The last 4 months of my life may have been the most frustrating, mainly due to the Leafs. I know, it sounds silly, but seriously, I wake up every morning mad at either Dave Nonis, Randy Carlyle or the Boston Bruins. Sometimes all 3. What happened in the last 10 minutes of game 7 combined with all the shitty moves the Leafs have made this summer make my head want to explode. The worst part is, there are actually people out there who AGREE with the moves made by Nonis! (or Carlyle, however you want to look at it). Granted, there were one or two decent signings and trades, but in the long run, this team is fucked. Basically, even though there are already plenty of blogs out there that explain this (mainly The Leafs Nation and Pension Plan Puppets), I feel the need to try to help educate, especially those who are fans of Tyler Bozak. My job here today is to look at every major move (and storyline) the leafs have made since game 7, and discuss what this means for the team.
*REMINDER: The Leafs had $20-ish million in cap space heading into the offseason*
Alright, I guess there’s no better place to start than with Tyler Bozak. When we traded for Dave Bolland (who I’ll be talking about later), I couldn’t express how happy I was. Why? Because I, along with everyone else in Leafs Nation, knew this meant that Bozak was probably on his way out. There was even a report that the Flames had a deal in place to sign him. Seriously, I was so incredibly happy, but that was my own fault.
The date was July 5th. The time was around 1:15 PM. I remember logging on to twitter while I was at work to check a few of the Leafs rumours. My heart sank when I read that the Leafs were prepared to offer Bozak a 5 year – 4.2 million dollar contract. It brought back the feelings of game 7 all over again: Hatred, disgust, sadness, confusion… except now I have to deal with those emotions for 5 years while they suck up 4.2 million dollars in cap space.
Tyler Bozak is literally one of the worst players in the NHL. Notice how I said literally. Notice how I said players, not first line centers. This is not opinion. This is fact. Its backed up by statistics and video. Tyler Bozak sucks.
Now, I’m going to throw a lot of stats at you guys, all of which were taken from TheLeafsNation.com. If you want to read much better writers write about how much Tyler Bozak sucks, head over there.
So, first off, what makes Tyler Bozak valuable? His faceoff ability? His chemistry with Phil Kessel? His defence? ***SPOILER ALERT*** None of the above. He’s not as good at faceoffs as you think, faceoffs are not as important as you think, he is a black hole when it comes to Phil Kessels production, and he cannot play defence.
@Jeffler posted a while ago about Bozak and the faceoff myth. Basically, what he did was take all the Leafs’ centermen and distributed the faceoff responsibilities evenly. Before he evened out the numbers, this is how they looked:
As you can see, Bozak took a hell of a lot more faceoffs than anyone else on the team. He won a lot more than anyone else, but he also loses more than any other player. Obviously, with the number of draws he takes, that’s expected. To even this out, Jeffler averaged out all the numbers. This is what he came up with:
What he did next is interesting. He took the gap between Kadri, who had the lowest amount of draws won, and Bozak, who had the highest number of faceoffs won. The gap between them is 55 faceoff wins a year, which he found to be just 1.14 extra faceoff wins per game over a span of 48 games.
To put this into perspective, Stephen Burtch did a little analysis on twitter. Basically, he looked at Patrice Bergeron, one of the NHL’s premier faceoff men, and how his faceoff taking ability affected the Boston Bruins in the 2013 playoffs. After all the numbers were crunched, he calculated that Bergerons faceoff wins created about 1.17 goals over an 18 game stretch. Again, we’re talking about a guy who wins 10% more faceoffs than Tyler Bozak.
They’re not as important as you think.
2. Chemistry with Phil Kessel
This is probably my favourite thing to argue with Tyler Bozak lovers. Pretty much every person who likes him has brought up this point, and pretty much everyone who brought it up ended eating their own poop after I explained that Bozak is the equivalent of a ball and chain around Kessels ankle.
