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Thursday FTB: Murray return looms

And other Leafy news.

Pittsburgh Penguins v Toronto Maple Leafs Bernard Weil/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Yesterday was practice day for the Leafs:

Calle Järnkrok was ill, and absent, and I can’t find the tweet, so you’ll have to trust me, but Keefe said Murray might play this weekend. Nothing certain yet.

And now I will take you through my Twitter list of hockey accounts.

Are we sure this isn’t just Thatcher Demko? You can’t pay enough to watch that, but that looks goalie to me. (That’s after two periods, so who knows what the final result was.)

It looks like the dream of the Matts Murray showdown are fading.

This is Marty Biron doing the assessing, so depending on how you feel about him will inform your enjoyment of this video. My thoughts are blah, blah save % out of context, blah, blah. I don’t disagree with his conclusion, just the dumb use of a near valueless stat.

Shrug. I mean, it’s not like they can retire Karlsson’s number.

Dumb rookie move. If you’re going to do it, do it to someone important.

The reason I find this funny is the sheer number of times people have told me Mike Reilly is a guy the Leafs should get.

So, I didn’t read that. I did what I always do and figured it out myself. I did that for the Sens the other morning, and Micah McCurdy posted the same stuff I’d wasted a half hour figuring out an hour later. Procrastinate more, is the lesson.

Here’s the answer on Calgary:

The Flams have a great PP (Nazturally) and their PK is stellar. Their defence is okay and their offence is bog standard LA Kings from 10 years ago where they shoot massive amounts from the point, and it all ends up pointless. It’s the sort of wankery you all think the Leafs are doing when Matthews doesn’t score, but for real.

So I looked up the Leafs in the same way, as if I knew nothing about them, and I came to this conclusion: Their PP should scare people — like they should legitimately shriek in alarm if they take a penalty. The PK is fine (and if the results aren’t there, that’s the goalie). Their defence is okay and their offence is not bad, but it’s a pale copy of their usual. The shooting is not heavily concentrated around the net, it’s skewed to the left side and is too tepid. So there is a too much outside problem, but nothing like the Flames.

I stopped pretending I’d never paid any attention to them and looked at some individual numbers, and here’s the problem players, weighted for ice time: Mitch Marner, Michael Bunting, Nick Robertson, Pierre Engvall, Calle Järnkrok. JT, William Nylander and Alex Kerfoot are all better than last year, and Auston Matthews has put up numbers so close to last year’s in shot rate, ixG and on-ice Corsi it’s hilarious. He’s exactly himself everywhere but sh%.

So “the problem” if you want to boil the flavour out of this stew and find one major issue: The Leafs don’t have the puck as much as they should, and that limits the volume of the bottom six in shooting. And since they aren’t as skilled as the top six, they won’t get goals unless they get more zone time. This mostly shows up in that no one is replacing Ilya Mikheyev’s performance.

This has been and episode of “it’s too early, but” analysis.

Late breaking news:

Maybe they can claim Zaitsev and Rielly. Actually that would be hilarious. And then Zaitsev wins the Norris playing top pair while Letang plays his offside. Because that’s just how the Penguins do things.

On that cheery note: Happy Thursday, everyone.