[Tuesday's Leafs Links] More Than 30 Thoughts

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sport

Plenty of tidbits for your consideration this morning.

I'll kick things off with a link to Elliotte Friedman's always-entertaining 30 thoughts (in case you haven't already read it) and add one or two of my own:

On the Leafs non-urgent search for a top-4 defenceman:

Once the Leafs' overall shooting percentage falls off a bit (and it's already starting to at even strength) and the Leafs' goaltending settles down a bit, that search is going to get a lot more frenzied. Mike Brophy at CBC thinks Paul Ranger is rounding into form, but I'm not convinced. It'd be nice if the Leafs could see all this coming and start trade negotiations now, instead of trading from a position of weakness and need later.

On The Minnesota Wild embracing advanced stats and suddenly having an improved possession game and more wins, even in the tougher Western Conference:

My first thoughts are 1) outright jealousy that the Wild get such open-minded coaching and management, 2) that having a big-money team may be dampening the Leafs' enthusiasm for exploring other types of less traditional analysis ("but we've got so much money for scouts and a dozen GMs!"), and 3) isn't it timely that the Leafs' Dave Nonis was just saying that he still has no reason to put any faith in these numbers?

This, of course, leads to the second link of the day, James Mirtle's coverage of the PrimeTime Sports Management Conference. From the article:

"We’re constantly trying to find solid uses for it," Nonis said on Monday as he took part in a sports analytics panel at the PrimeTime Sports Management Conference. "The last six, seven years, we’ve had a significant dollar amount in our budget for analytics and most of those years we didn’t use it.

What else is there to say? They're not even bothering to look into it. Meanwhile, the team has yet to play a complete game all season. Good. Great. Grand. Wonderful. NO YELLING ON THE BUS.

Let's look on the bright side for a moment. "Brighter", at least. A Leafs' prospect update was just posted over at The Leafs Nation and at least some of the players are showing some promise. Connor Brown is admittedly in his draft +2 season, but at least with 42 points in 20 games, he's playing like he's too good for his league. Concerns about his skating and defensive game may mean he never puts it all together, but we'll keep our fingers crossed. Frederick Gauthier is also at a point-per-game (19 Pts in 19GP), and though it doesn't scream "I'm going to be a top-six NHLer" or even NHLer at all, it's better than nothing.

Speaking of the future, Hope In The Big Smoke ponders whether or not the Leafs should re-sign Dion Phaneuf. As far as I can tell, they don't have much choice, because he's one of only two right-handed D on the team, and easily the best one we have. HITBS writes this piece to commend Kevin McGran for writing something positive about the Leafs, even if it's not altogether well thought-out.

Last but not least is a link to the video of Steven Stamkos busting his right tibia. As @JoNana pointed out on Twitter, this jeopardizes Stamkos' chances of going to Sochi, though not knowing what kind of break it is, it's tough to start making predictions. If it's a clean break, he could be skating in 6-8 weeks, and with the Olympics 86 days away, that would leave plenty of time. If, on the other hand, it's a comminuted fracture (has lots of tiny bone pieces that got ground up/splintered off), it could be a much longer healing process, and the Olympics would be unlikely. We know Stamkos went for surgery, but we don't know anything more specific yet, and Steve Yzerman wasn't making any guesses yesterday.

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