It doesn’t take a genius to realize that Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak are not exactly on the same level when it comes to talent. Kessel is one of the best forwards in the NHL. Bozak is not. Yet, for some reason, idiot Randy Carlyle decides to play them together on a daily basis.
First off, lets take a look at the assists going both ways, meaning we’re gonna see how many goals bozak scores that are assisted by kessel and vice versa.
In 2012/2013, these are how the numbers played out (playoffs included):
-Out of Kessels 24 goals, Bozak assisted on just 5 of them (All primary assists). That turns out to be 20.8%. That means that almost 80% of the goals Kessel scored last season were not assisted by the first line centerman.
– Out of Bozaks 13 goals last season, Kessel assisted on 8 of them (6 primary, 2 secondary). This means that Phil Kessel assisted on 61.6% of Tyler Bozaks’ goals. That’s an ENORMOUS number.
Now, you may be thinking that this is just a one season thing, that the weird 48 game shortened schedule had some effect on these numbers. Sorry. That’s not even close to true. This time, let’s look at the numbers from the 2011/2012 season:
– Out of Kessels 37 goals that year, his centerman for THE WHOLE SEASON assisted on just 14 of those goals (8 primary, 6 secondary). That turns out to be a 37.8%. That means that Kessel scored 62.2% of his goals without the help of his buddy.
– In comparison, out of the 18 goals that Bozak scored that season, Kessel assisted on 10 of them (7 primary, 3 secondary), adding up to 56.6%. Wow.
Clearly, there’s it’s not mutual when it comes to helping each other score goals. Bozak will continue to ride Kessels coattails for the next 5 years, and Kessel will continue to provide Bozak with employment during that same time.
Jeffler tallied all the numbers and, since bozak has arrived in Toronto, these are how the assist percentages have played out:
– Of Kessels’ 109 goals since Bozak has joined the team, he has assisted on 40 of them, meaning that Kessel has scored 63.3% of his goals without Bozak.
– Of Bozaks 54 goals since he joined the squad back in the 209/2010 season, Kessel has assisted on 61.1% OF ALL THE GOALS TYLER BOZAK HAS EVER SCORED. OF THE 33 ASSISTS KESSEL HAS PROVIDED BOZAK, 25 OF THEM HAVE BEEN PRIMARY. HOOOOLY FUCK.
Now that we’ve established that Tyler Bozak is literally nothing without Phil, lets take a look at some other stats.
These stats, in my opinion, are more telling than the ones I’ve just shown you. Anyone reading this right now could be saying “yeah, Bozak may not have assisted on the goals, but he could have done something on the play that eventually lead to the goals”. Fair enough, so lets look at each others’ production when they aren’t on the ice together (:
– When Tyler Bozak is on the ice WITH Kessel:
Goals/60 minutes: 0.65 Points/60 minutes: 1.67
When Tyler Bozak is on the ice WITHOUT Kessel:
Goals/60 minutes: 0.31 Points/60 minutes: 0.82
– When Kessel is on the ice WITH Bozak:
Goals/60 minutes: 0.95 Points/60 minutes: 2.27
When Kessel is on the ice WITHOUT Bozak:
Goals/60 minutes: 1.28 Points/60 minutes: 2.09
So, not only does Bozak not assist on any of Kessels goals, but Kessel actually scores at a higher rate when Bozak isn’t even on the ice. Conversely, when Kessel is on the ice, Bozak scores at a much higher rate. Take Kessel completely out of the equation? Tyler Bozak becomes a bottom tier producer.
Also, just to add insult to injury, the Leafs actually have a positive Corsi rating when Kessel is on the ice without Bozak. Corsi is basically just a stat that shows a possession percentage, so having a positive Corsi (51% and above) rating means that the leafs had the puck more than the other team.
These are statistics, not opinion. There is no chemistry between Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak. One is an elite scorer, the other one is Tyler Bozak.
