clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Thursday’s FTB: Phase III of Operation - Get Nylander Going

New, comments

The boys are back... on the powerplay.

NHL: Minnesota Wild at Toronto Maple Leafs Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Monday’s game was a frustrating one. Pekka Rinne decided to be that guy and stop everything, Auston Matthews had chance after chance leading up to an overturned goal via offside review, and the narrative has again returned to what is wrong with William Nylander.

Mike Babcock went to his old bag of tricks after reuniting Matthews and Nylander at even strength, and that won’t be the only throwback ahead of the New Jersey Devils game. The Leafs were sporting some new powerplay units that are amazing to look at on a screen. Don’t believe me? Here you go:

It’s not surprising to see Babs go for a slight alteration for the Leafs man advantage. Teams in the league, especially Nashville and Tampa Bay, have been able to keep the top unit at bay by clogging centre ice in the offensive zone to inhibit Mitch Marner’s playmaking. That’s not to say the strategy of the unit is flawed. A goal will be scored on the powerplay eventually but this is a good opportunity to shake things up a bit.

Matthews has spent the most time on the man advantage with Nylander since making his debut at grand total of 316:37 (via Natural Stat Trick). Of his 14 PP goals over the last two seasons, Nylander has gotten the primary assist on 9 of them and conversely, Matthews has returned the favour with 11 helpers (5 primary and 6 secondary).

The chemistry between the two stars has been on display for years and there is a lot of tape showing what they can do together.

Something else this does is spread the wealth a bit. Matthews and Nylander will likely get the weaker of the two penalty kill units and may have an easier time generating. But there is a downside to this which is explored waters in Leaf land: If Babcock evenly splits each unit then there are no worries. However, if the Marner-Tavares-Kadri-Kapanen-Riley group are out there and score quickly, there won’t be much of an opportunity for Matthews and Nylander to skate around. It seems greedy to complain about that, but it is something to think about.

In Case You Missed It

So you heard a rumour about the Leafs signing a European UFA - Pension Plan Puppets
When will that happen?

Women’s Ice Hockey Links-Exciting signs at Under-18 World Championships - Pension Plan Puppets
U-18 Worlds thoughts along with the usual CWHL, NWHL, college and international links

Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Sean Durzi traded to Guelph Storm - Pension Plan Puppets
The Leafs 2018 2nd round pick is on the move.

Frederik Andersen is so close to being back for the Maple Leafs - Pension Plan Puppets
Zach Hyman is going to beat him into the lineup, though.

Around the Hockey World

The jerseys for the 2019 All-Star game are out. They reveal went swimmingly.

Why the Sens Should Trade Dzingel - Silver Seven
With trade talks heating up, here are some reasons why the time is now for Ottawa to sell off #18.

There’s A Problem With the Rebuild — We Don’t Know Which Defenders Are Any Good. - All About The Jersey
The first step is to admit there's a problem.

Addressing the Casey Mittelstadt situation - Die By The Blade
What can the Sabres do to increase Casey Mittelstadt’s productivity after a rough first half of the 2018-19 season?

Josh Bailey is making Mathew Barzal even better - Lighthouse Hockey
The Islanders are a much better team when these two players are on the same line.

What is Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher waiting for? - Broad Street Hockey
At this point, it’s hard to imagine the Flyers getting anywhere near a playoff berth. So why hasn’t Fletch made some call-ups?

Comparing Nikita Kucherov to Lightning franchise records for assists and points in a season - Raw Charge
Because it’s fun.