Glove tap to @JulianKaminski for having a great first name and tracking down some of the numbers and @GarrettBauman for helping get the thinking cap on.
One of the things that had some fans worried was how the team's defence would fare if what was then a much discussed hypothetical trade of Francois Beauchemin went through. The reasoning was that since he played the toughest competition and did the best against them his basence would be felt harshly. One manner of measuring a defenceman's value relative to his teammates is how they stack up in terms of chances for and against. The normal caveats apply but thanks to Slava Duris, who has been putting in a yeoman's effort at LeafsNation tracking scoring chances for the Maple Leafs this year, we can see where the Leafs stood on January 31st:
This table is interesting in its own right. A couple of notes stand out:
- Francois Beauchemin was doing well in tough situations.
- After Tomas Kaberle and Luke Schenn the Leafs' defence there was a drop off in the defence's ability to generate scoring chances.
- During the Sabres game Greg Brady called Luke Schenn the Leafs' least offensively gifted defenceman. He is hilariously wrong. The numbers don't lie. I get he's a former Detroit guy so that's why he defends Lebda in the face of everything quantitative and qualitative proving he's awful but worse than Komisarek? Mike Komisarek couldn't score in a brothel with a Wayne Rooney mask.
- Keith Aulie was getting decimated during his first call up.
Of course, on February 9th Francois Beauchemin was traded to Anaheim and 10 days later Tomas Kaberle also was sent on his way out of Toronto. I was definitely in the camp that was skeptical about the team's ability to limit scoring chances and shots against in the absence of their best defensive defenceman and their best defenceman at moving the puck up the ice. After the jump I'll look at shots and chances against since the trades and over the course of the season.
|Record||AVG SA||AVG CA||AVG CF|
|To January 1||13-19-4||28.11||17.76||16.91|
|Jan 1 - Feb 9||10-7-1||33.28||17.28||16.78|
|To February 8||23-26-5||29.83||17.59||16.86|
|Feb 9 - Feb 18||2-1-1||34.25||15.25||15.25|
|Feb 19 - Mar 15||4-3-5||33.67||19.64||17.75|
|Feb 9 - Mar 15||6-4-6||33.81||18.97||17.13|
|Jan 1 - Mar 15||16-10-6||33.53||17.65||16.94|
This is obviously a macro level analysis of shots and chances against. At the individual level, it would be great if Slava updated his scoring chance information (hint!). Based on tracking the games' scoring chances that Slava's posted I would bet we'll see some huge improvement from Aulie. I've added scoring chances for as a way of looking at whether the Leafs are outchancing their opponents.
The segments correspond with a few major points in the season: January 1st was James Reimer's first game, February 9th was the day of the Beauchemin trade, and February 19th was the first game without Tomas Kaberle.
2011 wasn't just a new year on the calendar but a new beginning for the Maple Leafs. Before that date the Leafs were getting .894 goaltending. After that date, they have been getting .910 goaltending.
The closest the Leafs have gotten to outchancing their opponents over any segment was in the four games after the Beauchemin trade when they tied.
The Leafs' average scoring chances for has been remarkably consistent for the entire year.
Shots have gone up in 2011 and after the two trades. There are probably a few reasons for this: two of the team's best defencemen are gone and the Leafs are winning more.
Scoring chances are up after the trades which also makes sense.
As I said, this is just a top-level look at things and I'd be intereested in hearing what you think has contributed to the changes this year.