Naturally, next on my rant list would be
Wendel Clark David Clarkson. On the same day that the Leafs signed Bozak, they also decided to sign Clarkson to a 7 year, $36.75 million contract. Every day I have a different opinion on the deal, and here’s why:
I like Clarkson as a player, who wouldn’t. He plays his heart out every shift, plus he took a hometown discount to play in Toronto (LOL, discount). He gets shots on net at a high rate and is a fun player to watch.
Here’s the thing. He’s 29 years old, almost 30. By the time his contract is up, he’ll be 37. We’re talking about a guy who has NEVER cracked 50 points in an NHL season and is almost past his prime. The main reason people love this guy so much isn’t because of his scoring, but because he hits, fights, and takes penalties.
Let me just point something out, and this applies more to everyone who loves hits rather than to just David Clarkson: A hit means you do not have the puck. Players who record lots of hits are usually bad possession players. While hits are exciting and can change the feel of the game, the team with more hits is usually the team who had the puck less. Interestingly enough, though, David Clarkson is a very good possession player. Then again, you’d be hard-pressed to find a bad possession player in a possession oriented system in New Jersey.
The penalties thing, though, I’ll never understand.
This could be a move that helps us for the next two or 3 years. He could potentially be a solid player to on this team. The reason I’m not a fan of this move is because it puts us in a terrible position years down the road. Who wants to be paying a 35 year old David Clarkson $5.25 million dollars a season when we’re going to be needing that money for other areas? And if you’re the type of person that thinks I’m stupid for caring about who our team is spending money on 6 or 7 years down the line then you can just f right off.
I think the scariest part of this deal, though, was that I realized Dave Nonis had become Randy Carlyles bitch. I had suspected that after the Bozak signing, but with this one coming just mere minutes (or hours, can’t remember, I was too mad about Bozak) after the Bozak deal, it confirmed it. Randy Carlyle is an awful coach, who I’ll be ripping on very soon, but yeah, I think that played a part in why I didn’t like this signing right from the get go.
-COLTON ORR, FRAZER MCLAREN AND FIGHTING-
Let me just get this out of the way: fighting is useless. Most of todays fights are staged and have no real impact on the outcome of a game. While it may be entertaining, it does nothing but delay the game in the long run. This is why I see no place on our team for players like Colton Orr and Frazer Mclaren. Neither of them are capable of playing hockey at the NHL level. Neither of them are able to really compete at the NHL level. All they do is fight and suck up a roster spot that could be used on someone useful.
The Leafs signed Mclaren to a 2 year, $1.4 dollar contract. The Leafs signed Orr to a 2 year, $1.85 million dollar contract. The Leafs tied up $3.25 million dollars in cap space on wrestlers. The worst part about this isn’t that they each make more than league minimum, it isn’t that they’ll be playing every. single. night. But it’s the fact that Leafs management made it a PRIORITY, yes, a priority to get these guys signed. Again, it keeps coming back to me seeing moves and not trusting management, and I don’t think I’m out of line.
Both of these guys are easily replaceable, whether that be through waivers or free agency. The Leafs have actually won more games over the last few seasons without Colton Orr in the lineup to ‘protect’ his star players.
You want me to stop whining? You got it! I actually really liked this signing, mostly because I really like Gunnarsson. He’s young, he’s a very solid defenseman, and we signed him to a team friendly contract. Really, there’s nothing else to say. Plays decent minutes, can put up points(?). That’s all I have to say about this signing.
This one had me a little bit confused. By all accounts, Paul Ranger played fantastic hockey with the Marliest last season, NHL calibre hockey. The fact that we got him for just $1 million this season is fantastic. Why, though, would you spend a million bucks after you’ve wasted all your cap space and still have Kadri and Franson to sign? I like Ranger as a player (from what I’ve heard) but was it really a necessity to get him signed over Kadri or Franson? If you ask me who I want on my back end next year, I take Franson over Ranger any day of the week.
