's the Florida forecheck. A few years ago it was puck possession -with dump and chase being actively frowned on. Not long before that it was the LA Kings grinding the boards. Everyone follows the leader, but if you spend too much effort following the style of the day, you can get caught out when the next one rolls through, like last years (relatively) cheap possession Leafs D getting caught in the headlights of the Florida forecheck.

My anecdotal off-the-cuff observation (semi hot-take?) which could definitely use some more evidence is that the next thing is almost likely to come from whatever is least useful right now. Playmakers disappearing in the playoffs? Someone is going to come up with a heavy passing approach which will put the forecheckers back on their heels. They'll look like a genius, but at a meta level it would be a reaction to being able to get value contracts for playmakers (if teams grant the premise and move away from them). Not particularly useful to the Leafs who are trying to win the league that is, not reinvent it, but write off playmakers at your own risk.

Talent finds a way.

Very roughly, about 40% of the game is played in one end. 40% in the other. 20% in the neutral zone.
A crazy aspect of a lot of the discussion about post season play seems to focus on only one end of the ice.

There's a reason why Keefe and Babcock gave the 'playmaker' the most ice time among the forwards. There's a reason why Auston Matthews has liked the 'playmaker' on his wing. He plays at a Selke-ish level in both ends of the ice. He doesn't just turn it  on 40% of the time in one end. There's more to his contribution than mere 'playmaking'

The fastest way to move the puck isn't by skating. Players exceptional at reading the play and passing the puck have been invaluable for decades. Imagine Wayne Gretzky's career removing his playmaking - a bunch from his 'office'. Do the Oilers still win 4 Cups? I don't think so. McDavid, "put the team on his back" according to many and set a playoff record ... with 34 playoff assists this season. I don't think the Oilers do nearly as well without McDavid's playmaking.

I thought the 2024 Cup final was going to be interesting pitting two different teams with two different styles against each other. I wondered if it would set a template for how GMs might try to construct their teams in the near future if one of them heavily prevailed over the other. That sure as heck didn't happen. I think the Oilers surprised that they could be as competitive as they were against a strong defensive team. Two coaches examined the talents of the players they had to work with and focused on getting them to play in a way that would get the most out of them. To me, it has always been that way. There have been common ingredients or characteristics but no clear cut cookie cutter that lasts for systemic playoff success. Its been a moving target for decades. Nearly every Cup winner seems to have its own team personality. The successful teams find one that resonates and makes them greater than the sum of their parts.
#9
Signed more than 8 days ago.
Still not on the roster.
I don't recall anything quite like it in the NHL ...
#10
I looked at some video of Alex in his OHL days. He had some pretty good skill. Not sure what happened. Nobody has touched him so there's something wrong. I'd want to know what that is and have some sort of a shot at a prospective fix before signing him. His recent NHL teams probably thought that when they signed him.

If Hakanpaa signing goes through, Dewar arbitration, Steeves RFA signing and they sort things out with Robertson, that is 4 more NHL contracts, taking them to 47. If Hakanpaa is good to go, they may flip Liljegren for a 3rd line center so they're still at 47. Maybe Robertson is dumped for a pick so that might free up one. You'd want 1 or 2 to give you flexibility for trades. You'd like 1 or 2 for picking up depth guys like Benoit in August last year.

If I had to call it now and they had some idea of how to turn him around and felt it would not be a problem for his brother, I might offer him a PTO to AHL deal path like they did Bellows and if he blows them away, a NHL deal. Leafs can afford to throw some good money at it to attract him. They have great facilities and a good development staff who might be able to straighten him out (probably between the ears). He might be able to stay with his brother and get his career back on track.

My focus would be on getting a 3rd line center who can check and score some (maybe via a Liljegren/Robertson trade).
#11
Quote from: Bullfrog on July 07, 2024, 09:51:04 PM
Quote from: cw on July 07, 2024, 02:58:54 PMI feel badly for the guy. He was a #8 overall pick and his hockey career is on the rocks (26 yrs old, .55ppg in the AHL, -21) while his brother got an enormous deal and his father was a pretty good NHLer. Has to be very tough to take. Maybe he'd flourish in Europe ...

Try being Jared Staal.

Matthews will make more money after 3 games played next season than Jared Staal made in his NHL career. Tough business if you fall a little short of your dreams.
#13
Quote from: gunnar36 on July 07, 2024, 12:41:22 PMWhat do you guys think of finding Robertson a new home (not sure they could get much more then a 3rd rounder in  return) and then signing Ufa Alex Nylander to a 1 year? I'm sure he would be super motivated to come and play with his brother and could move up and down the lineup as needed. I know he isnt a physical player but at 6'1 I would feel way better about him winning board battles in either end than Robertson.

Buffalo gave up on him.
Chicago gave up on him.
Pens waived him twice in Oct '22 and Oct '23 - no takers.
Columbus declined to qualify him in Jun '24.
25% of the league signed FA deals July 1 - no takers.

Leafs are on the hook with his brother for $90+ mil.
Why take the risk of ticking him off or upsetting him in a situation where it probably isn't going to end well for his brother trying to crack the roster of a playoff team after he failed to crack the roster and stick with three non-playoff teams?

They would need two way play from him and his brother is not a great example of that.

I'd stay clear of him.

I feel badly for the guy. He was a #8 overall pick and his hockey career is on the rocks (26 yrs old, .55ppg in the AHL, -21) while his brother got an enormous deal and his father was a pretty good NHLer. Has to be very tough to take. Maybe he'd flourish in Europe ...

Robertson ... might take the third rather than losing him on waivers IF they're in that sitaution. Maybe he becomes more tradeable after injuries start opening up roster spots. All that is premature until they know about Hakanpaa and whether Liljegren could be moved to get forward help.
#14
Did Cameron Rowe just shutout the whole White team in that shootout?
(I tuned in late ..)

EDIT: yeah, he did - about 20 shootout saves in a row. White team was not the most skilled.
#15
Former Leafs: Ex-Files / Re: Minor Ex-Leaf News
July 07, 2024, 07:57:54 AM
Former Leafs still unsigned:

James van Riemsdyk
John Klingberg - still recovering (apparently in Toronto) from hip surgery
Tyson Barrie
Travis Dermott - had serious concussion issues in '22-23, missed 27 games in '23-24 - not sure why
Victor Mete
Byron Froese
Mark Giordano - I suspect he'll land a spot as a depth dmen
Alexander Barabanov - not good when San Jose doesn't renew
Matt Martin
Radim Zohorna