Why Rick Nash could be a deadline fit for the Maple Leafs

Jeff Veillette
February 16 2017 02:17PM

Photo Credit: John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY SPORTS

Last night, Chris Johnston of Sportsnet made reference to a certain angle that the Toronto Maple Leafs might take at this year's trade deadline; specifically, the idea that they take on some short-term salary from a more competitive team in an attempt to get some asset windfall out of the transaction. The Leafs, of course, aren't far off from the cap ceiling themselves, but if they're not too worried about seeing a little bit of overage from rookie bonuses spill into next year's totals, they could activate up to $13.5 million in Long-Term Injured Reserve buffer via Nathan Horton, Joffrey Lupul, and Stephane Robidas. Here's how Johnston put it in a follow-up piece this afternoon:

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Assigning goal value to Toronto's faceoff takers

Jeff Veillette
February 13 2017 04:32PM

Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY SPORTS

Shortly after I woke up this morning, I stumbled upon a tweet from Empirical Sports co-founder Michael Schuckers, referencing an analysis that he and a few peers had done years prior on the statistical value of a faceoff in the National Hockey League. Their finding was that you needed an approximate faceoff differential of 76.5 for your talents at the dot to be worth a goal differential of 1. They also broke it down into even strength and special teams, and into specific zones.

The final findings were summed up in this table:

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Does defence actually win championships?

Jeff Veillette
February 12 2017 01:06PM

Photo Credit: Charles Leclaire/USA TODAY SPORTS

Things have been stressful of late. The Toronto Maple Leafs have lost six of their last eight games, and while they're hanging onto a playoff spot, there's a lot of questioning as to whether that'll last. Unsurprisingly, the same topic that comes up during every losing streak has come up again; the defence.

The Leafs need to fix their defensive woes. They are bad defensively. They outscore their opponents, they outshoot them, and they're still 12th overall by points percentage despite this losing skid. But that isn't enough, and it won't be enough in the future. Because, they can score their brains out, but that doesn't win rings. As we all know, defence wins championships.

That's true everywhere. Hockey, soccer, football, basketball... tennis? It's a popular trope across the sporting world, presumably because that belief aligns favourably with the philosophy of work ethic, systematic buy in, and self-responsibility. The values the idea tries to instil are great, and ones I'd want my hockey team to carry into the battlefield.

But, is the actual defence part really that important to the end result, to the point where the Leafs need to re-envision their priorities? Are the best defensive teams the ones that are really coming out on top? How have recent champions won their trophies? Here's a look at what does, and doesn't unite them.

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Why a flat salary cap would be extremely beneficial to the Toronto Maple Leafs

Jeff Veillette
February 01 2017 03:26PM

Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY SPORTS

Nearly every time Elliotte Friedman drops one of his "30 Thoughts" columns, the hockey world stops and scrambles to react to whatever neat nuggets of information he spent days hiding under his sleeve. Today's was a particularly interesting one: the Salary Cap might stay stagnant this upcoming season, making no movement from the $73,000,000 teams are operating under this year.

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The Leafs should put in a waiver claim on Mark Barberio

Jeff Veillette
February 01 2017 11:18AM

Photo Credit: Charles Leclaire/USA TODAY SPORTS

The Montreal Canadiens, archrivals of the Toronto Maple Leafs and leaders of the Atlantic Division, have an abundance of defencemen and players returning to their lineup. As such, today was a tough decision day for them, and their first move as such has been to place Mark Barberio on waivers.

In this case, there is absolutely no reason why the Leafs shouldn't put a claim in.

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