Alex Kerfoot’s offense is something to behold this year

Tonight, since the Maple Leafs will take on the Colorado Avalanche, it feels prudent to take a deep dive into the former Avalanche, Alexander Kerfoot. We’re not here to rehash the debate on whether the trade that brought Kerfoot here was a good one. That’s a tired debate, a dead horse, and it hinges too much on how much you value one season of Tyson Barrie.
Instead, we’re going to talk about Alex Kerfoot outside of that trade, and not in comparison with Nazem Kadri, for once. Or at least, we’re going to try to.
His season this year so far has been a good one and it deserves highlighting.
In terms of production, Kerfoot has been the best forward on the team outside of the core four, with 21 points in all situations. His line with John Tavares and William Nylander has been incredible overall, as well, with those three players leading the team in even strength points, as shown in the table from QuantHockey below.

But, looking a bit deeper into that, the below table from Evolving Hockey shows that William Nylander has 0 secondary assists at evens; all 21 of his even strength points this season are primary points. That’s somewhat incredible. He is either the primary passer or the scorer for every goal that that line has scored at even strength.

But, this isn’t another Nylander love fest, as much as I could write on that subject. On that line, Tavares and Kerfoot are each more balanced, with 4-6-7-20 and 8-7-6-24 stat lines at even strength.
This is Staturday, so we’re going to go further than production to see just what Kerfoot’s up to this year. One tool we have is the Environment Distiller tool from HockeyViz. For a look at how these and other fancy stats work, check out my advanced stats primer Part 2.

We can see above that they have been really strong the offensive side of the puck. They have created 32% more than league average expected goals, which is fantastic …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

Gary Trent Jr. turned Raptors’ Greivis Vazquez trade into all-time heist

Gary Trent Jr. turned Raptors’ Greivis Vazquez trade into all-time heist

The Toronto Raptors expected Gary Trent Jr. to take a step forward in 2021, and he has rewarded their trust in him by putting together what has been the finest season of his career to this point. Trent has evolved from an offensive-minded guard with a sweet shooting stroke into a complete two-way presence. As […]
Gary Trent Jr. turned Raptors’ Greivis Vazquez trade into all-time heist – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

News from the Rink: Joey Anderson in tonight for the Leafs, Auston Matthews shaves moustache

The Toronto Maple Leafs take on the Colorado Avalanche tonight before travelling to Minnesota and Winnipeg for a back-to-back this weekend.
After yesterday’s practice, Sheldon Keefe confirmed that Joey Anderson would slot into the lineup tonight. He also said that Ondrej Kase would skate in the morning today but would not play.
The Leafs brought Anderson on the first stop of the California road trip, which was in Los Angeles. There, he was able to visit his brother, who plays for the Kings.
“It was a really nice gesture,” Anderson said on Tuesday. “They [the Leafs] know how tough last year was on everybody, so they’re trying to help everybody out and make sure guys are feeling good.”
Tonight, though, the 23-year-old suits up for his first NHL game of the season, playing on the third line with David Kampf and Pierre Engvall.
“Joey [Anderson] is a guy that works extremely hard,” Keefe said after practice on Tuesday. “He’s a versatile player, he’s got good defensive instincts, great work ethic. We think he can help on the penalty kill. We liked his camp, we liked his start to the Marlies season, and he’s been up …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Raptors loss to Pacers illustrates painful lack of bench skill

Raptors loss to Pacers illustrates painful lack of bench skill

The Toronto Raptors take pride in the fact that they have so many quality scorers in the starting lineup, as players like Scottie Barnes and Fred VanVleet are all capable of taking the game over. Unfortunately, there is a major flaw in their roster construction, as bench players like Malachi Flynn and Svi Mykhailik dragged […]
Raptors loss to Pacers illustrates painful lack of bench skill – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Toronto Raptors: 1 stud and 1 dud from loss against Mavericks

Toronto Raptors: 1 stud and 1 dud from loss against Mavericks

If the Toronto Raptors were going to take down Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday night, they needed stars like Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby to carry the load on offense and bench players like Goran Dragic and Chris Boucher to supplement them in spurts. Unfortunately, Toronto’s 16-2 run to start the game […]
Toronto Raptors: 1 stud and 1 dud from loss against Mavericks – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

