Leafs react to Toronto’s snow day

Well, if you live in Toronto or the GTA, you’ve likely experienced the biggest snowstorm that we’ve seen in a long time today.
It’s being reported that some cities around the Greater Toronto Area could experience up to 60 centimetres of snow. That’s madness.
The blizzard has been so bad that it forced the closures of the Don Valley Parkway and the Gardiner Expressway, so they can assist people stuck on the highway.

HIGHWAY CLOSURES: Due to extreme weather and for the safety of drivers, the @TorontoPolice is temporarily closing the DVP and Gardiner. All ramps will be closed. This is to help move any existing vehicles that are stuck and allow snow plows to clear the routes. ^CdK
— Toronto Police Operations (@TPSOperations) January 17, 2022

Slowly and surely, the city has reopened the Gardiner, but as I write this, the DVP is still closed.
But for the Maple Leafs — they still had a practice today. I don’t know how everyone got there, but they somehow did it.

Tavares said the #leafs pretty much had a full team at practice today despite the blizzard that has dumped more than a foot of snow on the city & closed Hiway 401 & the Gardiner Expressway. Said it took almost an hour to clear his driveway this morning. pic.twitter.com/VIw4w2Q9Pj
— Mike Zeisberger (@Zeisberger) January 17, 2022

John Tavares was up early shoveling his driveway. He even had a helper.

Alexander Kerfoot ended up trying to drive to the rink, but he only got so far. After he gave up with his “little car”, the 27-year-old called an Uber.

Alexander Kerfoot and his little car eventually gave up trying to solve the snow and Uber’d to practice.
John Tavares needed over an hour trying to clear a path out of his driveway but pushed through: “Luckily I have …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Maple Leafs shooting by the numbers

It’s 34 games into the Leafs season. Well actually it’s 35 games in, because the Leafs played the Coyotes after I wrote this, and but for the purpose of what you are about to read, 34 games have been played. With that comes some pretty established trends in regards to how things are going for the Leafs this season.
When it comes to how the Leafs have been shooting this year, they’ve been sitting at 10%, combined with their team save percentage, they have a PDO of 102.2. When it comes to how they’ve been scoring, they’ve been scoring slightly above expected. The Leafs has a G/60 of 3.35, and a xG/60 of 3.27, so they are outscoring what was expected.
Here’s the breakdown of how the individual Leaf shooters have been performing by scoring and shot metrics.
Player
Position
GP
TOI/GP
Goals/60
ixG/60
Goals vs. Expected/60
Ilya Mikheyev
R
5
15.91
3.02
1.20
1.82
Auston Matthews
C
31
20.68
2.15
1.47
0.68
Jason Spezza
C
30
11.76
1.19
0.71
0.48
William Nylander
R
34
18.86
1.50
1.16
0.34
TJ Brodie
D
34
20.55
0.26
0.09
0.17
Justin Holl
D
28
20.57
0.10
0.07
0.03
Morgan Rielly
D
34
23.98
0.29
0.28
0.01
Alexander Kerfoot
C
34
15.56
0.68
0.68
0.00
Ondrej Kase
R
29
14.31
1.16
1.17
-0.01
Travis Dermott
D
23
14.53
0.18
0.19
-0.01
David Kampf
C
34
14.73
0.48
0.52
-0.04
Jake Muzzin
D
33
21.43
0.08
0.13
-0.05
John Tavares
C
33
18.52
1.37
1.45
-0.08
Mitchell Marner
R
26
20.78
0.67
0.80
-0.13
Kyle Clifford
L
8
8.31
0.00
0.18
-0.18
Timothy Liljegren
D
19
15.99
0.00
0.19
-0.19
Rasmus Sandin
D
29
16.27
0.00
0.20
-0.20
Pierre Engvall
L
32
13.01
0.58
0.79
-0.21
Michael Bunting
L
34
15.05
0.82
1.06
-0.24
Wayne Simmonds
R
33
9.97
0.73
1.04
-0.31
Nick Ritchie
L
32
12.08
0.31
0.88
-0.57
When it comes to outscoring what is expected of them, it’s probably no surprise that Ilya “4 goals in 5 games” Mikheyev is leading the pack. It’s also not much of a surprise that players like Matthews and Nylander are also outperforming their expected numbers, and Brodie, well, the bar was set pretty low for him and his recent goal scoring hot streak would absolutely throw his numbers into a flux.
On the other side of things, Tavares has had some modest struggles, but that’s nothing compared to the incredibly rough year that Nick Ritchie has been facing, although when you look at Bunting, Simmonds, and Ritchie all being at the bottom of the list, it’s important to note that net front opportunities are going to have a significantly higher expected goal total.
When it comes to shooting frequency, one of the biggest surprises again has to be Ilya Mikheyev. Mikheyev seems determined to establish that he has an offensive side to his game, and he’s clearly been shooting a lot more.
Before looking at the table, here’s the breakdown of what the average shots/60 are for the Leafs and by position on the Leafs:
Average Shots per 60: 6.99
Forwards Average Shots per 60: 8.80
Defense Average Shots per 60: 3.36
Player
Position
GP
TOI/GP
Shots/60
iCF/60
Shots on net %
Ilya Mikheyev
R
5
15.91
14.33
16.59
86.38
Auston Matthews
C
31
20.68
12.91
22.74
56.77
Ondrej Kase
R
29
14.31
11.57
18.51
62.51
William Nylander
R
34
18.86
11.04
18.72
58.97
John Tavares
C
33
18.52
10.11
16.79
60.21
Pierre Engvall
L
32
13.01
9.23
15.86
58.20
Wayne Simmonds
R
33
9.97
9.12
13.31
68.52
Michael Bunting
L
34
15.05
7.97
14.19
56.17
Jason Spezza
C
30
11.76
7.83
15.82
49.49
Nick Ritchie
L
32
12.08
7.45
12.58
59.22
Mitchell Marner
R
26
20.78
6.99
15.21
45.96
Morgan Rielly
D
34
23.98
6.55
11.11
58.96
Alexander Kerfoot
C
34
15.56
5.90
9.53
61.91
David Kampf
C
34
14.73
4.91
8.27
59.37
Timothy Liljegren
D
19
15.99
4.74
10.27
46.15
Jake Muzzin
D
33
21.43
3.48
8.83
39.41
Travis Dermott
D
23
14.53
3.23
7.00
46.14
Rasmus Sandin
D
29
16.27
3.05
9.41
32.41
Kyle Clifford
L
8
8.31
2.71
7.22
37.53
Justin Holl
D
28
20.57
1.88
4.06
46.31
TJ Brodie
D
34
20.55
1.72
5.15
33.40
So Mitch Marner is the Leafs average, but he’s been shooting less than other Leafs forwards. N …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The Olympics will showcase some affordable depth options for the Leafs

