The Leafs reunion with Freddie Andersen seems ill timed

When we last saw Frederik Andersen he was regularly imploding in the Leafs net, and it seemed like his career was coming to an unfortunate end. The Hurricanes didn’t see it that way, and walked away from a promising goaltender they were developing in favour of giving more money to Freddie. It seems like it is working out fine for the Canes and Andersen, as he’s been off to a hot start this year. Probably the last thing the Leafs want to see when Mrazek, who was brought in from the Canes, is now sitting on the IR, and fans are regularly questioning what is wrong with the Leafs.
As for Andersen, perhaps last season was about him being hurt and needing a summer to get back on track. It could also be that Andersen, who was brought in while Babcock was coach, never really fit with the system that Sheldon Keefe had the Leafs playing in front of him. It’s probably not a coincidence that Andersen’s numbers when off a cliff in December 2019. Looks like Rob Brind’Amour’s approach is a better fit. The glorious dream of being the team that gets to light …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

When it comes to Mitch Marner it’s always complicated

When it comes to Mitch Marner it’s always complicated

After the first round playoff exit last spring it seemed all but certain that there were going to be some high expectations attached to Mitch Marner and a demand for him answering his critics. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened and instead Mitch Marner has put up just one assist in the first four games, while averaging 22 minutes a night. Supporters of Mitch will point to the fact that the first three games were played without Auston Matthews. Critics of Marner will point to the fact that he was still playing with John Tavares, and as an $11M winger, it’s not an absurd expectation that he produce some offense himself.
When it comes to offence, Marner’s one point in the first four games is already up there with his biggest regular season slumps. Last year the longest stretch Marner went without a point was two games, he’s already at a three game pointless streak. You would have to go back to February of 2019 to see the last time Mitch Marner went three games without a point, which points to the fact that he’s struggling now, but should also serve as a reminder that once he snaps out …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

News and Notes: Matthews returns, new lines, and a couple of injury updates

Following last night’s game which included the apparently unforgivable act of having a student athlete sit on the bench instead of an AHL goaltender, the Leafs have closed out the necessary steps in bringing in Michael Hutchinson as their emergency call up goaltender.
As expected, the Leafs bring up Michael Hutchinson

Whether your issues are that the Leafs shouldn’t have had to wait a game to do this, or if you are offended that the Leafs spend to the salary cap, you can take a deep breath and recognize that it didn’t really matter, and the worst that could have happened was Alex Bishop could have had the night of his life, and we would have been treated to a nice story at the cost of 1/82nd of the results of the regular season.
Mrazek will be out 14 days, which means six games. There are back to back games Friday and Saturday night this week, so it seems likely that Michael Hutchinson will get the start Saturday in Pittsburgh. If he sees anytime in net beyond that it will depend on the health and play of Jack Campbell.
Beyond Mrazek, there are a couple of other injury …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Burning Question: Can a Campbell-Mrazek tandem really work?

Think back to last season. The Leafs had a few problems to work through, just a few that come to mind were their penalty kill, being aggressive on the ice, winning a Game 7, and of course, goaltending. The question that often popped up when it came to their goalie situation was, will Frederik Andersen play his heart out and leave it all on the ice, or will he completely blow it up and not hold it down between the pipes. When it came to Jack Campbell, we wondered, was he ready, is he experienced enough? (Spoiler: He was!)
Now let’s look ahead to the upcoming season. Andersen has been traded to the Carolina Hurricanes, and the Leafs signed Petr Mrzaek to join Toronto’s new favourite, Jack Campbell. Mrazek spent most of the 2020-2021 season injured, but for the games he did play, he posted a 6-2-3 record including three shutouts. Based on those numbers, it seems hopeful, but can a Campbell-Mrazek goalie tandem really work?
It’s difficult to directly compare each goalie’s performance last season due to the shortened season, realignment of divisions, and a variety of injuries, but let’s look at some of …

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Author: Roxanne Khasow / The Leafs Nation

The Marlies get their goalie as Hutchinson clears and the Leafs put four more players on waivers

What a difference a year makes. Last year little thought was given to putting Michael Hutchinson on waivers, and instead some of us were worried what might become of Aaron Dell. Now, knowing the importance of a third string goaltender a bit more, especially in the pandemic era, there was a bit of nervousness about whether or not Hutch would be claimed, and today we are thankful to say he was not.