**Fun fact: Franson actually outscored Clarkson last season**
Ranger is definitely going to be cashing in once his new contract expires, and I’m not denying that he’s going to be a solid addition to our back end. It’s just the timing of this deal that had me kinda scratching my head a bit.
At the time, this was my favourite deal of all time. Like I said before, the acquisition of Dave Bolland was supposed to mean the end of Tyler Bozak in Toronto. After that didn’t happen, I sat down and looked at this deal and still came to the conclusion that I liked it.
Dave Bolland actually scores at a higher rate than Tyler Bozak and takes more shots as well. Lets all just think for a second about the lines they play on. This is a great depth move for the Leafs, as Bolland (assuming Kadri gets signed) will be an extremely solid third line shut down center. Although I’m not a huge fan of his contract, it’s not a big deal as it expires after this season. I’m not expecting him to play the full season, though, The guy’s always hurt.
This, in my opinion, was the stupidest move the Leafs made all summer (yes, dumber than re-signing Bozak). If Randy Carlyle wasn’t such a fucking idiot, people would still love Grabo just like they did a year ago. The second I found out about this, I just kinda put my hands on my head while gazing off into the distance for about 10 minutes. You know that ‘impossibru’ meme? That’s kinda what my face looked like. The human brain just wasn’t wired to take in all that stupidity at once.
Grabovski was the Leafs’ best center. Yes, FAR better than Tyler Bozak and better than Kadri as well. In the short amount of minutes that Kessel played with Grabo, he put up better numbers than he had with any other centerman. Also, Grabo was one of our better possession players, a rarity in our organization.
For some unbelievably idiotic, stupid, foolish, asinine, indefensible reason, Randy Carlyle has never liked Mikhail Grabovski. Instead, he prefers players like Bozak and Orr. Because of this, he completely ruined Grabovski and gave him limited minutes in a mainly defensive role. We’re talking about an ultra talented center, one that could potentially take our first line to the next level, playing limited third line minutes.
When Grabovski was sent out on the ice to start a shift, only 36.7% of the time did he get to start that shift in the offensive zone. How is anyone supposed to produce when he has to start each shift in his own zone? Comparatively, Tyler Bozak started 45% of his in the offensive zone and Kadri started 47.7%. Just noticed now while writing this, Kuleimin had a lower offensive zone starting percentage than Grabovski. Carlyle is a fucking tool.
I have a theory that if Grabo was Canadian, he’d still be on this squad. Randy Carlyle is a xenophobic piece of poop, and a terrible coach to boot.
I feel so bad for James Reimer, seriously. The guy is a #1 goalie. In the time that he hasn’t been concussed, he’s proven that he can carry this team. I don’t care that he has an arguably below average glove hand. The guy stops pucks at a .925 SV%. He CARRIED us to the playoffs. Yes, carried. The guy has had to face 30+ shots on a nightly basis because Randy Carlyle gave all of his possession players defensive zone starts and no minutes. Without Reimer, we would not have made it to game 7 against the Bruins. Yet, for some odd reason, he never gets any of the respect he deserves. I really don’t understand… Is it because we live in Toronto and love to run goalies out of town? That has to be the reason. If James Reimer is on ANY other NHL team (okay, maybe not Vancouver) he’s the undisputed #1 goalie going in to the 2013-2014 NHL season. It honestly blows my mind how stupid someone could be to ignore all his stats and write him off simply because he doesn’t have a fantastic glove hand. Christ.
James Reimer and Jonathan Bernier are the same age. The difference? Reimer has almost 2x the amount of starts, playoff experience that everyone talks about, and, wait, what’s this? A higher save percentage? So, Reimer has actually put up better numbers over twice the amount of games played? Wow! That’s not what I’ve been told by my fellow Leaf fans! From what I’ve heard, Bernier is the next superstar! The next can’t miss prospect! He was drafted 11th overall!… In 2006.
