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.
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 …
Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation