Projecting the 2011-12 Toronto Maple Leafs

With a new season looming and the James Reimer era beginning, it’s a good time to add some hockey ideas to the dog days of August and the lack of hockey news that comes with this time of the year. So, here is a really detailed look at a reasonable set of expectations for every player. Explanations will follow after the chart.

 

Name

Position

Goals

Assists

Points

PIMs

GP

 

Kessel

W1

39

33

72

22

82

 

Kadri

W1

14

31

45

44

82

 

Connolly

C1

12

31

43

24

80

 

Lombardi

C2/IR

9

28

37

16

60

 

Armstrong

W3

13

31

44

62

80

 

Boyce

C4

8

14

22

57

80

 

Grabovski

W2

22

21

43

46

80

 

Kulemin

W3

24

23

47

28

82

 

Lupul

W2

16

17

33

41

75

 

MacArthur

W2

23

35

58

33

82

 

Orr

RS

0

1

1

77

26

 

Rosehill

W4

2

2

4

87

25

 

Bozak

C3

11

28

39

24

80

 

Brown

RS

4

3

7

73

60

 

Frattin

IC

0

0

0

2

5

 

Colborne

IC

1

0

1

2

5

 

Totals FWD

 

198

298

496

638

984

 

Distribution

         

82

 
               

Aulie

P1

3

4

7

99

76

 

Franson

P3

6

16

22

12

68

 

Gunnarsson

RS

3

11

14

8

41

 

Komisarek

P3

1

4

5

48

52

 

Liles

P1

7

36

43

32

82

 

Schenn

P2

4

26

30

46

82

 

Phaneuf

P2

11

31

42

111

80

 

Lashoff

IC

0

2

2

4

11

 

Totals D

 

35

130

165

360

492

 

Team Total

 

233

428

661

998

82

 

Per 82 AvG

 

2.841463

5.2195122

8.060976

12.17073

1

 
               
               

Goalies

Starts

Shots

G-allowed

Saves

GAA

SV%

Minutes

Reimer

51

1523

122

1401

2.40

0.92

3051.77

Monster

30

921

92

829

2.95

0.9

1873.23

Rynnas

1

31

4

27

3.22

0.87

75

Total

 

2475

218

2257

2.62

0.919

5000.00

(Note: Rynnas is projected to play 2 games, 1 start, 1 relief, hence 1 start played with 75 minutes)

Abbreviations: C is for center, W is for Wing, P is Pair and the number correlates to which line. RS is reserve, or healthy scratch and IC is injury call up. More later on why some things are not even in terms of line distribution.

Forwards: As a full unit, this team should improve based on the additions made and the losses of some weaker players. Not to call anyone out, but Lebda for Franson may be the biggest steal of a defenseman since Zhitnik for Coburn.

First Line: With the addition of Tim Connolly, a competent and veteran top line center, there are two direct consequences. First, Kadri and Bozak don’t have to deal with the pressure with being a top line guy and therefore can develop. Second, Phil Kessel finally has a passer. This leads to the conclusion that Kessel will score more goals. Whichever wing rotates up to the third wing slot as well will see in an increase in points.

Second Line: If Lombardi is healthy, the Leafs have a solid second line with Lupul-Lombardi-MacArthur, if not, Bozak will be the second line center, with some solid upside as well. If this group stays healthy, a solid second line with solid scoring will still be around.

Third and Fourth Lines: Under the assumption that there will be a lot of rotation down here depending on matchups and injuries, there’s a lot going on, but by taking average production and factoring in role and developmental progression/regression, these lines have depth skill and plenty of pugnacity and truculence.

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Defense: As a whole, the unit should be better than before, which will help the young netminders out. John-Michael Liles is looking for continue to produce like he has recently, Phaneuf should stay healthy and be “Double Dion” and of course, Luke Schenn will improve his game as well. That being said, the sleeper pick as a ‘star’ on the Leafs defense, Keith Aulie. Aulie has a big body presence that will make any opposing forward think twice about getting feisty with Reimer.  Standing at 6’5” and weighing nearly 220lbs forwards will avoid Reimer because Aulie can fight them off. For proof:

 

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Goaltending: James Reimer, while young and amazing; showed signs of fatigue towards the end of last season. This probably came from the fact that he has never played more than 60 games in a regular season before, and that came back in 2006-07 in Red Deer of the WHL. That being said, 51 starts for Reimer would make sense, Ron Wilson would have to hope that Monster’s health holds up but if not Jussi Rynnas could step in for a game or two.

