State of the Maple Leafs post Brian Burke

The news that shocked the hockey world yesterday had nothing to do with the CBA or Bettman or Fehr but rather that the Maple Leafs ownership group decided to make a strangely timed move to remove Brian Burke from his President and General Manager position of the Maple Leafs.  I think it is only fair to take a look back at the Burke years and evaluate where the Leafs are after his 4 years at the helm.  Let’s look at the Leafs position by position starting with the good and heading downhill from there. Defense Burke made some mistakes on

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Which version of Jay McClement are the Maple Leafs getting?

The only real dip into the unrestricted free agent market yesterday by the Toronto Maple Leafs was the signing of 3rd/4th line center Jay McClement.  Jay McClement’s best season in the NHL point wise was in 2009-10 when he had 11 goals and 29 points and last year he had 10 goals and 17 points for the Avalanche so clearly he wasn’t signed to produce offense.  The question is, how good is he defensively.  Let’s take a look at how McClement compares to his Avalanche team mates last year in terms of goals against per 20 minutes of ice time.

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A Maple Leaf Fan Dreaming of UFA Season

I generally have had little expectations/hope that Burke can dramatically rebuild this team into a serious playoff contender this season because of the large contracts that nobody wants on the roster, but after some thinking, I think there is way he can do it.  This is all pure speculation and hope, but don’t we all like to do that from time to time?  And as Maple Leaf fans, hope is pretty much all we have right now. When Burke traded for James van Riemsdyk a week ago he indicated that he expects to see him playing the wing, and in

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Evaluating the Leafs Defensemen

With the re-signing of John-Michael Liles the Leafs now have an abundance of defensemen signed under control for a number of years, many with big dollar contracts too.  We all have our varying opinions on the relative values of each of these defensemen but I thought it would be an appropriate time to take a closer look at them statistically. Offensively 2011-12 HARO+ 2010-11 HARO+ 2010-12 HARO+ 2011-12 FenHARO+ 2010-11 FenHARO+ 2010-12 FenHARO+ JOHN-MICHAEL LILES 1.23 1.03 1.11 0.96 0.99 1.00 CODY FRANSON 1.20 1.06 1.10 1.05 1.05 1.03 LUKE SCHENN 1.10 1.08 1.08 0.85 1.02 0.99 DION PHANEUF 1.01

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The Leafs Offensively: Who is good and who is not.

This will be the final part of my unplanned 3-part series on who is good and who is not on the current Leafs team.  The first was about the penalty kill and the second was defensively.  Today we look at the players offensively. The Defensemen Player Name GFA FenF20 Ozone% DION PHANEUF 2.4 15.22 60.2% KEITH AULIE 2.25 14.24 61.9% JOHN-MICHAEL LILES 2.79 13.85 46.1% CARL GUNNARSSON 2.1 13.42 56.1% CODY FRANSON 2.37 13.2 47.2% JAKE GARDINER 2.25 12.79 54.3% LUKE SCHENN 2.49 12 47.3% MIKE KOMISAREK 2.82 10.95 40.8% Included in the table above are goals for average (goals

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The Skinny on Steckel

The Leafs traded for David Steckel yesterday and while this is by no means a significant trade my first reaction to it was a very positive one.  A fourth round pick is almost worthless and Steckel is a more than useful quality defensive third/fourth line guy who can kill penalties, something the Leafs desperately need.  Upon further review of the stats, I still like the trade because of it’s low risk but my thoughts on Steckel are a little more mixed than I first believed. The Good On the surface, Steckel looks like a premiere defensive forward.  Over the past

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Leaf fans need to Chill

Every year we hear Leaf fans making the argument that they are a patient bunch and are willing to wait out a lengthy 5 year rebuilding plan and yet a mere 15 or so games into the season (and barely 40 games into the overhaul of the group of forwards) I am reading stories about Leaf fans wanting to fire Ron Wilson, some are jumping all over GM Brian Burke calling him a failure and some are even pointing out that this is just more of the same old thing that has been happening in Toronto the past 40 seasons. 

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Three keys to Maple Leafs Season

While I am not yet ready to make formal predictions on the upcoming season (that’ll come in a couple weeks) I believe that the Leafs have the potential to be a dramatically improved team and could/should contend for a playoff spot.  Last year was a disaster year for the Leafs and nothing went right for the team, at least until late in the season when the team seemed to come together a bit.  Here are the three keys to watch for during the Leafs upcoming season. Giguere/Gustavsson – The Leafs have suffered through several seasons of inconsistent and troubled goaltending,

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At look at the Importance of Goaltending

I have always believed that goaltending is by far the most important position in hockey and have claimed it can make or break any teams season. I have claimed that the main reason that the Leafs have failed to make the playoffs post lockout is because of bad goaltending. Many others have scoffed at this claim blaming everything from bad defense to bad offense (which is mostly not factually true) to poor coaching, to a combination of all of the above. I have seen others claim that goaltending would account for at most four or five games a year. So,

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The I told you so post…

Fist off, I was recently interviewed by Robin Keith Thompson of Chiller Instinct (and also a long time contributor to and friend of HockeyAnalysis.com, currently in the Phoenix blog). In the interview we discuss mostly the Blackhawks and the value of their quality third line of Madden, Brouwer and Ladd. Check it out. Now on to the Leafs. About a month and a half ago on October 24th the Leafs were 0-7-1 and almost everyone had written off the Leafs. Before the season I made a bold prediction that the Leafs would make the playoffs and a number of people

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