Saturday, February 18, 2012

So what type of team is the 2011-12 Toronto Maple Leafs?

We are at the two-thirds point of the 2011-12 season and just over a week away from the NHL trading deadline. So what type of team has Brian Burke put together? That may tell us a little about how this team will change perhaps not so much before February 27th as much as the offseason.

1. The Leafs are the second youngest team in the league with an average age of 26.155. Only Colorado is younger with an average of 25.945. This may change as veteran players change teams at the trading deadline. Nonetheless, the Leafs are young, fast and inexperienced. Their core is not even close to their prime.

2. The Leafs have a productive offense scoring 2.98 goals per game which is 6th best in the league. They have two players in the top ten scorers. Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul are 5th and 6th in the NHL scoring while Dion Phaneuf is 8th among all defensemen. Kessel is 3rd in goal scored. Despite some recent problems on the powerplay they still stand 7th overall in the league.

3. Goaltending has been a problem. Their goalies are tied for 24th overall with a goals against average of 2.91. The team save percentage is .904 which is also tied for 24th overall. Their goalies have had some great individual games and are tied for 4th overall with 6 shutouts. But their is no consistency there.

4. Their defensive game is lacking as well. The team is 19th overall in shots against per game 30.7.average. Their penalty killing after a strong January has nudged up to 29th overall. They seem to start games okay and have only been scored on 43 times in the 1st period of games. that jumps up to 68 goals and 57 goals in the 2nd and 3rd periods. The coaching staff have been emphasing shot blocking and as a result the Leafs are 5th overall with Carl Gunnarsson 13th in the league and Phaneuf 33rd. But they lead the league in giveaways, a problem that has cost them some wins this season. In fact the Leafs have 4 players in the top 20 in giveaways in Kessel (4th), Phaneuf (9th), Jake Gardner (16th) and Gunnarsson (17th). In faceoff wins they are 9th with an average of 50.7%.

5. These Leafs are not as pugnacious as former Burke managed teams. They are 25th overall in penalty minutes per game with just 9.6. The Leafs are tied for 22nd with just 19 fighting majors, less than the league leading Rangers. The Leafs have only had one game misconduct penalty. Yet they are 6th overall in hits likely because Luke Schenn is 8th in the league and Phaneuf is 30th.

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