Time for the Toronto Maple Leafs to End the Zach Bogosian Experiment

TORONTO, ONTARIO - AUGUST 13: Oliver Bjorkstrand #28 of the Columbus Blue Jackets is checked by Zach Bogosian #24 of the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period in Game Two of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on August 13, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ONTARIO - AUGUST 13: Oliver Bjorkstrand #28 of the Columbus Blue Jackets is checked by Zach Bogosian #24 of the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period in Game Two of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on August 13, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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The Toronto Maple Leafs have had an excellent start to the season.

Now, keep in mind that I’m writing this ahead of last night’s game vs the Oilers, but publishing it afterwards.  Still, even if the Oilers won, I’m very satisfied with the Toronto Maple Leafs start to the season.

Through the first five games of the year, they’ve shown heart, determination, a commitment to defense, and have, for periods at a time, been completely dominant.  Sure, the results have left a little to be desired, but results during a short sample of five games are going to be the least predictive stats we could use.

The Leafs may be only 3-2 (as I write this) but they’ve played in a way that would usually give them a better record, and that’s all you can ask.  Still, there is one major spot where they can improve and that is with Zach Bogosian, who has been terrible, and in my opinion, should never have been signed.

Toronto Maple Leafs and Zach Bogosian

Bogosian is a player who has a career of negative results, but keeps getting played and paid because he’s a giant who was once drafted second overall.  I respect that he brings an element the team is otherwise missing, but I’m not concerned that the cost of playing him isn’t too high just to get a big tough hitter.

The coach obviously somewhat agrees here because Bogosian and Dermott have played 35 minutes  less than anyone in the Leafs top four.  Bogosian is last on the Leafs blueline in Corsi, Fenwick and Shots Percentage (the Leafs all 57% of the total shot attempts against when Bogosian plays).

Wheras the Leafs are expected to get 64% of the goals when Justin Holl skates, they are expected to get only 42% of the goals when Bogosian skates.  Essentially, the Leafs lose when he’s on the ice, so who cares if he hits or scares anyone.

And does anyone think that if Bogosian went to the KHL that he would be the best defenseman in that league?  Obviously not, because that is ridiculous.  But you know who is the best defenseman in the KHL, and frankly, anywhere besides the NHL?  Mikko Lehtonen.  (all stats naturalstattrick.com).

Mikko Lehtonen is not just better than Zach Bogosian, it’s like playing Adam Brooks in place of Auston Matthews, but doing it on purpose.  Look, I get that Lehtonen is switching leagues and that there was essentially no training camp, no exhibition games and that that, combined with a shortened season makes it difficult to get him into the lineup.

Next. Leafs Depth the Envy of All Other NHL Teams. dark

But come on.  Take a couple games and roll the dice here, because the results couldn’t possibly be any worse.  Zach Bogosian should not be in the starting lineup, and he shouldn’t be playing ahead of Rasmus Sandin or Timothy Liljegren, let alone Mikko Lehtonen.

Time to end this predictably terrible experiment.