The Toronto Maple Leafs should have one of the best power-plays in the NHL.
It should be automatic. The personel that the Toronto Maple Leafs can put out there is crazy, and the only thing crazier is that they aren't more successful.
The other night against Winnipeg, the Leafs went 0-5 on power-play. They had almost ten minutes of PP time, and still couldn't score.
Not only that, but they didn't even look good. At one point they allowed what should have been a game-losing 2 on 0 that only a miraculous display by Ilya Samsonov prevented from ruining the hole night.
How the Maple Leafs Could Easily Fix Their Power-Play
The problem with the Leafs power-play is one of philosophy. They don't ever leave their top unit out for the entire two minutes, but at the same time, they load the top unit up, which makes no sense.
It seems pretty obvious to me that either the team should load up their best five guys and play them for the entire two minutes, or they should split their best players across two unites and then split the time that they play.
A balanced approach would allow the team to ice two elite units, keep them fresh the entire time, and would limit the chaos after the power-play, where the coach usually sends out his fourth line so the power-play players can get a breath. This kills any momemtum though, beacuse the Leafs fourth line is garbage.
A better idea would be to split the units into two, with each one having a different look to keep teams on their toes.
Unit one should feauture Morgan Rielly in the middle of the blue line dishing passes to Auston Matthews 60% of the time, and NIck Roberston 40% of the time.
They should blast the puck at the net where Tyler Bertuzzi and Matthew Knies can fight for rebounds. If you have two of the best shots in hockey, and you have two power-forwards, the possibilities for success are endless. Forget everyone else on the roster, just let the two guys with the two best shots fire as many pucks as they can.
The second unit is quarter-backed by Mitch Marner, with Connor Timmins out there as the token defenseman. Instead of just blasting pucks at the goalie, Marner, Nylander, Tavares and Domi can get more creative and employ a similar strategy that the current first unit employs.
Having two units that play equally and are equally staffed also allows the Leafs to load up a super line when the game is tight.
This strategy better utilizes the current lineup, it makes the most out of players like Domi and Robertson who are wasted if they don't get PP time. It copies the most successful PP in recent memory, which is Tampa's top unit.
It is better in every way than what the Leafs currently do.
The current Toronto Maple Leafs power-play has scord the 16th most goals in the NHL this season. They are ninth on a per/minute basis. That is absolutely unacceptable.