Toronto Maple Leafs: Content Roundup – James Tanner Edition

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 04: William Nylander #29 of the Toronto Maple Leafs takes the ice against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Scotiabank Arena on April 4, 2019 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 04: William Nylander #29 of the Toronto Maple Leafs takes the ice against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Scotiabank Arena on April 4, 2019 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images) /

It’s almost playoff time for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

As the regular season comes to a close and the postseason grows closer on the horizon, the EIL staff have been hard at work to make sure that every possible angle is covered.

One of our hardest working writers, however, is none other than the one and only James Tanner, who has been on a content tear over the past week at a near-unprecedented rate. With so many Tanner stories hitting the wall all at once, it’s entirely likely that some may have fallen through the cracks.

Here’s a brief recap of some of James’ content from the week that was.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Path to the Stanley Cup

The Leafs have entered the playoffs with lofty expectations before. Last season, their roster on paper appeared entirely suitable enough to cast aside the Boston Bruins, and the ensuing chaos which followed their ultimate defeat signified that.

This year, however, it’s a whole different story.

The same Maple Leafs team that took Boston all the way to seven games a mere twelve months ago now has John Tavares and Jake Muzzin at their disposal in lieu of the departed Tyler Bozak and Roman Polak. That upgrade, coupled with the developmental leaps from the young core, should be more than enough to help the Leafs avoid yet another first round exit.

James gets you set on Toronto’s path to the Stanley Cup.

“One thing I know, but which I don’t expect many people to care about it, is the way in which the standings do not entirely reflect reality.

The Leafs didn’t dress their optimal lineup for a full game all year, but with some luck, they’ll enter the playoffs more or less able to do so.

Their record in one-goal games since January is 6-10 (roughly, I tried to account for empty netters) which is something that is basically random. Last year they had a really strong record in one-goal games and that explains the drop in this years point totals, despite icing an objectively stronger team.”

One Huge Difference for the Toronto Maple Leafs in This Year’s Playoffs

As was said above in the previous section, this Leafs team is markedly different than their construction from last year.

Toronto’s young players are each now one step closer to their respective primes, – with some even reaching theirs altogether – the blueline is far more stable with the inclusion of Muzzin, and the included presence of John Tavares gives the team yet another nuclear weapon with which to deploy.

But, there’s still one rather sizeable change that has yet to be mentioned. A change which, theoretically, could push the Maple Leafs to the league’s upper echelon they’ve long striven towards.

What is it? Well, allow James to tell you.

“PDO is a measure of luck and is simply shot-percentage and shooting percentage added together.  It is understood that players have zero influence into their shooting or save percentages, and that over time they will combine to equal 100.  A 97 over a full season would show extreme bad luck, so it’s almost impossible to even convey how unlucky an 87 is, which is what Nylander and Matthews had last year in the playoffs.

If that number goes up even slightly, the Leafs win the series running away.”

If the Toronto Maple Leafs Do This One Thing, They’ll Beat Boston For Sure

The friggin’ Bruins, man. It seems as if the Maple Leafs will play Boston in the first round of the playoffs for the next 50 years. They’re the boogeyman that simply will not go away, and regardless of how superior Toronto’s roster looks in comparison, any meeting with them is about as uncertain as things can get.

James, on the other hand, has a different look. Sure, the Bruins might be a pretty decent team, but if Mike Babcock’s squad can successfully accomplish one specific thing, that boogeyman might not look so daunting anymore.

I’ll let James tell you the rest.

“Even though the loss stung, the reality is that the Leafs played a more experienced and superior team and almost pulled it off.

This year, the Bruins are another year older, while the Leafs added Jake Muzzin and John Tavares. The Leafs record is deceiving though, because even though they didn’t have as many points as last year, this year’s team is better at 5v5 play, and has a more talented roster.

The Leafs had a really good record last year in one-goal games – something which is a bit of a toss-up – and so that inflated their totals.”

Next. Line Combinations for the Playoffs. dark

Thanks for reading!