Save percentage and the Leafs success

Here’s the thing, we all know what happened last night, and no one is going to be more familiar with what happened than the Leafs goaltenders. Quite simply, David Rittich shit the bed. He’s not the first Leafs goaltender to do it this season, and there’s a lot of evidence showing that he won’t be the last one either.
Unfortunately the truth is the Leafs desperately need goaltending to stay afloat in the playoffs. I’m not sure you need to make a case for stellar, lights out goaltending, but a salvageable effort that keeps the Leafs in the game. To put it plainly, when the Leafs have received a .900 save percentage from their goaltending, they’ve only lost twice this year. Once in a 2-1 loss to Montreal, and once getting shutout 3-0 by the previously mentioned David Rittich when he was still a member of the Calgary Flames.

It is painfully obvious that Leafs worst hockey of the year has coincided with the worst goaltending stretches of the year, and the Leafs best hockey has come at times when they’ve been receiving consistent goaltending. The six recent games, as seen in the ugly …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Marlies and Me: Jeremy McKenna keeps the streak alive while helping end the Marlies’ drought

Not much happened this past week. The team had a couple practices here and there and one game right in the middle of the week. Then then ended with some more practice. With the results of last week and the last series that these guys played against the Belleville Senators, this time to truly regroup was needed. This week in the land of the Marlies we had some wins that can’t go without being acknowledged. Literal wins as well as things that happened in game and in practice. So let’s get to it!
 
The first practice of the week really set up the team for the success they needed to achieve. According to Coach Greg Moore when asked about how he hoped to set up his practice he responded, “We just focused on doing drills where guys were in tight spaces, playing inside of contact offensively and defensively, getting stronger along the walls.” These were the exact things that were lacking from games prior, so to hear that these specific drills are being done is more than a good thing. After a large bout of negativity things like this can be hard. Coach Moore Acknowledges this as he …

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Author: Marsha Joseph / The Leafs Nation

MLB.com has the Blue Jays ranked No. 9 on their first Power Rankings of the year

Virtually nothing has happened this winter (outside of San Diego) and we have no idea what a lot of teams are going to look like this season, but that doesn’t stop the Content Wheel from spinning.

Over at MLB dot com, the first Power Rankings of the year got released, and they seem to be buying into the Blue Jays’ breakout season.
The L.A. Dodgers, the reigning World Series champions, are unsurprisingly ranked No. 1 with the Padres, fresh off of acquiring Yu Darvish and Blake Snell, right behind them at No. 2. The Yankees are at No. 3 despite not knowing whether or not DJ LeMahieu will be back with the team this season.
After the Braves, Twins, White Sox, and Athletics, we have the two wild cards, the Mets and the Blue Jays, who have been named as possibilities for every single free agent this winter. Either of these teams could end up higher on the list depending on where the likes of George Springer and J.T. Realmuto ultimately end up.
Finally, MLB has the Tampa Bay Rays, who finished first in the American League last season, as the No. 10 team in baseball after they traded away their …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The Babcock Firing, One Year Later

It’s crazy, with everything that’s happened in the last year, it seems like it’s been ages since the Leafs fired Mike Babcock, and yet it also doesn’t seem like it’s even been a year with how much hockey has happened since then.
I still remember when it happened. I was filming an interview for a school project, and I checked my phone as I was packing up to find at least 30 missed calls, texts, and messages from other social media apps asking me about my thoughts. Considering how I had been on the “Fire Babs” bandwagon for almost a year at that point, a lot of people figured I’d be happy about it, I guess.
Which I was. I was growing frustrated with Babcock during the 2016-17 and 2017-18 due to his very inconsistent analysis on player talent, but I always defended him because he was at least a good systems coach. Come 2018-19, and he was making very interesting choices on his systems for a highly skilled team, and after a hot start, the team was starting to show it’s inconsistencies as the season went on.
But it wasn’t until February 12, 2019 …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Leafs rumoured to have interest in Darnell Nurse, is he worth considering?

The other day I happened to catch James Mirtle on The Lowdown with Lowetide on TSN 1260. (around 15:40 mark) A lot of the conversation is about the Leafs looming roster overhaul this offseason, and the consensus opinion that there is no way that Dubas is close to done. Of course the shifted to defensive needs for the Leafs. And how the Kasperi Kapanen move freed up both cap space and gave them a future asset to flip for a player they need now. Given that it’s an Edmonton radio station, whether or not the Oilers are a fit for a trade came up as well.
Around the 29 minute mark in the audio (linked above) we get the catalyst for why we’re talking about this and that’s the “I know the Leafs like Nurse” quote from James Mirtle.
Seemingly that’s not a whole lot to go on, but let’s look at who Darnell Nurse is. Nurse is a player that both Kyle Dubas and Sheldon Keefe could not be more familiar with. And while I can appreciate that at some point the Leafs might want to consider acquiring players that …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Ranking the best possible draft lottery outcomes