Shutouts:  Reimer posts 1 shutout for just over every 12 games played so, 4 in 51 makes sense.  Monster will get 1 in 30. This makes 5 total shutouts.

Overtime: With 18 games going to OT/SO last year but league average being closer to 21, the Leafs should have 19 OT/SO games; based on their record from last year, 8-11 in these games is a fair record. The Leafs had 11 SOs last year, with the league average being 9, so, 10 is fair for this upcoming season. With the addition of more solid goaltending and more solid scoring, the Leafs should improve their SO record to 5-5 in those 10 games.

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What This Means:

The Leafs improve to a goal differential of +15. This will be the basis for many of the following calculations.

Well, since Shootouts leave a goal differential of 0, the Leafs +15 goal differential comes in 72 games. Since the Leafs will be 3-6 in goals decided in the actual OT, that shaves 3 off the goal differential to leave +12 in 63 games. With 5 total shutouts for, the Leafs goal differential drops by 14 (average goals scored in 5 games) to a -2 in 57 games played. Well, shutouts against happen as well, the Leafs with their current offensive talent should fail to hit the net in 3 games as well. Using the goals against, that’s 8 goals in those games, leaving a differential of +6 for the Leafs in 54 games. With this information, it’s possible to calculate the amount of points the Leafs will earn in the standings.

Since a goal differential of 0 earns 91.5 points in the standings, it can be deduced that an even goal differential in 54 games earns 60 points. Since 6 goals equals 1 win, and the Leafs have a +6 in these games, they actually earn 62 points in 54 regulation non-shutout games. 62 points is 31 wins, or a record in non-shutout regulation games of 31-23.

So, to calculate the final Leafs standings:

Non-shutout Regulation Record: 31-23-0

Shutouts For and Against: 5-3

Overtime/Shootout: 8-0-11

Final Record: 44-26-11 or, 99 points

Now, since goal differential is 90%, there is a 10% margin of error for other factors or 9.9 points. This puts the Leafs at a point window of 94-104 points. Or, finally, a playoff caliber team.

 

To see the spreadsheet in all its glory: Click Here

8 Comments

George Prax's picture

As a Habs fan there's no way I can agree with your projection of their record, but I appreciate the work you put into this Tongue. I think the individual player points are more than fair. Great job as always!

Patrick Storto's picture

Nice work, I'm not ready to look at projections because it's still early August and we don't know what the team is going to look like, but I tend to agree with most of these. Like you, I think Phaneuf is going to have a huge year.

Just a couple of things I'd disagree on:

James Reimer. I don't think he's going to put up those numbers and he's not going to be as good as most Leaf fans hope or think he will be. That's not a knock on Reimer, but if you look at a lot of breakout rookie goaltenders, most of them go through a slump after that rookie year. There is various reasons for this, most significantly is that the pressure is now on, what was a pleasent surprise last season is now the expectation for this season. Secondly, other players figure the goalie out. When a goalie is fresh on the scene it's difficult for the opposition to solve him having never played against him, but now there's going to be a blueprint around the league. I use this comparison a lot, but you look at Carey Price. He was good in his rookie season and then he was good last season. But he dropped off after his rookie season and it took him a lot of work to get back to the top. I expect the same for Reimer.

Secondly, I disagree with your projection of Tim Connolly. If he were to play 80 games as you projected, then this player would have to land in the 60-70 point range, as that's what his pace has been throughout his career and that wasn't even as a first line center. Now don't get me wrong, I don't think Connolly is going to be a 60-70 point player, but that's because I don't think he's going to play 80 games. If by some miracle he can, I'd say 60-70 pts.

