Hopefully the lockout helps Kulemin get back on track - Martin Rose
One aspect that you will see in a lot of season previews is a focus on how many players in the lineup played in the AHL or overseas during the lockout. For the Maple Leafs, that number was 14. Will this help them or hinder them? Maybe. Will that answer depend on the results? Of course.
During the run up to the season, the section of season previews that used to be filled with players explaining how they are in the best shape of their lives has been changed to a tally of how many players on the roster were active during the lockout. It's even been enough to give the hardest of hearts the belief that his team may benefit from the phenomenon. The effect of this is unknown of course. In the previous lockout there wasn't an exodus overseass as extensive and organized by players.
One school of thought that I've seen in the local coverage is that the players that were active during the lockout are ahead of the game compared to their teammates. That's been given as one reason as to why players like Ben Scrivens and Mike Kostka seem to have a leg up on their competition. Obviously, it makes evaluation difficult when you have to factor in how long some players have been playing before camp as Carlyle is left to wonder whether that is skewing each player's performance. The correlation is supposed to be that teams that have more players on the roster that were active as they will be better positioned to get off to a quick start in which every game matters. It will be interesting to see if, at the end of the season, playing overseas is blamed for a team fading down the stretch and missing the playoffs.
Anyway, it's uncertain value aside, what have the Leafs' done? Well, if it is a benefit then I think that the Leafs are in a good position relative to the NHL as they had a good number of players active during the lockout. Below are two tables that show all of the active Leafs as well as the league that they played in and a superficial look at their boxcar stats.
|Joffrey Lupul||KHL||Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg||9||1||3||4||4||-4|
|Mikhail Grabovski||KHL||CSKA Moskva||29||12||12||24||10||8|
|Nikolai Kulemin||KHL||Metallurg Magnitogorsk||35||14||21||35||24||23|
|Carl Gunnarsson||Allsvenskan||HC Örebro||9||0||2||2||2||-1|
|Leo Komarov||KHL||Dynamo Moskva||13||2||8||10||10||2|
|Clarke MacArthur||Germany2||Eispiraten Crimmitschau||9||4||7||11||16||?|
|Nazem Kadri||AHL||Toronto Marlies||27||8||18||26||26||5|
|Matt Frattin||AHL||Toronto Marlies||20||9||7||16||14||5|
|Mike Kostka||AHL||Toronto Marlies||34||6||28||34||38||7|
|Jake Gardiner||AHL||Toronto Marlies||22||9||8||17||26||5|
|Korbinian Holzer||AHL||Toronto Marlies||30||1||7||8||26||12|
|Mark Fraser||AHL||Toronto Marlies||30||2||3||5||114||9|
In terms of the players that were active, the Leafs did decently. Of the top 12 forwards seven saw at least some action while three of the top six defencemen played as well as all three possibilities for the final spots on the blueline. Obviously it would have been good to see Phil Kessel, Dion Phaneuf, and Tyler Bozak play somewhere during the lockout but you can rest assured that at least Phaneuf was out hunting mastodons to keep in shape.
|Ben Scrivens||AHL||Toronto Marlies||22||14||7||1||2||2.22||0.917|
One concern for Leafs fans may be that while Scrivens was playing well (after recovering from a brutal start) in the AHL, James Reimer was not playing regularly. But I have some good news on that front: goalies do not need a lot of games in a row to play well. Rather, good goalies play a lot of games in a row because they are playing well. One tidbit from that post is that the examples cited actually show a downward slope in their performance over the life of their games played streak. If the Leafs are lucky (hahaha what a dumb way to start a thought) then maybe Reimer can get to speed quickly especially considering his concussion last year.