The Toronto Maple Leafs are back, baby.
Back from a road-trip that is. The Toronto Maple Leafs recently went on a 45 game, 84 night road-trip that could only be described as “Frodo-esque.”
And, though they played like crap most of the time, the only thing anyone will remember about this trip is that they won 3 games, lost 1 and lost another in OT for an incredible seven points out of a possible ten.
A .700 points-percentage is a league-best cup-favorite type of percentage, so take the following Incredible Thoughts with a grain of salt.
Toronto Maple Leafs Weekly Incredible Thoughts Week 4 Volume 2
The Leafs are winning, but they are playing poorly and face the following concerns:
- Samsonov has been BRUTAL
- The top line has not been up to par (and Calle Jarnkrok is a terrible choice to be the new Bunting. It’s not going to happen).
- In fact, biggest difference between this year and last year’s team is……you guessed it….no Michael Bunting. He is missed so much it’s incredible.
- The Blue-Line was not good enough when healthy, but now it’s a certified joke.
- The third and fourth lines have also been bad.
- If not for William Nylander, and John Tavares, two games by Matthews, Joseph Woll and some overall good-luck, this team could easily be 1-7 instead of 5-2-1.
These are not concerns, so I’m losing the bullet-points. They are just thoughts:
Matthew Kniews has been a disappointment. He should probably get a run with Matthews and Marner, but if that doesn’t work out, he’s going to have to go to the AHL.
Mitch Marner needs to play better, or at least start getting some results. He has been a bit unlucky (low shooting percentage, both individual and on-ice) but still, he’s better than he’s been.
We owe Mark Giordano an early-season apology, even if I don’t think we can keep counting on him, he’s been great. I really hope Liljegren isn’t out long.
Tyler Bertuzzi – leads the team in Expected Goals and the team is winning his minutes 5-2 when he’s on the ice at 5v5. His point totals are nothing special, but once the shooting-percentage goes his way he’ll be a real asset.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have the same record as the Montreal Canadiens, and only a slightly better Expected Goals rating at 5v5. The Leafs are hanging on at just over 50% but really need to get their stuff together because they are getting a lot of points they don’t deserve.
I was all for firing Sheldon Keefe last year, and I’m all for firing him any time this year as well. Let me be the first to say it now, while their record is good. I don’t like anything about his strategies or line combos.
Jarnkrok on the first line is ridiculous, dressing Reaves every night makes him look like a stooge who won’t stand up to his boss, he doesn’t seem to realize how bad Klingberg is (or maybe he just lacks options), and the Kampf to-start-overtime thing is just he silliest, dumbest thing I’ve ever seen. It’s pretty much the hockey equivalent of pulling your best pitcher in the fourth inning of a playoff game when he’s absolutely dealing.
But probably Keefe worst crime is that Matthew Knies is really struggling, and so far his played the most minutes with David Kampf. That is a recipe for failure for the team’s most important non-superstar.
Keefe has played Knies with Matthews for under 2 minutes so far this year. It’s time to change that.