How does it affect the Leafs? Well in the case of the Olympics, it could be the chance to scout some depth signings that could help out the cash strapped Leafs down the stretch.
Heading into the trade deadline this year, Toronto doesn’t really have a lot of wiggle room, and they find themselves very much in a money in/money out situation. That’s fine, and they still should be looking at landing a big fish, but unfortunately while landing that big fish there will need to be some deck chair shuffling going on at the same time. Throw in the fact that the Leafs are about to have a very backloaded schedule thanks to games rescheduled due to Omicron, a few warm bodies might be nice, especially ones that are capable of exceeding expectations.
The Leafs depth took a bit of a hit this year with the claiming of players like Adam Brooks, and Mike Amadio, and while Kyle Clifford was an excellent start to building that back up, most of the intriguing depth still consists of wild card youth options like Kristians Rubins, Alex Steeves, Joey Anderson, and hopefully returning Nick Robertson.
Some veteran options wouldn’t hurt and the Olympics will give the Le …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

TLN Three Stars: Say the line, Bart!

Well, that wasn’t a fun one. But it really shouldn’t have been a surprise. The Leafs came into tonight’s game without Mitch Marner, one of their best players, and Pierre Engvall and Ondrej Kase, two key cogs to their shutdown line, so with some obvious holes up front tonight, the fact that they were in the game as much as they were says a lot about how long Jack Campbell kept them in the game, and the dominant play of Auston Matthews tonight. They made a statement in the first half by taking a 4-1 lead in spite of that, and the Avalanche made a statement by coming back.
Three Stars
Third Star: William Nylander
Nylander didn’t end up with a single point tonight, but he was flying out there tonight, creating chance after chance, and honestly probably could have ended up with five or six if anyone could have buried them.
Second Star: Alexander Kerfoot
Kerfoot scored a key goal in the first, changing the momentum of the game early on by getting the first goal after the Leafs were getting hemmed in their own zone for the first eight minutes of the game. He was up against his former team, and got a bigger role playing on the Matthews line without Marner, and he showed up to pl …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Raptors lose Fred VanVleet to COVID protocol, sign Tremont Waters

Raptors lose Fred VanVleet to COVID protocol, sign Tremont Waters

Fred VanVleet and the Toronto Raptors did well to avoid a major COVID-19 outbreak for a large chunk of the 2021-22 season, but they finally put someone into the health and safety protocols when Pascal Siakam and Dalano Banton were deactivated on December 18. Toronto has reached full-on outbreak status in the last few days. […]
Raptors lose Fred VanVleet to COVID protocol, sign Tremont Waters – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

