Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Leafs' Scoring Chances at Even-Strength, Games 6-25

Starting with the Leafs' seventh game of the season, vs. the New York Rangers, I have been counting scoring chances for Toronto, missing only the Calgary game (recorded by Kent W. at Five Hole Fanatics). I've also added in data from the sixth game, against Colorado, recorded by Scott at Gospel of Hockey. My thanks to Vic Ferrari at http://vhockey.blogspot.com/, without him and his scoring chance app this data would not exist.
So for each individual player, I have the number of chances for and against while the player was on the ice from games 6-25 (through November 30) at Even-Strength, on the Power-Play, and while Short-Handed. First, we'll look at the Leafs Even-Strength performance thus far (click on the table for a better look at the numbers).

PLUSES: Ian White leads the team in ES chances plus/minus, but Phil Kessel (with all 13 of his games accounted for here) leads the Leafs in Scoring Chances For per 60 minutes, Chance Differential per 60, and EVC % (which = Chances For / [ Chances For + Chances Against ]). The much-hated Jason Blake also looks good by these numbers with the third best differential-per-60 on the team. Ponikarovsky doesn't get much respect in TO, either, but he continues to get the puck going the right way for the Leafs. Niklas Hagman's numbers have been much improved over the last ten games, at 52-25. He had a tough start, was a healthy scratch for the Colorado game (along with Matt Stajan), then in his next nine games was a brutal 17-34.

MINUSES: Luke Schenn has had a very rough ride this season, particularly in the first 15 games or so, but at least he has been improving recently according to the scoring chance numbers. IMO, I think he has been playing better too. Despite the struggles at ES, he has been very useful on the PK. Pugnacious off-season acquisitions Komisarek and Exelby have been unimpressive at ES so far. The 4th-line trio of Primeau-Mayers-Orr have been terrible. Coach Wilson seems to like Primeau on the PK but he has been bad there too (see my next post on Special Teams, coming tomorrow).

The table below compares Chances plus/minus to Goals plus/minus and the Fenwick and Corsi metrics.

Corsi is the difference between team shot attempts for and against while the player on the ice, and Fenwick is basically the same except blocked shots are taken out of the equation. The Leafs are outshooting and outchancing the opposition but have been outscored by 12 goals, not including empty-netters. This has been a very unlucky/unfortunate team thus far, struggling to capitalize on their chances and having trouble keeping anything out of their net. The percentages have certainly been against them.

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