Toronto Maple Leafs (22-14-5) @ Winnipeg Jets (22-15-3)
Time: 8:00 pm ET
Watch on: TSN 4, TSN 3 (regional restrictions apply)
Opponent’s site: Arctic Ice Hockey
The Leafs and Jets have similar records this season, but that’s pretty much where their similarities end when it comes to production on the ice. To start, I highly recommend reading our sister site’s recap of the season thus far. Cara provides a quick, but detailed overview of who’s performing and in what role, which really helps provide some context to these numbers. Long story short, Connor Hellebuyck is saving the team’s bacon.
Mark Scheifele and Auston Matthews are having comparable seasons offensively. Both are in the mid-40s in points and riding a shooting percentage over 17%. Defensively, however, the Jets have been abysmal and it’s affected everyone up and down the lineup. The only Jet with a positive expected goals rate is former-Leaf Nick Shore, who was picked up on waivers not too long ago.
Scheifele and his line with Kyle Connor and Patrik Laine are around 42% individually. Nikolaj Ehlers has the best expected goals rate among the top-six and he’s at a concerning 47%. By comparison, under the Leafs and their system, only fourth liners like Trevor Moore, Dmytro Timashov, and Freddy the Goat have expected goal rates similar to that of the Scheifele line.
As a team, the Jets are at the bottom of the league in terms of expected goal differentials when adjusting using Evolving Hockey’s RAPM data. while the Leafs are in the top five despite their slow start and challenged coaching.
Looking at HockeyViz.com’s heat maps, you can quickly see how bad it is. At 5v5, the Jets are getting nothing offensively in front of the net and barely any density in the slot. Defensively, it’s the complete opposite. High quantity and high quality in front of the net. Even on special teams there isn’t any hope. Considering how the Leafs fired their coach with results not as bad as this, how does Paul Maurice still have his job?
Maple Leafs Lines
Based on yesterday’s lines at practice
Ahead of morning skate in Winnipeg, the Leafs announced that Mason Marchment will be making his NHL debut today. The left winger will be replacing Dmytro Timashov and will play next to long-time linemate Adam Brooks.
Mason Marchment makes his NHL debut for the #leafs tonight in Winnipeg.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) January 2, 2020
Zach Hyman - Auston Matthews - Mitch Marner
Alexander Kerfoot - John Tavares - William Nylander
Pierre Engvall - Jason Spezza - Kasperi Kapanen
Mason Marchment - Adam Brooks - Frederik Gauthier
Martin Marincin - Justin Holl
Morgan Rielly - Tyson Barrie
Travis Dermott - Cody Ceci
Based on their last game
Kyle Connor - Mark Scheifele - Patrik Laine
Nikolaj Ehlers - Blake Wheeler - Jack Roslovic
Gabriel Bourque - Adam Lowry - Mathieu Perreault
Jansen Harkins - Nick Shore (hello!) - Mason Appleton
Josh Morrissey - Neal Pionk
Luca Sbisa - Tucker Poolman
Carl Dahlstrom - Anthony Bitetto