Offensive Offensively

TORONTO ON - NOVEMBER 06: Fredrik Sjostrom #11 of the Toronto Maple Leafs reacts to a teammate in warmups prior to the game against the Buffalo Sabres at the Air Canada Centre on November 6 2010 in Toronto Canada. The Sabres defeated the Maple Leafs 3-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Mikhail Grabovski, Clarke MacArthur, Nikolai Kulemin, Phil Kessel, and Kris Versteeg.

That's five players amongst the Leafs top 6 forward group, all of whom are on track to produce 20+ goals.  Four of them are on track for a career high in goals.  Unfortunately so far they've accounted for 51 of the Leafs 69 goals.  That's 73.9% for those of you keeping track at home.  That is frankly a ridiculous total.  Add in the next highest goal scorer, Tyler Bozak and his 4 goals, and you get 55 of the team's 69 goals or 79.7% of the team's offensive output.  

No other team in the NHL recieves approximately 80% of it's goal production from it's top 6 forwards.  The closest team in the NHL is Brian Burke's last club, the Anaheim Ducks, who get 75.3% of their goals from their top 6 forwards.  The key distinction there is, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan are both in the top 20 in NHL goal scoring, while Ryan Getzlaf is tied for 34th.  That's 3 goal scorers in the top 40 in the NHL, the Leafs have 1 scorer in that echelon, Phil Kessel (32nd with 12 goals).

It is frankly ridiculous to expect any team to have a remotely respectable offense if none of the bottom 6 forwards are scoring at a respectable pace.  The Leafs lack of offense is NOT a result of a lack of talent in the top 6, it's a complete lack of output from the bottom 6.  The Leafs forward depth in terms of scoring is appalling.  

Only Nazem Kadri and Tim Brent have over 5 points amongst the Leafs forwards who aren't in their top 6 in scoring.  The list of the remaining players is sort of pathetic in it's weakness from a point perspective.  Sjostrom - 1 goal, 4 points; Orr - 2 goals, 0 assists; Armstrong - 1 goal, 2 points; Brown - 1 goal, 2 points; John Mitchell - 0 goals, 1 assist; Mike Zigomanis - 0 goals, 1 assist.

Think about that for a second.  The Leafs bottom 6 forwards have produced a total of 8 goals, and 17 assists. That's one more total point than Clarke MacArthur has managed on his own.  Pathetic.

The D also isn't pulling it's weight in the slightest.  The only team with fewer goals from it's defenders is the New York Islanders who have 5.  Dallas is tied with the Leafs for the 28th lowest goal total amongst NHL D corps at 6.  Compare that to the likes of Atlanta, Detroit, or Pittsburgh who are getting 19, 18, and 17 goals from their D respectively, and you begin to realize the soft production from the Leafs blue line.

When half the team can't do anything offensively, it's no wonder the Leafs get shut out with regularity.  More specifics to consider:

1. John Mitchell had 2 goals - 5 assists - 7 points after his first 18 games last year.  This year he has 1 assist and no goals. 86% drop in production.

2. Dion Phaneuf had 6 goals - 4 assists - 10 points after his first 15 games last year in Calgary.  This year he has 1 goal and 5 assists. 84% drop in goal production, 40% drop in point production.  

3. Francois Beauchemin had 3 goals - 10 assists - 13 points after his first 31 games last year in Toronto.  This year he has 1 goal and 5 assists. 66% drop in goal production, 54% drop in point production.

You get the idea.  The more you look at the numbers the more impressive it is that the Leafs have won as many games as they have.  Their goaltending has been average to below average.  Their team offense has been worse, and yet they've got more wins and more points than they had at this time last year.  On the one hand that's good, but on the other hand it bothers because it means this team could be a lot closer to playoff contention than they are.

Try not to read too much into the frustration level here, but remember when you see the MGK line score, or the Versteeg, Kessel, Bozak line pot one:  That's the expected production we've been getting... now where the hell is the rest of it?  Hopefully if the Leafs eventually add a top 6 forward or two, that pushes some of the guys in the top 6 now down into the bottom 6 and helps that group's production.

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