Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What Can We Expect From The Leafs' Players This Year?

How exactly did this happen? Oh right, the ASG was in Montreal.
PDO is a beautiful thing. While not perfect, it gives us insight on who we can expect to have a bounce back season, or who we can expect to fall back to earth.

If you want to make a couple bucks by the end of the season, do this: find one of your stupider buddies that doesn't read this blog (hint: should be easy to find) and bet him that 1) Ryan Getzlaf will have a bounce back season and 2) Erik Karlsson will see a regression on his point totals. Both of these players had an outlier season in terms of On Ice SV% and On Ice SH% (what determines a players' PDO), likely affecting each players' point totals.

Anyways, this is a Leafs focused blog so follow me over the jump to see what we can expect from the good guys this year.

(For the purposes of this post I'm going to assume the Leafs will get halfway competent goaltending this season. James Reimer had an EV SV% of ..933 (Ryan Miller had .924 that season) in his 37 games played during the 2010/11 season. He fell to a dismal .918 last year [Note: I think Reimer's true talent level lies somewhere in between world beater and Jonas Gustavsson].)

Phil Kessel

Phil Kessel has had hilariously bad goaltending during his tenure in Toronto. He's seen On Ice SV%'s of 896, 906 and 895 over his three years in the Blue and White. This is, I'd argue, 100% of the reason he's seen his +/- (I hate this stat) fall from +5 in his three full years in Boston to -38 in his three full years with Toronto and why he's labeled a defensive liability. If we can see a full half season of the 2010/11 James Reimer expect Phil Kessel's "defensive shortcomings" to disappear in 2013.

Offensively, Kessel's On Ice SH% was a a little higher then average, both league wide and personally. I would expect his point totals to dip slightly. However, in a shortened season percentages have less time to fall back to average so you could see him ride an elevated SH% for all 48 games.

Joffery Lupul 

Lupul is a conundrum wrapped in an enigma. Not many players break out for a point per game season at age 28 this makes his true talent level very hard to determine. His point totals were buoyed by a very high On Ice SH%, not to mention a slightly higher then normal personal SH%. I would expect Lupul to continue putting up points if he's skating with Kessel but not at a point per game level.

Defensively, Lupul was killed by a very, very low On Ice SV%. This likely made him look worse defensively then he really is. However, Lupul has been a terrible possession player throughout his career and will likely continue to be. Let's hope, for the sake of his defensive game and for our livers, that Reimer can play well behind him.

Mike Komisarek

I am not a Mike Komisarek fan: he hurt JVR yesterday and his level of play is not close enough to his salary to do anything but loathe him. I also think about this play whenever I hear his name or hear the number eight.

However, Mike Komisarek hasn't been as bad as we think during his time in Toronto. Before you hurt yourself closing your browser read on for a second.

His first year in Toronto was actually quite good. He drove play in the right way, had solid possession stats and played against good competition. Of course he was hurt by terrible goaltending (have you noticed a trend here?) and this may have trained us into thinking he was terrible that year.

Make no mistake: Komisarek has been bad ever since his first year here and he will likely continue to be bad, unless he gets better goaltending behind him (884 On Ice SV% last year) and Randy Carlyle shelters him even more then he already is (0.046 Corsi Rel QoC). I say if you're not going to buy him out before Saturday (they aren't) and you're going to play him: stick him with Cody Franson and watch them destroy fourth lines.


  1. Give Komisarek top minutes to maximize his trade value at the deadline. He will fetch a nice return.