Rob Melendez's picture

I Agree with Pat on Reimer and Connolly. Carey Price is actually a very good comparison, especially playing in Montreal. I think Reimer will slump, maybe not a horrific one, but his numbers will drop nonetheless, let's hope the team in front of him has improved enough to play a bit better defensively in front of him or this will be a long season. On Connolly while it would be surprising to play 80 games it'd be disappointing if he had anything less than 60 points especially playing with Kessel. I have a feeling Connolly will only play 60 games, that being said if he goes down I would think Lombardi, if healthy takes his spot. Kessel needs one more goal Wink. Good stuff though, I always love reading these kinds of things. Smile

George Prax's picture

Sorry but I don't think Price is a good comparison at all. No way you can compare a 5th overall pick (in one of the deepest drafts of all time) and played in the NHL as a starter at 20 to a 99th overall pick who had a decent rookie season. I know the comparison is that he might drop off in his sophomore year, but I really don't think there's a comparison at all. If you're comparing Reimer and Price you can compare any two goalies under 25 then. Leafs fans have to relax and just wait and see what this goalie does, these comparisons aren't going to do anyone any good. Reimer is Reimer is Reimer and you guys should be happy with that. Do you think Carey Price benefited from being compared to Patrick Roy when he started out?

Patrick Storto's picture

In 07-08 Price played his first season, 41 games. He went 24-12-3 with a 2.56 GAA and a .920 SV%.

In 10-11 Reimer played his first season, 37 games. He went 20-10-5 with a 2.60 GAA and a .921 SV%

They also both showed the same type of composure that gave them success.

Yet we can't compare those stats because of draft position? Give me a break. Not to mention the comparison wasn't necessarily to show that they were the same type of player, only that goaltenders tend to slump. Habs fans need to relax, not everything is an attack against them or their players.

George Prax's picture

Comparing a thoroughbred goaltender picked ahead of several top line forwards and defensemen, and only four spots behind Sidney Crosby, to a glorified fourth rounder who exceeded expectations? Ya, there's no real comparison even if they had similar stats (seeing as it wasn't even the same situation for either player in their rookie seasons). The implication is that you consider Reimer to be a top tier goalie, and that's certainly not the case, at least not yet.

Patrick Storto's picture

The mistake you're making is that you're comparing goaltenders to skaters. It's well known by now that goaltenders take longer to develop than skaters and when they make it to the NHL they're easier to measure than skaters. There's less variables when looking at goaltenders as you don't have to compare ice time or linemates between goaltenders.

Since you think that the fact Price was taken so early is relevent 6 years later, let's take a look at the league:

*Only 7 current starting goaltenders in the league were first round picks, which is 23%. These goalies are Luongo, Price, Lehtonen, Brodeur, Fleury, Varlamov and Ward.

*In the last 20 years, only 3 different 1st round pick goalies have won the vezina.

The point here is that draft position means nothing when you finally make it to the NHL, it;s what you do from there on that matters and just because Carey Price was a 1st round pick 6 years ago, doesn't mean that he can't be compared to other starting goaltenders in the league, because believe me, there are a lot of other non-first round pick goaltenders in the NHL that are better than Carey Price.

George Prax's picture

The comparison to skaters is PRECISELY why the comparison between Price and Reimer is invalid. The point is that a goaltender, which, as you said, usually takes longer to develop, was taken well ahead of what could only be described as sure things that went behind him. You've seen Price's growing pains, his time in Montreal hasn't exactly been easy, but his performance this past season justified his draft position in 2005. Regardless of what you think of the relevance of the draft after the fact, it's clear that it has a value in this comparison, because no team would have ever taken a chance on Reimer in the first or second, and clearly also almost the third round. I'm not trying to slouch Reimer because he's obviously a good goalie, but the point is that the circumstances are not at all the same, therefore the two goalies cannot be compared, even if they had similar first years, statistically speaking. If anything, history has proven that rookie season goalie stats become completely irrelevant in most cases.

Moreover, Reimer's rookie stats are when he was 22-23, Price's are from when he was 20, and in terms of goalie development, those two age brackets are WORLDS apart.

I agree that once you make it to the NHL draft position means nothing. In the sense that what matters is what you do thereafter. But I'm sorry, 37 games as basically a late-season relief goalie isn't exactly "making" it. Reimer hasn't made the NHL, just like Price hadn't made the NHL after that rookie season. So when comparing rookie seasons, draft position is definitely still relevant, because it shows you what a team's mentality is when drafting -- or in someone like Tyler Bozak's case, not drafting -- a player is.

Also, it's interesting to note that of the 7 first round goaltenders you mentioned, only two aren't considered all-stars. 23% of starters is actually a lot when you think about it. If anything that shows that being a first round drafted goaltender just proves the worth of the goaltender as a potential superstar.