Last night never happened. Last week never happened. The Leafs have always been a draft lottery team, that’s how I’ll choose to look at it. So here we are, banking on the Leafs 12.5% chance at the first overall pick paying off better than it will for the Rangers, Penguins, Panthers, Jets, Oilers, Predators, or the Wild.
We’ll cut with the suspense and acknowledge that when it comes to ranking the best possible outcomes for winning the draft lottery is the Leafs winning it. So there’s your number one, you can move on, but aside from that what are the best possible outcomes for the Leafs when it comes to the draft lottery? Here are the rankings of 2 through 8.
8. Florida Panthers
With Dale Tallon out, and a potentially competent GM on the way in, the idea of a talented draft pick entering the Leafs division wouldn’t be ideal. Now, when it comes to Florida winning it, there is the comfort from the league perspective of at least the Penguins, Oilers or Leafs winning it, but that’s less ideal for the Leafs.
7. Pittsburgh Penguins
A team with Sidney Crosby and …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

How do these trades affect the Leafs?

A lot has happened in the trade market over the past few days. None of it involved the Leafs. That doesn’t mean that it’s greatest impact wasn’t on the Leafs and it’s important we dissect these moves to determine how they impacted Toronto.
Let’s go through these four trades in the order in which they occurred to determine how impacted the Leafs may have been.
Andy Greene for a 2021 2nd Round Pick and David Quenneville
We’ll start off by looking at Andy Greene. There is no way the Leafs should have ever wanted Andy Greene on their team, so on the surface this doesn’t look like it impacts the Leafs a whole lot. Where it gets interesting is twofold.
First, the return for Andy Greene is absolutely bonkers. Giving up a 2nd round pick for ancient defenseman making $5M a year is pretty crazy, and serves to remind Leafs fans of what the potential return could be if they were to shop some of their players as sellers at the deadline. In particular, a healthy Cody Ceci might have value, but alas, he’s not …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Signing Hyun-Jin Ryu is a big deal for the Blue Jays

It finally happened. The Blue Jays made their big, off-season splash that the front office had been hinting at, inking 2019 National League Cy Young runner-up Hyun-Jin Ryu to a four-year deal worth $80 million.

Mark Shapiro spoke about how there would be payroll flexibility to work with this winter, but many were skeptical that the front office would be in on marquee free agents. After a couple months of free agency rolling by and only a slightly used Tanner Roark and a bunch of we’re being aggressive quotes to show for it, there was worry the Jays would enter 2020 just as they left 2019 — mediocre.
But then this happened. Ryu was one of the best starters in Major League Baseball last season. He finished behind Jacob de Grom for NL Cy Young thanks to a sparkling 2.32 ERA. If not for a minor injury and a couple of bad starts late in the season, Ryu is probably remembered as the best National League starter in 2019.
There’s no other way to put it. This deal is incredibly exciting. Ryu’s contract is the biggest one handed out by the Shapiro front office and it also represents the …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Kerfoot suspended for 2 games

Well, pretty much as soon as the hit happened it seemed like this was inevitable, but now it’s official:

Toronto’s Alexander Kerfoot has been suspended for two games for Boarding Colorado’s Erik Johnson. https://t.co/Q1i23tNvVr
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) November 25, 2019
It’s not too hard to see why that’s a suspension, and any arguments against it being a suspension are just through looking at the countless similar hits that regularly slip through the cracks. Sometimes players get away with things they should, that doesn’t mean that this wasn’t a justifiable suspension on Kerfoot, it absolutely is.

Bad hit from Alexander Kerfoot. Looked concerned for Erik Johnson afterwards #Leafs x #LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/MjXPeoPm6P
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) November 24, 2019
See? Not ideal, and two games keeps Kerfoot out of Wednesday (@DET) & Friday’s (@BUF) games, returning on Saturday night when the Leafs return home to play against Buffalo.
As for how the Leafs backfill Kerfoot, well, they already have the bodies on the team to do so, and it likely means that Timashov or Shore play in on the 4th line with either Petan or Engvall moving up in the lineup, …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Mike Babcock seems skeptical of Jason Spezza

It finally happened. Well, probably a decade later than anybody would have wished, but Jason Spezza is a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs. For now, at least.

After a couple of ugly campaigns with the Dallas Stars, Spezza inked a one-year, $700k deal to join the Leafs. The fit seemed perfect, as Toronto not only needed a fourth-line centre, but also savvy veterans to replace the likes of Patrick Marleau and Ron Hainsey. But, based on what Mike Babcock has been saying over the past few days, Spezza’s role on the roster doesn’t seem to be guaranteed.
After the Leafs’ first pre-season game against the Senators in Newfoundland the other day, Babcock had this to say about Spezza…

Babcock on Spezza: “There’s a role here for him, but he’s got to be able to do it so we’ll see over exhibition whether he likes it”
Jason: “Basically, it comes down to, do you want to keep playing or do you want to hold on to the old days & I want to keep playing”
— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) September 17, 2019

Then, this morning, this came out…

Jason Spezza, notably, on the wing at Leafs practice today. Teamed up with Frederik …

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Author: Cam Lewis / The Leafs Nation