Toronto Maple Leafs Need to Take More Penalties and Complain More

The Toronto Maple Leafs have not publicly complained about the NHL’s officiating, but they should.

I would hope the Toronto Maple Leafs are consistently using their power as the NHL’s richest and most important team to lobby for an end to “game management,” and an increase in calling penalties as they happen, regardless of the context of the game at the time.

Despite being 1st in the NHL in 5v5 scoring chances over the last three years (208 games) the Leafs rank third last in time spent on the power-play per game, over the same period.  This highlights the stupidity of NHL officiating.   It is self-evident that there should be a direct correlation between getting scoring chances and getting power-players, but in reality, there is not.

The Leafs don’t get enough power-plays, and it would be smart for GM Kyle Dubas to complain about it.  I have no idea if they are or they aren’t complaining behind the scenes, but they sure aren’t making a fuss publicly, which I think is a mistake. (stats

Toronto Maple Leafs Power-Play

The NHL a) doesn’t call penalties as they occur b) doesn’t have a correlation between scoring chances and power plays and c) does have a correlation between taking penalties and getting them.

These are things the Leafs should be complaining about constantly, as they are not only pretty stupid and obviously detrimental to the quality of hockey in the NHL, but also they specifically hurt them, a highly skilled team that should routinely lead the NHL in power-play opportunities.

Besides being more vocal about the NHL’s bad officiating, the Leafs should also intentionally try to take more penalties.  They’ve got a great goalie and what should be the best power-play in hockey (people forget just how good it was before it hit the skids last year in a (mostly) luck-based slump).

For an example of how Recency Bias works, most people think the Leafs have a “BAD” power play, but if you take out the last 20 games of last season where they absolutely stunk, they had the 5th most goals scored per minute in the NHL for the previous 174 games.  Add in those 20 games, and they go from 5th to 10th.  (Still good).

Since the Leafs are above average at both areas of special teams, they should manufacture more powerplays by playing a dirtier style of hockey.  It’s stupid that it should come to that, but it’s a strategy that is mathematically sound.

If you consider that the Leafs almost won the President’s Trophy last season despite a) playing over half the year with something close to the NHL’s worst power-play and b) playing over half the year with a goalie who posted a sub-.900 save percentage, then you’d have to think that a full season with Campbell and a return to having the best power-play in hockey should easily make up for the loss of Zach Hyman and the switch back to the Atlantic.

But If they could somehow get more PP opportunities, they could turn into the best team in hockey.