Michael Hutchinson (TOR) clears waivers.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) October 6, 2021

The Leafs do not need to immediately assign him to the Marlies, so we’ll see if he hangs around the Leafs camp for a few more days, but ultimately he’ll be a Marlie and the Leafs emergency callup option.
Hutchinson was not the only bit of waivers news for the Leafs today as four more players were placed on waivers today…

Kole Lind (SEA), Max McCormick (SEA), Joey Anderson (TOR), Carl Dahlstrom (TOR), Brennan Menell (TOR), Brett Seney (TOR) and Jonah Gadjovich (VAN).
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) October 6, 2021

Brennan Menell, Brett Seney, Joey Anderson, and Carl Dahlstrom have all been sent down, and while all will likely clear there might possibly be some interest in Brennan Menell or …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: 3 Keys to OG Anunoby winning Most Improved Player

Toronto Raptors: 3 Keys to OG Anunoby winning Most Improved Player

After finishing with one of the worst records in the NBA last season, the Toronto Raptors are looking to climb back up the Eastern Conference standings in 2021-22. That will require a number of players to step forward and assuming a larger role as the post-Kyle Lowry era begins. At the top of that list […]
Toronto Raptors: 3 Keys to OG Anunoby winning Most Improved Player – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Brian Swane / Raptors HQ

TLN Top 20 Leafs: #4 John Tavares

To say last year didn’t end how John Tavares wanted it to is probably the biggest understatement I could make. After captaining the Leafs to a division title, there was a lot of hope heading into the post season, and while the Leafs didn’t make it out of the first round, a freak accident meant Tavares didn’t make it out of the first period of Game One, and while disappointing, the only thought that comes to mind about Tavares is that it could have been so much worse and the fact that he’s back at 100% to start the 2021-22 season is one of the reasons for hope this year.
Like the next three Leafs on our list, Tavares was exclusively ranked at the top of the Leafs list. Some three rankings, some four rankings, a couple of fives from our contributors that value defense and goaltender, but for me Tavares is the 2nd best Leaf (I’ll leave you to guess who’s #1.) My ranking, like I’d hope most of our contributors rankings was based in person preference, and for me I’ll take a center over a winger any day, and I think round …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Here we go again: Advanced Stats and Analytics Primer, Part 2

Last week, in Part 1 of this primer on advanced stats and analytics, we looked at some stats and resources that cover the foundation of what we can call “advanced stats” or “analytics” in hockey. To recap:
Corsi (CF%) measures how many shot attempts (shots, misses, blocked shots) there are while a player is on the ice
Production (points, goals, assists) can be measured in a number of different ways (primary points, 5v5 points, etc.)
Expected Goals (xGF%) is similar to Corsi, but it weighs the shot attempts based on how good they were, based on where the shot was taken
Shot attempt models like Corsi and Expected Goals have a reasonably good correlation with future wins, so that’s why they’re important
In this post, I’m going to branch out a little further from this foundation and talk about the loads of other stats that are available for the NHL. So, it’s important that you’re comfortable with everything in that summary before we take this next step.
The beauty of publicly available data is that it takes a ton of grass roots effort to make it happen. Please consider donating to the creators of these tools …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

Expect improved results from this year’s Leafs PK

A look at the standings table for last season shows the Maple Leafs tied for 23rd in penalty killing percentage (PK%), which would seem to indicate that Toronto was quite poor with a man in the box last season. But a quick peek under the hood shows a quite effective PK that was not as bad as it looks, and this offseason’s turnover may play a huge role in turning the team’s underlying success into actual results.
Last season
The Leafs’ penalty kill did an excellent job last season of suppressing shots (8th-best in Shots Against per 60), neutering shot attempts (3rd-best in Corsi Against per 60), and limiting scoring chances (9th-best Expected Goals Against per 60). So how does a team that finishes top-10 in all three of these categories finish bottom-10 in the NHL in PK%?
Goaltending. Specifically, Frederik Andersen’s shorthanded goaltending.
While it’s easy to point fingers at a guy who is no longer on the Leafs’ roster, there’s no denying that Andersen struggled on the penalty kill last season, torpedoing the efforts of the defending unit in front of him. Consider that Andersen played 48% of Toronto’s shorthanded minutes last season but allowed 62% of …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

News and notes from Leafs training camp

The Leafs are all back to camp today after last night’s preseason game in Montreal, and before tomorrow night’s game in Ottawa. After tomorrow night’s game there will be a bit of a gap in the preseason, and Toronto won’t be back in action until Monday, giving them an opportunity to establish who gets one last look Monday night before reducing the roster to those most likely be playing on opening night. It looks like the Leafs have a bit of a plan in place for the next few days.

Sheldon Keefe said #Leafs won’t be taking many NHLers to Ottawa for tomorrow’s game. Wants to give players looking to crack the roster more of an opportunity to showcase themselves.
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) September 28, 2021

So tomorrow night is going to be the group battling to stay in camp, and likely the group battling for spots at the bottom of the lineup card. It doesn’t sound like the Leafs will be sending their A team, and as far as the eight veteran player requirement, it’s likely that Gusev will be one of them, and expect him to be in both of the …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation