Steve Burtch often talks about how good the Leafs top forwards are, and I don't remember the comment exactly, but something he said in the Dustin Brown/Kulemin thread yesterday got me thinking, "How good are the Leafs top 6 forwards in comparison to the rest of the teams in the league?"
I decided to pull stats from NHL.com on how many goals each team's top 6 forwards scored (ranked by goals, not overall points) and compared that to each team's overall balance. I grabbed a few stats for each team:
- total goals scored
- goals scored by the top 6 forwards
- goals scored by the rest of the team
- percentage of goals scored by the top 6
- # of forwards with at least 10 goals
- # of forwards with at least 5 goals
Three of those categories include defencemen - total goals, goals scored by the rest of the team, % of goals scored by top 6. The other three categories only include forwards. I haven't really done any analysis of how the Leafs' defence stack up in terms of offense, but I don't think it takes a rocket scientist to determine that if your top scoring defenceman has 3 goals, you've got a bit of an issue. My goal here was just to see how the Leafs forwards compare to the rest of the league.
The result of this analysis? The Leafs have a very good top 6 (top 5, really) and one of the worst "rest of the team"s in the NHL.
Top 6 Forwards Spreadsheet
[One caveat for this data - NHL.com lists player stats for the team they were actually earned on, not the team they're currently on. So, for example, Ottawa's stats include Mike Fisher as their top goal scorer with 14, while Toronto is credited with zero Joffrey Lupul goals.]
Maple Leaf Rankings:
- Total goals - 140 (26th)
- Goals by the top 6 - 101 (8th)
- Goals by the rest of the team - 39 (30th)
- Percentage of team's goals scored by the top 6 forwards - 72.14% (1st)
- Number of forwards with at least 10 goals - 5 (t-20th [or 27th, depending on how you want to look at it])
- Number of forwards with at least 5 goals - 8 (t-24th-29th)
- Ottawa sucks. Our 5th leading goal scorer, Kris Versteeg, would be Ottawa's top goal scorer.
- Toronto is the most top-heavy team in the league by a pretty big margin. Only two other teams get more than 70% of their scoring from their top 6 - Dallas and Anaheim. In fact, if we take out Tyler Bozak and only include our top 5, our percentage is still 66.43%, which would still rank us 6th in the league. Depth at forward is a serious issue.
- If the Leafs want to be a top offensive team, they need bigger contributions from their bottom 6-7 forwards. Of the top 15 scoring teams in the league, only Colorado has less than 6 forwards with at least 10 goals. Most have 7 or 8. Toronto has 5.
- After Tim Brent in 8th with 7 goals, our next highest scoring player is Darryl Boyce, who's only played 20 games, with 3. Can we please keep Brent around for next year? Great salary, great PK, surprising offensive contributions.
- Trading Versteeg probably doesn't make much sense. We don't have enough depth at forward to be trading away a guy who would be the leading goal scorer on a few teams.
- Only two teams in the league really have a significantly better top 6 than the Leafs - Vancouver and Philly. If we can either get more goals out of Bozak or replace him with a centre who scores a bit more regularly, we'll be right around the top of the league in terms of top 6 goal production.
- Ottawa really, really sucks.