Ugly Stats Still Haunt Toronto Maple Leafs
Sniper Phil Kessel is off to a hot start, Dion Phaneuf looks to be back as a dominating force on the blueline and Joffrey Lupul looks to be a nice surprise early on.
As good as the Maple Leafs have been through 11 games, there are a few statistics that continue to haunt the Blue and White.
In 2010-11 the Maple Leafs owned the 27th ranked penalty kill with a success rate of 77.4 percent. As bad as their PK was last season, things are actually worse this season as the Blue and White are currently sporting a 72.3 percent success rate on the PK, five points worse than 2010-11’s success rate.
While Toronto has employed an aggressive forecheck on the PK there are still issues. On more nights than not the Buds are often caught out of position and, once the opposition establishes some decent puck movement they often look flat footed, often resulting in a power play goal.
Sure, the names on the back of the jersey’s may have changed, but in the end, it’s the same old penalty kill for the Maple Leafs, which is cause for concern.
Another disturbing statistic for the Maple Leafs are there shots on goal against per game. Through 11 games Toronto is averaging a total of 31.5 shots against—good enough for 21st overall.
That’s just 1.6 shots off the League worst New York Rangers, who are averaging 33.1 shots against per game. The Maple Leafs finished the 2010-11 season averaging 31.0 shots against per contest, ranking them 19th.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that when you give up over 30 shots a night you are going to give up a lot of goals, as witnessed by the Maple Leafs goals against average in 2010-11 (2.99 GAA) which ranked them 25th overall, and this seasons goals against average, which is slightly worse at 3.18—good enough for 26th overall.
On paper the Maple Leafs employ a well-balanced defense corps, but when you consider their lack of success on the PK and the bloated shots on goal and goals against numbers, the Leafs defense deserves a measure of criticism for their results, or lack thereof.
In the end, you cannot win consistently with a bad penalty kill and it is just as tough to win when you are giving up over 30 shots per game.
Maple Leafs head coach Ron Wilson will haver to straighten his troops out if he wants to see his team continue it’s early success.
Better play from Luke Schenn and Mike Komisarek would go a long way in improving the teams PK numbers. Both players are being paid huge amounts of money to be go-to defensemen for the Maple Leafs. Thus far, both players have been disappointing, especially Schenn, who has been the Leafs worst defenseman on far too many nights.
Without question, the Maple Leafs overall play—especially their offense which ranks third overall at 3.18 goals per game—has been fun to watch. That said, if the Maple Leafs want to be taken seriously, their PK and shots against will have to improve.
Until next time,