Playoff Preview: The Leafs Special Teams

The two biggest questions for the Toronto Maple Leafs going into their first round matchup against the Montreal Canadiens are (1) how will Jack Campbell perform as their playoff starter?, and (2) can the Leafs sort out their struggling special teams? We’ve touched the first question already, so let’s focus on the latter.
You may be surprised to learn the Leafs ended their season with the league’s 16th-ranked powerplay and 23rd-ranked penalty kill, which would place them 11th and 13th among 16 playoff teams in these two measures of special teams proficiency. This feels at odds with the offensive talent the Leafs have and the defensive strides the team has made this season, so let’s dive into the numbers to see what may be causing the recent issues.
Powerplay
The 2020-21 season was very much a tale of two halves for the Maple Leafs’ powerplay. The team clicked at a scorching 31.3% through the first 28 games of the season which left them with the 2nd-best powerplay in the league on March 12th. In the final 28 games of the season, the Leafs powerplay went a dismal 6.9%, resulting in the league’s 2nd-worst powerplay from March 13th onwards. It was a stunning 180 …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

Determining the Value of a First Round Draft Pick in 2021 and How it Affects the Maple Leafs

The 2021 NHL Draft has been surrounded by questions of if/when it should take place this season or next, how do teams scout for it and so much more. Frankly, it has been a bit of a mess. This is on top of the fact that the draft class lacks a franchise-altering talent such as Auston Matthews or Connor McDavid, there isn’t even an Alexis Lafrenière or Jack Hughes. While talents such as Matthew Beniers, William Eklund, Owen Power, and others will likely be very good NHL talents who will play key roles, we are looking at something more similar to the 2012 Draft than the 2020 class. 
Projecting talent is difficult on the best days and impossible on the worst. The judgments of the 2021 Draft class as a whole have been well documented. Whether it has been Scott Wheeler from the Athletic, the crew at Elite Prospects, or the DobberProspects team, the consensus has been that it is a substandard class. One metric that can help estimate raw production is PNHLe, developed by Mason Black and used on his NHL Rank King app. 
PNHLe is an offensive stat that is used to project a player’s point potential at …

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Author: Tony Ferrari / The Leafs Nation

MAIL CALL: McDavid vs. Matthews, Nylander feelings, goaltenders of the future, and taking a mulligan

It’s time to answer some more questions, from you, our valued readers. I have to say I’m extra appreciate this week as we’ve received four great questions that allow us to take a deep dive into our Leafs feelings. So let’s get at it.

Why is Matthews better than McDavid and Draisaitl?
— Bandwagon Leafs Fan (@hockeyphreak) February 21, 2021

Michael Mazzei: He is not better than McDavid, actually no player is better than McDavid. When it comes to Draisaitl, then I think you have a legitimate argument to make because the two players are pretty comparable. I will say that it’s been a lot of fun watching the Canadian Divisions top dogs put on a show.
Mark Norman: Matthews is for sure a more complete player than either of McDavid or Draisaitl, but he hasn’t touched McDavid or Draisaitl’s career highs in points yet. Let’s see what he can do this year, although it looks like McDavid has an entirely new gear this season. If Matthews were as prolific as McDavid or Draisaitl on the powerplay, this would be a tougher discussion. McDavid > Matthews > Draisaitl.
Scott Maxwell: Going into this season, I …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Senators vs Maple Leafs 02/17/21 – Odds and NHL Betting Trends

by OddsShark (@OddsShark) – Sponsored Post
Goaltending questions and an epic collapse in their last outing makes the Toronto Maple Leafs low-reward and all risk on the moneyline, so bettors might find better value within totals props.
The Maple Leafs are -310 favorites and the Ottawa Senators are +255 underdogs with a 6.5-goal total on the NHL odds for Wednesday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Toronto is 15-5 in its last 20 home games when it went deeper than -225 on the moneyline, with the OVER hitting 12 times. Ottawa has won its last two road matchups where it was an underdog of +225 or more, but is 3-17 in its last 20 away games when its price passed that mark. The total has gone OVER in 10 of the last 15 Senators-Maple Leaf matchups.
Senators vs Maple Leafs | OddsShark Matchup Report
Toronto is 3-5 in its last eight games when it was also playing the following day, with the total going OVER six times at sports betting sites. Ottawa is 3-8 in its last 11 games on the front end of a back-to-back, with the total going OVER eight times
The teams play again on Thursday. Toronto is 5-15 in its last 20 games when it played the …

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Author: Nation World HQ / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: The Raptors should consider drafting these prospects

There are many questions the Toronto Raptors’ management will have to address in the 2020 off-season.  One big question is what to do with the 29th overall draft pick at the 2020 NBA draft. The NBA Finals are well underway, finally, and the Toronto Raptors failed to return that stage in which they earned the […]
Toronto Raptors: The Raptors should consider drafting these prospects – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jason Mills / Raptors HQ

Should the Toronto Raptors re-sign Serge Ibaka, Marc Gasol, or Both?

One of the major questions the Toronto Raptors will have to answer this offseason is which one of their free-agent centres should they re-sign? After an incredible championship defending season, the Toronto Raptors are now officially in the 2020 offseason. This means it is time to start answering some of the many questions Masai Ujiri, […]
Should the Toronto Raptors re-sign Serge Ibaka, Marc Gasol, or Both? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Hani Salehi / Raptors HQ

Three preseason questions the Toronto Raptors have already answered

The Toronto Raptors entered the season with questions regarding a few key factors. Just twelve games in, they’ve already answered a few. Heading into the season, every team has questions. No matter how talented you are, no matter how high your aspirations reach, it’s impossible to feel great about every aspect of your team. The […]
Three preseason questions the Toronto Raptors have already answered – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Bossetti / Raptors HQ

Will Freddie Gauthier be a Leaf this season?

This is another in my questions you’ll automatically answer “no” to series. Having also written about Matt Read and Ben Harpur earlier, I feel I’m embarking on an unfortunate trend of writing about replacement level players who barely fit into the Leafs plans going forward. This seems like a ridiculous endeavour, but unfortunately it’s what training camp is all about. At the end of the day we know the star players are going to play with the other star players, and not much matters there until regular season. If you want to maximize the interest level in training camp, unfortunately you have to start caring about what happens with players like Freddie Gauthier.
The Situation
Here’s why I’m talking to you about Freddie Gauthier. While Gauthier can pull off being a limited ice time 4th line center that you occasionally don’t mind seeing healthy scratched for a more intriguing option, clinging to a spot at the bottom of the roster isn’t much of a guarantee of his continued work in that role continuing much longer, and when the Leafs brought in Jason Spezza, Nick Shore, and potentially have Marlies like Pierre Engvall and …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation