Toronto Maple Leafs By the Numbers: Down The Middle


Today we’re going to look at the current Toronto Maple Leafs depth down the middle – and extend the sample to the 2012-2013 NHL season until now for each individual.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have long been searching for another top-six center because many feel, and justifiably, that Tyler Bozak isn’t the answer.

For today’s By The Numbers we’re going to use dCorsi60 as the statistic. Here’s what dCorsi is, courtesy of Stephen Burtch’s article on in July:

"This dCorsi value represents the seasonal average level above or below Expected Corsi a player has produced for every 20 minutes of 5v5 game play in a given season when usage is taken into account."

Essentially, dCorsi is a measure of whether a player is under or over performing in their role on the ice using zero as the baseline. A negative dCorsi suggests the player is under-performing, a positive suggests over-performance.

The Leafs have had several players line up at center but the four players I’ve chosen have taken the majority of faceoffs for the Toronto Maple Leafs throughout the 2014-2015 NHL season.

Let’s take a look at the dCorsi chart for the four centers.

Kadri, Holland and Smith almost met up in 2013-2014 before going their separate ways for this season – while Tyler Bozak was never really in the picture.

Let’s start with Trevor Smith.

Smith only played one game for the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2012-2013 so a value of “n/a” was placed for that season. He’s regressed from year one to year two in Toronto and as a low impact fourth line center is easily made expendable for the future.

Peter Holland

Holland’s 2012-2013 season was in Anaheim, followed by the last two seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Holland hasn’t strayed too far from meeting the expectations for his role. He’s essentially a safe option for the bottom-six forward group that isn’t going to do anything magical or severely detrimental to the team.

Nazem Kadri

Kadri struggled last season before returning to the same form he had in the shortened lockout year. Kadri has the highest dCorsi60 of any Leafs centerman which means he’s doing the best job of exceeding expectations for his given role. His points may be slightly down from last season but he’s generally playing better hockey – and doing so with line-mates who shouldn’t be in the top-six group (save for Lupul when healthy) on any team.

Tyler Bozak

Bozak has consistently regressed from each season to the next in the image. The widespread thought that Bozak is playing way out of his comfort zone is pretty accurate. He just isn’t performing to the expectations of a player in his role. His inability to play to the level expected is one of the reasons the Maple Leafs were reportedly gauging interest in the forward prior to the deadline.

Final Thoughts

With the Maple Leafs going into a rebuild they enter with a very good second line center (Kadri) and a serviceable bottom-six center (Holland). Bozak and Smith are under-performing in their roles and should be replaced – as most people think already.

In Holland’s case he doesn’t make a great enough case for himself to be completely safe. The Leafs could easily search for new options on the entire bottom six to little or no scrutiny.

Toronto’s weakest position – prior to the rebuild – is down the middle but starting over with Kadri already in the picture and potentially Frederik Gauthier for a bottom-six guy they could be ahead of the curve – if we consider the rebuild to be starting right now.

Drafting Dylan Strome as a potential top-line center would go a long way in easing the tunnel-vision focus down the middle for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

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