In the first two months of the season, the most dangerous offensive force in the NHL was the best gaming unit Toronto Maple Leafs. Overcoming the very ineffective second group, Maple Leafs ranked third in the NHL in power-play conversion to 29 percent, bested only for Colorado Avalanche and Winnipeg Jets.
After December 4, the Leafs game was powerfully cold and although there were some games in this range where they managed to break through, the team fully managed only the 25th best power conversion. 11.4 percent.
These are 16 games for Toronto, but only 76 minutes and 6 seconds to play, so we are dealing with small samples here. Despite this, 16 matches are almost 20 percent of the NHL season, it is not surprising that Mike Babcock, who is in charge of winning in a short time, decided to split this vaunted top unit to look for a little more equilibrium. and maybe a lightning in a bottle.
While the top Leafs unit, which included all three of the best centers of the team, was hitting at a hot pace, the danger was that soon after the game was over, the force would be forced to use a tired pivot because the gaming unit played almost all of them. minutes seemed worthwhile. Now, when they can not play more scores, a breakdown has to be expected.
The question I have is that opponents, who now had time to plan for all these talents, stopped the game of power in Toronto, or did Leafs just hit a roadside failure?
If we divide the offensive numbers of Maple Leaf on Dec. 4, we can see that Toronto is less and less likely to score all kinds, and that it is less often in the gap, while focusing more on East-West crossings. As a rule, I am a fan of movement in the eastern and western pacts, and the types of passages that Mitch Marner especially makes during the power game through the middle of the ice, create great scoring opportunities that force the goalkeepers to move and make storing in the passage.
One problem with the East-West crossings is how much power is in the game, which is usually between two points, which is an artifact of old power games that rely on one-timeers from the point – something that is not. almost as successful these days.
Since December 4th, 80.5 points of the Leafs 129.4 East-West passes between 60 points between points, which means that the game of power was more often forced up, rather than being able to take advantage of the low points.
Now, before Leafs begin to panic, in order to turn off the gaming force in the club and that all of these talents will be scattered, we will enter these numbers in a little context:
• Leafs classification in very dangerous occasions for the game of power from December 4th: for the first time
• Recording to the network from the slot: another
• Try to record from the slot (scoring options): first
• Enter into the slot: first
• East-West crosses the tops of the circles: 11th place.
Does this sound like a powerplay game that you are doomed to fail by the end of the season?
It is true that Leafs' leadership in these categories is much lower compared to the first two months of the season. By December 4, their 32 dangerous chances for 60 minutes were almost 12 more than the next best team in Colorado 20.6, their 52.7 points on the net at 60 were compared to the second most dangerous team in Winnipeg. during the same period they increased by 38.1 points.
So the power of the Leafs is still like an earthly elusive elite like it was? No, but it's still probably the most dangerous advantage for a man in the league.
Although the basic numbers remain strong, I do not think Mike Babcock is necessarily wrong in dismantling the top unit. The fact is that Leafs have enough high-quality offensive players that run two strong units and keep their players more willing to go back to uniform power, if it is possible to manage the ego.
Taking into account how Maple Leafs are running their power game, we can even see power figures for individuals to see who should say where it starts with the highest unit.
Obviously, the first unit that Leafs will be led at every power game should be built around Mitch Marner. Marner is already the third consecutive season among the league leaders in league games that they have created for the game of power per minute, and his chemistry with Tavares is undeniable. There is no reason to change the roles played by one of these players so far, so Marner is a player on the right-hand half wall and Tavares is a man.
Morgan Rielly has consistently proved his ability to support the game of power from the center point, so he should also stick to this unit.
Normally, I would say that Nazem Kadri should keep the place like a bumper in the middle of ice, but we try to split the talent a little bit, and I like the idea that Marner has the opportunity for an hour at a high level. slot, so it makes sense to insert players in the right hand of Kasperi Kapanen, especially because this season has established itself as a shooter.
On the left half of the wall, the possibilities are slightly reduced, but Patrick Marleau can be a decent way to win the chance for a return.
The other unit is obviously built around Austin Matthews, which is very different from Mitch Marner, but I believe that he could be so dynamic in the same place. Matthews's reluctance and unbelievable relaxation on his shots threatens him from this city, which reminds me of Alex Kovalev, forcing teams to retire and give him space.
Staff fill his usual place as a bumper on this unit and without Matthews on his left will get more shooting opportunities, while William Nylander gave Kadri the opportunity to receive one-time transfers from the high-end playmaker on the left half-wall.
Jake Gardiner fills the support role from a central point that leaves only one point that can be filled – the front of the net. For that, I would look at the third-ranked Leafs player in very dangerous occasions per minute in the 5-vs-5 season, Andreas Johnson.
It is unlikely that either of these two units will be as strong as the top Leafs at the start of the season, but they both have the chance to be among the best in the league, and each player is placed in a place that takes advantage. their power.