Who Can the Leafs Beat?
I wanted to take a look at the Leafs record against various other types of teams so I took a variety of stats and looked at their records against the top 10 teams, the middle 10 teams and the bottom 10 teams in that stat. Here is what I found.
|Top 10||Middle 10||Bottom 10||Top 10||Middle 10||Bottom 10|
The first three columns are the Leafs record against those teams and the last three columns are the expected point totals the Leafs would accumulate over 82 games making it a little easier to compare groups.
The group the Leafs play the worst against are teams that have a good goals for average (5-14-11, 45.1 points) followed by teams that generate a lot of shots per game (6-13-2, 54.7 points). In other words, the Leafs play really poorly against teams that have good offenses. A bad defense against a good offense is a killer combination.
They don’t play as bad against good defensive teams but they still do poorly. Against teams that are really good in goals against average they have a 5-9-2 record, good for 61.5 point pace. Interestingly though they do quite well against teams that don’t generally give up many shots against (10-6-4, 98.4 points) and do much worse against teams that give up a lot of shots against (9-12-2, 71.3 points). Not sure why this is as teams that do give up fewer shots do have better records.
The most telling stats might be the Leafs record against teams with the best GFA/GAA, SOG/SOGAg, PDO and Points/Game as these might be the best evaluators of a teams overall ability as they combine both offense and defense. The Leafs 82 point pace against the top 10 in those stats are 60.4, 68.3, 68.3 and 70.3 respectively while their 82 point pace against the bottom 10 teams in those stats are 117.7, 101.3, 103.1 and 121.0respectively and their 82 point pace against the middle 10 in those stats are 67.1, 82.0, 82.0 and 59.6. In other words, they are bad against good teams, still sub-par against middle of the road teams, and quite good against the worst teams in the league. So from that we can probably deduce that the Leafs are probably ranked near the top of the bottom 10 teams in the league, or in around 21-23 league-wide.
Finally, the one category I was interested in was the Leafs record against big physical teams (since the Leafs are generally small at the forward position) and I used PIMs as a proxy for this. The Leafs record against the top 10 teams in PIMs is 10-14-0 good for a 68.3 point pace. Against the middle 10 they play at a 108.1 point pace and against the bottom 10 they play at a 72.9 point pace. Interestingly, they play the worst against teams that don’t take many penalties and the best against teams in the middle. I am not sure what this tells us other than maybe the least penalized teams are probably the teams that give up the fewest powerplay opportunities against and the PP is, generally speaking, one of the Leafs strengths. The middle group are probably not big physical teams that fight a lot but are teams that take a lot of bad penalties and give up a lot of short handed opportunities that the Leafs can capitalize on.