This trade was 100%, COMPLETELY unnecessary. Bernier had stated several times that he felt he deserved to be a starting goalie. Why bring him to Toronto when we have Reimer, who’s clearly proven to be a starter, and a fully capable backup in Ben Scrivens? There is no reasonable evidence that suggests Jonathan Bernier is a better goalie, or WILL become a better goalie, than James Reimer, and people are already giving him the starting job.
Here are my issues with the trade:
When we acquired Bernier, we acquired him as an RFA who wasn’t under contract. He’s stated many times that he felt he thought he should be a starter, so he’s not going to take backup money. Obviously, we ended up signing him to a deal where he gets paid $3 million a season.
On top of that, the Leafs retained about $500k in the deal. So, actually, Bernier is costing us $3.5 million dollars in cap space this season.
Ben Scrivens is a fully capable backup goalie. Ben Scrivens does not cost 3.5 million dollars. Ben Scrivens, at this point in his career, has measured up to Jonathan Bernier.
The Leafs gave up Matt Frattin. The Leafs have no more wingers. They have absolutely no depth at a position they were pretty strong at last season.
Who knows, maybe this may be the deal of the century and Bernier turns out to be the next great goalie in this league. At this point in time, though, it’s a move the leafs really did not need to make. It’s like Dave Nonis doesn’t understand that there’s actually a limit to his spending.
The leafs have issues at the center position. They could use a few touch ups on the back end. Goaltending was not an issue. Again, the thought process going through managements head just blows me away. P-R-I-O-R-I-T-I-E-S.
-DAVE NONIS AND RANDY CARLYLE-
I would rather have Ron Wilson as my coach than Randy Carlyle. Yup. I said it. Randy Carlyle is a terrible coach, and not so great of a GM at that! (ha ha).
For some reason, Carlyle favours all the wrong players. Bozak, Orr, Mclaren, Holzer, Kostka… Come on man. The guy played Dion Phaneuf with Holzer and Kostka all season long and people wonder why he had such a tough year? Actually, Dion was among the league leaders in quality of competition. Basically, I think there were only two other defensemen who played harder minutes against harder opponents than Dion Phaneuf. Take this into consideration: Dion was playing 25+ mins a night with an AHL calibre defensive partner against some of the hardest competition the NHL has to offer. Fucking A Carlyle! Smart Coaching!
Also, we’ve all HEARD of the one they call Jake Gardiner, why don’t we ever get to see him? Ah, Randy Carlyle, that’s why. He insisted on playing players much less skilled than Gardiner all season long.
How sad is this: it took injuries for Randy Carlyle to finally be forced to dress his best lineup… And this happened in the playoffs. Over a 48 game stretch, he was still sitting out some of his key players. It took people getting injured to FORCE him to play his best lineup, and look what happened! We were 10 minutes from advancing to the next round!
Randy Carlyle ruined Mikhail Grabovski, Randy Carlyle is the reason Clarkson, Bozak, Orr and Mclaren are all here. Randy Carlyle is a huge part of the reason why we went in to the offseason with $20 million dollars to spend and came out marginally better with two key players left to sign and only $5 million dollars to do it. Randy Carlyle is an idiot. Dave Nonis is just a huge pussy who will do whatever Randy says.
Don’t fool yourselves, this was Brian Burke’s team that made it to the playoffs, not Dave Nonis’. Dave Nonis actually managed to make the team worse by trading for O’Byrne. I could not believe that Nonis actually got a ‘GM of the Year’ vote this past season.
I guess you guys can already tell, but I’m not too happy with the Leafs. I was so sick and tired of the Leafs being made fun of constantly, and when they made the playoffs, I thought it was all going to disappear. I hope you guys know that the Leafs aren’t making the playoffs this season. Or next season. Or the season after that.
Screw Dave Nonis. Screw Randy Carlyle. Screw MLSE. It’s sickening to know that a 17 year old college kid could run a multi million dollar team better than
Randy Carlyle Dave Nonis. Can’t take any more of this crap.
^^ Some stats taken from these sites