2022 NHL Draft: Nick Richard’s December Top-32

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We are well into the NHL season and as the World Juniors draw near, it is time to turn our attention to the world of prospects. While fans are surely excited to see their team’s top youngsters suit up at the annual holiday tournament, some are already eyeing up the next crop of potential stars that could help push their team to the next level.
After a difficult 2020-21 season that saw several leagues forced to pause or cancel their seasons altogether, the 2021-22 season has brought a sense of normalcy with all major hockey leagues across the world returning to play. As players continue to emerge and establish themselves as legitimate NHL prospects, the top of the 2022 NHL Draft class has started to take shape.
My top-32 is made up of 23 forwards and nine defencemen, as this class lacks a high-end goalie prospect like we have seen in recent drafts. These rankings are based on a combination of my own personal viewings of these players as well as conversations I’ve had with other scouts in the public sphere. A lot can change before draft time rolls around but with a solid chunk of …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

The DFO Show: Spezza deserves a five-game suspension, but refs share the blame for Jets-Leafs melee

Jason Spezza is set to have an in-person (well, face-to-face over Zoom) meeting with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety on Tuesday for his retaliatory hit on Neal Pionk.

On Tuesday’s edition of The Daily Faceoff Show, Frank Seravalli and Mike McKenna discussed the situation and how many games Spezza is likely going to be suspended for. Both agreed that he’ll get at least five games but Seravalli also made a point that this could have been avoided if the referees called the original knee by Pionk on Rasmus Sandin.
Seravalli: “We’re still dealing with the fallout from the Winnipeg Jets and Toronto Maple Leafs clash on Sunday. Neal Pionk was suspensed for two games for kneeing to satrt of the entire melee, Wayne Simmonds got fined for cross-checking, and there’s a hearing today for Jason Spezza’s retaliatory knee on Pionk. What do you see in terms of a suspension from the Department of Player Safety?
McKenna: “It isn’t going to be less than five games. That’s what it comes down to. When you meet in person, these never wind up being less than five games.
Jason Spezza is a guy who …

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Author: Cam Lewis / The Leafs Nation

TLN Three Stars: Leafs somehow don’t lose to the league’s worst team, plan the parade!

Well that was a rollercoaster.
After a couple straight beatings at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Carolina Hurricanes, the Leafs came out of the gate with another flat effort against Chicago, allowing two goals in the first, only to make a nice comeback thanks to backhanders from John Tavares and David Kampf, and a nice breakaway goal from William Nylander to win the game in overtime. It was far from perfect, and it’s still pretty sad that they barely beat a team without a win, but they managed to come out without being their first win, so that’s a plus.
Here’s to hope.
Three Stars
3rd Star: William Nylander
Even when the team was dead, you could still see William flying out there, even getting a little bit physical when it seemed like the team didn’t have a spark. It wasn’t his best night analytically, with only 50.68% of the expected goals at even strength, but he seemed like one of the few Leafs with life, and it paid off with the OT winner.
2nd Star: David Kampf
IT FEELS SO NICE TO SEE LEAFS SCORE AGAINST THEIR FORMER TEAMS! Kampf was a …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Jake Muzzin’s rough start exemplifies Leafs’ early struggles

To say that not much has gone well for the Leafs through the early part of the season would be a massive understatement. They have dealt with injuries, their offensive stars have almost completely been held off the scoresheet and the team has struggled mightily to create offense in transition – something that has been a strength for this group in the past. The defensive unit hasn’t been getting the job done either, namely the shutdown pairing of Jake Muzzin and Justin Holl who have excelled in that role in the last couple of seasons.

Keefe on Muzzin and Holl: “Just two guys that haven’t played at the level that we’ve come to expect from them. Those guys take on a lot of tough assignments and it is difficult for them. But we’ve come to expect them to thrive in that position and it hasn’t happened here yet.”
— David Alter (@dalter) October 25, 2021

Given the team’s overall struggles, it may seem unfair to point the finger in any one direction but Muzzin and Holl have stood out from the crowd so far, and for all the wrong reasons.
While Holl has found a way to complement Muzzin on that pairing …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

A Look at a Leaf: William Nylander vs. the Canadiens (October 13)

Well, here’s to a new Toronto Maple Leafs season and a new series I had formulated in my head, in which I will focus on and breakdown one player’s performance for (hopefully) a majority of Leafs games.
Some of these will be longer than others, some might not even be about a good performance, but I’m looking forward to it and to this upcoming season. Fans are back, we’re getting an 82-game schedule as long as everything goes smoothly, so things are looking up this. The Leafs opened their season against the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday with a 2-1 win and there was a good amount to breakdown. Specifically, who better to start this season with than William Nylander, who I think is poised to have yet another breakout season this year.
Nylander is always one of the most-talked Leafs and for good reason. He is coming into this season looking to build on a successful campaign last year that saw him net 42 points in 51 games. To be fair, the Leafs all faced a terrible, terrible fate in the playoffs at the hands of the Canadiens, but out of all the Maple Leafs in that series, …

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Author: Matthew Rodrigopulle / The Leafs Nation