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Back to Excited Episode 108: Leafs Power Play Analysis

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We bring a couple guests on to talk about power plays

NHL: Winnipeg Jets at Toronto Maple Leafs John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to another episode of Back to Excited. Today, we welcome Shawn Ferris (@shawnferris98) and Olivia Lin (@oliviaylin) onto the podcast to talk about the Leafs power play and how it has changed over the last two seasons. Shawn and Olivia co-wrote an excellent analysis of this idea here and it’s worth checking out for the level of detail and effort that went into it, including tracking information, shot assist patterns, and shot location patterns for each of the last two seasons (including who is doing the shooting).

In particular, we discuss:

  • How this project arose, and the mechanics of getting all the data into a usable form [1:40]
  • Whether Shawn and Olivia feel power plays are too static [13:15]
  • How to get around the risk-aversion coaches would have in being more aggressive on the PP [17:08]
  • The theory of the Leafs PP relative to Boston or TB [22:47]
  • How the focal point of the Leafs PP has shifted from year to year [25:53]
  • Comparing the effectiveness of the 2018 and 2019 PP1 units for the Leafs [33:24]
  • The possibility and upsides / downsides of setting up a power play from behind the net [38:15]
  • Their recommendations for the Leafs power play going forward [43:20]

We then bade goodbye to our guests, and finish up with some discussion of

  • Auston Matthews’ positive coronavirus test [56:43]
  • The Buffalo Sabres, no-good, very bad week [1:01:37]

As always, you can find us on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, and Spotify. Let us know what other topics you’d like us to cover in the future.

Thanks for listening!