Jacks of all trades, masters of none: Are the Leafs overdoing it with Swiss Army knife players?

Over a stretch in the late 90s, everyone in my family struggled annually with what to get my Dad for Christmas. The solution seemed to be that every year he’d wind up with a Swiss Army Knife, a Leatherman, or some other utilitarian tool that was great for stuffing in a tacklebox, backpack, travel kit, or whatever. These are great tools for when you are in a jam and need to rely on the next best thing to the proper tool, but much like my Dad at the turn of the century, the Leafs are over-encumbered with Swiss Army knives that were a pleasant surprise as a stopgap, but a miserable Plan A for addressing problems.
In the grandest tradition of complaining about the Leafs, I’ve chosen to wait until after they’ve had a 5-2 win, featuring a goal from one of those Swiss Army knives, set up by another Swiss Army knife, and the third Swiss Army knife managed a breakaway as well (although that result was predictably underwhelming.) Still, it’s worth noting that if we are going with our recency bias on this, Calle Jarnkrok, Pierre Engvall, and Alex Kerfoot all performed well on Saturday night.
Now with recent success acknowledged, let’s mo …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The almost certain break up of the Tavares, Nylander, and Kerfoot line

It’s late summer and I was all prepared to come at you with an article today going into the merits of splitting up Tavares and Nylander and trying to spread the offense around to three lines. There might still be some interest in doing that, and I’ll discuss it, but the numbers certainly don’t support it. What it looks like the numbers support is that Kerfoot if he returns this season, shouldn’t be on that line. That’s certainly an idea worth exploring as the salary cap could dictate it as a necessity for the Leafs anyway, and it probably makes sense to prepare for that outcome.
Last start with the place where most bad ideas start, and that’s with WOWYs. The second we start breaking down the large sample of a season into these smaller bite sized samples there is a lot more situational context at play. For one late in the game when the Leafs are looking for offensive opportunities the Leafs will put Nylander and Tavares out on the ice but not necessarily Kerfoot. When Kerfoot was playing with Nyland …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation