The Newfoundland Growlers are a wagon: Report from the Rock

The Newfoundland Growlers are a wagon: Report from the Rock

Since the inception of the Newfoundland Growlers, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ vision for their ECHL affiliate was to make this team a true development pipeline, a place for young players to get accustomed to the organization’s systems, culture, and the way they intend to win it all someday. 12 games into the 2022-23 ECHL season and we can declare it: the Leafs have themselves a group of stone-cold killers stashed away in this tier of AAA professional men’s hockey.
The Growlers have started their season with a pristine 11-0-1 record, they currently sit on top of the entire league by a narrow three point margin (their division rivals, the Worcester Railers, sit in second place) and, unsurprisingly, numerous members of the team sit on top of the league leaders lists. Zach O’Brien and Orrin Centazzo, both on AHL contracts with the Marlies are #1 and 2 on the scoring list, O’Brien with a ridiculous 24 points in 12 games and Centazzo with 19 in 12. Tied with five other forwards for fourth place in league scoring is another AHL contracted player in Zach Solow (14 points)
Between the pipes, both goaltenders assigned to the Growlers from the Marlies have been beyond stellar. Dryden McKay picked up …

Read More

Author: Dylan Murphy / The Leafs Nation

Which zones do Leafs players thrive in?

It’s been a while since I sat down and did some high school math level analysis of the Leafs, and that’s exactly what I did last night. I was curious about what parts of the rink Leafs players are thriving in and how tilted are the Leafs towards being an offensive team.
I decided to start by putting the 5v5 for and against stats for Corsi, goals, and expected goals into league-wide percentiles (with a minimum of 200 minutes played) and then looking at the trends around the for and against stats while factoring in time on ice to identify any excessive sheltering. (For example, Nic Aube-Kubel had strong defensive numbers, but was heavily sheltered, only playing in the 7th percentile of 5v5 ice time.)
I broke the players into the following groups with the following definitions:
200ft player: They would need to be above the 70th percentile in both for and against stats, as well as being in the 70th percentile for time on ice. Basically, you can’t be a 200-foot player if your coach is afraid to put you out there.
Offensive player: You are in the 70th percen …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The 3 Marlies who need to have a breakout season in 2022-23

After missing the playoffs for the first time since 2011, the Toronto Marlies are looking for a different outcome this year.
Last season saw an inexperienced team, as a number of players made their true AHL debuts. (The COVID season skewed stats and wasn’t as competitive due to the NHL’s taxi squad.)
This year is a completely different story, though. While there were no excuses from players or management for a missed playoffs, it was clear that experience played a massive part in the result.
With a majority of the team now having at least one year of experience in professional hockey, the real work to become a playoff team begins. As does the road to developing players so that they can one day play for the Maple Leafs.
There are a few players who need to have big seasons — three of which who’ve gotten one full year of the AHL under their belts.
Semyon Der-Arguchintsev
With one more year remaining on his entry-level contract, the 21-year-old sits atop the list of players who need to have a breakout season.
Just one year ago, Assistant General Manager and head of Player Development for the Maple Leafs, Hayley Wickenheiser, said that Der-Arguchintsev’s route to success would begin with gaining muscle in the weight room.
He had plenty of success early on in …

Read More

Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

The Similarities Between Kevin Gausman and Pedro Martinez, and thoughts on the Blue Jays’ Ace Righty

Since the turn of the century, there have only been four full seasons in which an American League starter has posted a FIP of less than 2.25…

Pedro Martinez, 2002 (2.24 FIP)
Pedro Martinez, 2003 (2.21 FIP)
Pedro Martinez, 2000 (2.17 FIP)
Kevin Gausman, 2022 (2.01 FIP)
The side note to this is that Shane Bieber technically did it too, with a 2.07 FIP in 2020. The reason that’s easily excludable though, is that Bieber only pitched 77.0 innings, and all of them were against statistically weaker Central division teams.
So, since 2000, the only American League pitchers that have been this good are Pedro Martinez and Kevin Gausman. But the similarities between the righties don’t stop there. Let’s take a closer look.

The extent to which Martinez and Gausman are similar does not start early.
Pedro spent his first two years as a Dodger, where he didn’t often make starts, but was a great impact pitcher out of the bullpen. He only pitched 115 innings in L.A. but had a sub-3.00 ERA and FIP. After the 1993 season, the Dodgers made what has to be considered one of the worst trades in franchise history. Manager Tommy Lasorda, in need of a second baseman and not believing Pedro to be a starting pitcher, dealt the young right-hander to Montreal for the original Delino DeShields. DeShields was a very good Expo, he had recorded 11.6 fWAR and a 111 wRC+ in the four seasons prior to making his move to the City of Angels. He was, however, an okay Dodger at best. He only spent three seasons there, was a 20 percent below-average hitter, and averaged 0.9 fWAR per season.
Pedro Martinez was just a little bit better as an Expo. He averaged 5.0 fWAR per season, including a whopping 8.5 in 1997, the year in which he won his first …

Read More

Author: Tate Kispech / Blue Jays Nation

What should the Maple Leafs’ next goal song be?

What should the Maple Leafs’ next goal song be?

It’s been four years since the Maple Leafs began using Hall and Oates’ “You Make My Dreams Come True” as their goal song and it’s finally time to send it to the stratosphere.
That means, it’s change Toronto’s goal song o’clock.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy “You Make My Dreams Come True” just as much as everyone else, but sometimes change can be good. Sometimes, change can make different outcomes possible — maybe even the opposite of a first round exit.
There is criteria, though, for a brand new song. It has to be fast, loud, and able to get the fans going when the Maple Leafs put the puck into the back of the net. It would also be a plus if the artist was Canadian, however it’s not required.
It doesn’t need to be perfect, nor should it be a song any NHL team has used in the past — it needs to be one of their own. One that fits the Maple Leafs’ brand.
So, here are my three picks:
My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up) – Fall Out Boy

We begin with this song because, well, listening to it can get you incredibly hyped up first of all
Secondly, if you move the play cursor to the 50 second mark, you can hear them sing the “Light Em Up” portion, which is where the goal song would begin when the Maple Leafs score. “Light Em Up” also specifies that Toronto is scoring against the opposition, and that seems like the perfect fit.
Of all the songs on the list, this one might just be the perfect fit for the Maple Leafs.
 
Years In The Making …

Read More

Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Checking in on how the Blue Jays’ 2022 draft picks and undrafted free agent signs are doing so far

It’s been just over a month now since the 2022 MLB draft, so it’s time to look at how each player is doing!

We’ll be going in the order in which they were drafted, starting with the 23rd overall pick, then the 60th overall, and then so on and so forth.
We’ll also be looking at how the undrafted free agents have been doing, as they’ve also put up some interesting numbers.
As most of these players have played with the Dunedin Blue Jays, we’ll be able to look at exit velocity data and pitching velocity. Here’s the database for every single batted ball in play for the 2022 Dunedin Blue Jays.
Brandon Barriera:
The Blue Jays’ first-round draftee has yet to make his professional debut. In fact, it’s unlikely he will make his debut in 2022.  It’s been reported that the 18-year-old lefty will work at the complex in Florida, much like how the Blue Jays’ third-rounder, Ricky Tiedemann did last season.
Hopefully, Barriera is able to rise up the ranks like Tiedemann has done this season.
Josh Kasevich:
The 21-year-old shortstop who was chosen 60th overall was assigned to the Dunedin Blue Jays in Low A. He’s slashing .234/.294/.277 with no homers in 51 plate appearances. Kasevich has avoided strikeouts, as his 7.8 K% is the lowest amongst this group of players, but he’s only walked 5.9% of the time. He has a 69 (nice) wRC+ for the season
Out of all the drafted players that landed in Dunedin, Kasevich has the lowest average exit velocity at 82.55 mph. He has a hard hit percentage of 23.26 (second lowest), and his maximum exit velocity sits at 104.3 mph.
Tucker Toman:
Selected with the 77th overa …

Read More

Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Around the Atlantic: Breaking down each team’s notable additions and exits

Around the Atlantic: Breaking down each team’s notable additions and exits

It has now been five days since NHL free agency began and teams around the league are starting to take shape. There are several new faces in the Atlantic division and a few notable exits. The Ottawa Senators and Detroit Red Wings were the most active teams. Both look to be much improved. The Montreal Canadiens and Buffalo Sabres don’t appear to be ready for a playoff push, but the rest of the division should be in contention. Here is a look at how each team has fared since free agency opened. (Trades and free agent acquisitions have been included.)
Florida Panthers
Notable additions: Nick Cousins (C/LW), Rudolfs Balcers (LW), Marc Staal (D), Eric Staal (C/LW)
Notable exits: Claude Giroux (C/RW), Ben Chiarot (D), Mason Marchment (LW)
Losing Claude Giroux was inevitable, they simply didn’t have the cap flexibility to keep him. The exits of both Ben Chiarot and Mason Marchment create holes in their roster but over last few seasons, depth players have consistently shined in the Panthers system. In Cousins they get a solid defensive forward with experience. Balcers isn’t a physical player, but he is responsible in his own zone. He scored a career high 11 goals in 61 games last season on a San Jose Sharks team that struggled to produce offence. Playing on a third …

Read More

Author: Scott Ony / The Leafs Nation