It’s only been four games so let’s cut Nick Ritchie some slack

It’s only been four games so let’s cut Nick Ritchie some slack

One thing I’d never want to do is take away one of the most fun elements of sports and that is overreacting to things in the moment. And last night while Auston Matthews was buzzing in his return it certainly was noticeable that Nick Ritchie didn’t really seem to have an idea of how to play with a center like Matthews. I think a big part of that was because last night was the first night that Nick Ritchie had the opportunity to play with Matthews. Or really even Tavares for that matter. It’s going to take some time, and putting it together in four games might be a little much.
To understand why Ritchie might be struggling it’s worth looking at who his most common centers were at his last two NHL stops. In Boston Ritchie was primarily playing with David Krejci, much more of a pass first center, and in Anaheim he was playing with Adam Henrique, who was a bit more of a balanced shooter/playmaker center, but on the same skill level as the previously mentioned centers. After Krejci, Coyle was the next most common center for Ritchie, and really it’s …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Robbie Ray should win the Cy Young by a wide margin

Do you want a bold take?

Robbie Ray will definitely win the American Cy Young award. In fact, despite this being a two-horse race between Robbie Ray and the New York Yankees’ Gerrit Cole, the stats tell us that Cole shouldn’t even come close.
The comparison:
Robbie Ray had a fantastic season. In 193.1 innings pitched, he had an ERA of 2.84 and a FIP of 3.69, nice. He also had a K/9 of 11.54 and a K% of 32.1%, meaning he struck out nearly a third of the batters he faced. Robbie Ray has always had the potential to be a Cy Young winning pitcher (look at 2017), but what has held him back until this season was his astronomical BB/9.
Ray had a great K/9 of 11.1 up until this season, but his 4.3 BB/9 really hindered his ability from solidifying himself in the Cy Young race, minus his All-Star season in 2017. In 2020, he finished with a BB/9 of 7.84 and before arriving to the Blue Jays at the trade deadline, that BB/9 was an astronomical 9.0 with Arizona.
This changed in 2021 as he posted a BB/9 of 2.47, by far the lowest in his career.
So what about the other horse in this race, Gerrit Cole? Well …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

This year the Toronto Maple Leafs are playing an 82 game long preseason

Take a moment to think about what a successful season for the Toronto Maple Leafs looks like this year. If the team dominates the regular season, winning the Presidents Trophy and setting all sorts of records but then once again fall in the first round of the playoffs, would anyone consider that a successful year? Even if the team went 82-0 during the season but once again got eliminated in game seven of the first round, would that be considered an achievement or would it only add to the team’s legacy of choking when it matters most?
Similarly, imagine if those same Toronto Maple Leafs struggled throughout the season, finished fourth in their division and barely made the playoffs only to finally slay the dragon and not just advance past the first round but perhaps go on the deepest playoff run this team has seen since The Scorpion King was in theatres. There’s little doubt that it would be seen as by far the most successful Leafs season in the salary cap era, and everyone would soon forget about the struggles of the regular season.
It’s become painfully clear that what happens this regular season doesn’t …

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Author: Filipe Dimas / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: 3 player comparisons for Precious Achiuwa

Toronto Raptors: 3 player comparisons for Precious Achiuwa

The Toronto Raptors were able to take their first look at Precious Achiuwa, who they acquired from the Miami Heat in the Kyle Lowy deal, during a Summer League loss against the Golden State Warriors. Achiuwa recorded a double-double, scoring 13 points and pulling down 11 boards. In his second game against Houston, Achiuwa continued […]
Toronto Raptors: 3 player comparisons for Precious Achiuwa – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Toronto Raptors: 3 things No. 4 overall pick Scottie Barnes brings

Toronto Raptors: 3 things No. 4 overall pick Scottie Barnes brings

The Toronto Raptors were expected to take Gonzaga point guard Jalen Suggs with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, they once again subverted expectations when they ended up taking Florida State stud Scottie Barnes, intrigued by his versatility, defense, and potential on both ends. Barnes averaged 10.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, and […]
Toronto Raptors: 3 things No. 4 overall pick Scottie Barnes brings – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