So far I've used individual GVTs to examine the player additions and subtractions to each team. This is all aimed at answering the question "will we make the playoffs next year?" First, lets take a look at the changes the Leafs have made (so far):
Now, here is where the details get important. In part I I explained that I would include every departure from a team, with the assumption that any player who leaves a team leaves their impact behind. Well, given the number of players traded last season, this means a departure of a significant number of impact players. Specifically, with the departures of White, Ponikarovsky, Hagman and Stajan, we lose our #2, 3, 6, and 7th most impactful players from last season. The only players to have more of an impact than White were Kessel and Kaberle, who may also be gone soon.
However, what you'll also notice at the bottom is the large, statistically anomalous -15.3 GVT for Vesa D.S. Toskala. If you haven't seen the numbers yourself, Toskala's GVT last season was worse than any other player. A lot worse. Thus, simply by not having Toskala lace up for us this season, we probably get a lot better. In the meantime, however, we also lost a lot of good help up front. How can we make up this loss?Getting Versteeg will probably be a great move on the part of our cunning GM. His 9.3 GVT would have corresponded to 2nd for the Leafs last season, behind Kessel and just ahead of Kaberle.
Armstrong also brings decent numbers, but he's not a Nik Hagman. He's not even a Matt Stajan. As for Lebda, well, all I can say for him is that he probably won't be bringing us down.
The additional GVTs of Phaneuf should help, but unless Giggy can turn around last year's performance in Anaheim (something he indicated he could probably do), he could be dead weight.
So, as you can see, according to the numbers, we don't necessarily get better next season. Perhaps a little better. But that's not very comforting.
Based on all the additions and subtractions to every team, plugging the numbers into the equation from Part I gives these predictions for next season:
|GVT Total||2009-2010 Points||GVT Added||GVT Lost||Projected GVT||Point Projection|
Teams that make the playoffs: Washington, Buffalo, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Pittsburgh, the Rangers, Boston, and Ottawa. Of these, I think all of them are locks except perhaps the Rangers and Ottawa. This means that, best case scenario, we have to overcome 7 or 8 teams just for a chance at squeaking into the playoffs.
More importantly, however, according to the math, we still end up in second-last place next year.
According to the numbers, few teams are getting worse next year, and very few of them are doing it drastically enough to stink it up royally. The exceptions to this may be Florida and Atlanta, but on paper, they should still be better teams than we will next season.
I started off on this project with the intention to prove to myself and to everyone else just how awesome the Leafs were going to be this year. Instead, I'm left with the stark realization that on paper, the Leafs aren't anywhere near where they should be if they're going to make it into the playoffs. I really can't see them placing last, but there's a good chance they'll miss the playoffs again unless things change. That leaves me with a couple of parting thoughts.
- If Brian Burke is going to trade Kaberle, he really does need a top-6 forward. Someone, better than the likes of a Versteeg or a Ponikarovsky. Any thing less than a almost a Corey Perry is going to make us a worse team.
- If they Leafs are going to improve next year, we need to see a lot of improvement in many of our players. We know our goal differential was terrible last year, which is one of the reasons the GVTs are so low. IF we're going to improve as a team, each player needs to be more effective at putting pucks in the net, and keeping them out of our own net.
- To that effect, there's something else I think will come into play this season. I call it the Vesa "D.S." Toskala effect. Recall that one of my major assumptions was that the GVTs were reliable from year-to-year. Well, when you had a goalie who had the league-worst GVT, that's probably going to drag down the entire team. Although the pure math of getting rid of Toskala doesn't make us that much better, I've got to think there's going to be an effect where everyone's GVT starts to creep up as our goalies get better at stopping pucks.
It sounds like some of you have already started to do your own math, and I'm interested to see how it compares. I personally tried to adjust a player's GVT as little as possible. While it's obvious some players have good years and some have bad years, as a team I think the best way of knowing how good a player will be is to look at their environment on the same team. We can speculate all we want about whether we get the Conn Smythe winning Giguere or the Norris candidate Phaneuf, but unless we see a significant improvement in everyone's performance next year compared to last, we're likely to be stuck at at the bottom of the conference again....