Peter Holland, Ben Smith, Tyler Bozak, and the Leafs' Penalty Kill

Ryan Hobart
November 30 2016 09:32AM

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Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY SPORTS

An announcement came out recently that the Leafs were going to try to trade Peter Holland due to his concerns over ice time and future with the organization. Jeff Veillette covered the announcement here, so I won't double up on that.

A common first reaction to this move was that it was terrible and that the Leafs were continuing to make mistakes involving the selection of players for their 4th line. But after digging into the data, it seems that's not the case. The information below should show why that is, and discuss a good plan would be going forward if the Leafs are unable to trade Peter Holland.

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How the Leafs won the Edmonton Matchup War before the opening faceoff

Jeff Veillette
November 30 2016 02:50AM

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Photo Credit: Perry Nelson/USA TODAY SPORTS

In case you missed it last night, the Leafs beat the Edmonton Oilers again. It was a fun time; Auston Matthews scored on the powerplay, everybody got mad at Nazem Kadri a bunch of times, and boy, oh boy, did we ever hear about the "matchup" angle again and again and again. At least it wasn't like the 2013 playoff round against the Bruins, though, where Randy Carlyle was given credit for waiting a bit to pick his line whether it worked or not simply because it was convenient; in this case, Kadri really did give Connor McDavid a run for his money a few weeks prior.

You have a $4.5 million, 26-year-old player, once considered defensively irresponsible, neutralizing a player who might become the league's best since Mario Lemieux. It was a huge deal. So much so that it became the talk of both morning skates.

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Leafs' young stars are creating shots at star-like rates

DragLikePull
November 30 2016 02:49AM

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Photo Credit: Perry Nelson/USA TODAY SPORTS

Auston Matthews has gotten off to a pretty fast start to his NHL career.  His 9 goals have him tied for the team lead on the Leafs with Nazem Kadri and James van Riemsdyk, while his 17 points are just one off the team lead.  Even more impressive is his shot volume.  Matthews has taken 77 shots through 21 games, which is the 6th most in the entire league.  And Matthews is doing it in a smaller number of minutes than other top players, as he's the only one in the top 15 in shots who's getting fewer than 18 minutes a night.

This got me wondering how Matthews compares to some of the other best young players in recent years.  So I grabbed a list of the top shooters from the past decade who were 20 years old or younger.

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The Edmonton Oilers without Connor McDavid on the ice

Christian Pagnani
November 29 2016 03:54PM

The Oilers rely a lot on Connor McDavid. That much isn't a secret. McDavid leads the team in ice-time and is fifth in the entire NHL for forwards, along with having a 12-point lead on the next highest scorer on his team. 

It’s safe to say McDavid is a massively important part of Edmonton’s team. But do they rely on him too much? Is there an actual good NHL team on the ice when he isn't? How do they compare to other top teams in the league in terms of reliance on their top centre? 

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By The Numbers: Analyzing the Jets early struggles on defense

Garret Hohl
November 29 2016 01:30PM

Suffice it to say, the Jets struggled thus far this season in many areas. The normally average-to-strong shot metrics is a new one for the Jets.

To determine why, we compare how each of the Jets performed relative to their historic norm.

In this article, we investigate the Jets' blue-liners.

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