Leafs special teams are a strength but also a potential area for improvement

Leafs special teams are a strength but also a potential area for improvement

One of the predictors that teams often use to size themselves up against the competition around the league is special teams performance. Teams might only spend around 10 minutes of a game on special teams, but it is an important section of time. The Leafs average 3.37 goals per game and 0.79 of that are powerplay goals (23%). Similarly, 23% of the Leafs goals against come when they are shorthanded. It’s in that spirit that it seems like it’s worth diving into the team numbers around special teams, just a little and seeing how Toronto measures up to their most immediate competition.

25% (7)
25.1% (5)
26.4% (3)
PP% Net
22.6% (7)
22.9% (6)
21% (10)
79.4% (16)
85.8% (1)
80.5% (13)
PK% Net
83.1% (13)
88.1% (1)
81.8% (17)
104.4% (7)
110.9% (1)
106.9% (5)
Combined Net%
105.7% (8)
111% (1)
102.8% (12)
Net Goal Dif
10 (6)
19 (1)
6 (14)
When looking at the Leafs immediate competition it’s clear that the top of the Atlantic Division thrives on special teams. The Bruins in particular are dominant, only conceding the advantage to the Lightning on raw powerplay percentage. The second that short handed goals against are factored into the Lightning’s situation, they become the worst of the trio, with only 21% of their powerplays being measured as truly successful.
The Lightning again struggle in similar fashion against on the PK, having a stronger penalty kill than the Leafs do, but being less capable of coming up with short handed goals for, something that Toronto has continued to do successfully with their aggressive penalty kill. It closes the gap nicely and from a Leafs perspective having the Lightning frequently give up shorthanded goals …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

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